Kevin Kiermaier is perhaps the best defensive center fielder in baseball. In fact, there’s a chance he’s the best defensive player in the game. Period.
But you wouldn’t know that if all you saw from him was his horrid series vs. the Kansas City Royals. You would think quite the opposite, actually. Kiermaier has committed not one, not two, but three extremely costly and uncharacteristic errors in what has been a nightmare stretch for the Tampa Bay Rays star.
Kiermaier’s struggles began Monday with a routine Lorenzo Cain single up the middle. Well, it should’ve been routine anyway…
Instead, this happened. A Little League home run…
— The Eephus (@EephusPod) May 9, 2017
While that wasn’t a great look for Kiermaier, mistakes do happen for even the most talented of players. It was a reminder that one of the best center fielders in recent memory is indeed human.
But on Tuesday, Kiermaier’s defensive issues continued. He let a Jorge Bonifacio single get past him for a two-base error. Two straight games of bad fielding from Kiermaier was unheard of, but what happened Thursday turned his problems into a legitimate concern.
The two-time Gold Glover let ANOTHER ball past him for ANOTHER Little League homer. That’s right, ANOTHER LITTLE LEAGUE HOME RUN. This time off the bat of Whit Merrifield.
Whit Merrifield smacks a single into center that gets under the glove of Kevin Kiermaier for an inside-the-park home run in the 8th inning! pic.twitter.com/eiuQuDY3hg
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 11, 2017
Apparently there’s a glitch in Kiermaier’s system that prevents him from properly fielding hard-hit ground balls up the middle. There’s seriously no way to explain what’s going on with him right now. All we can do is chalk it up to being a tough series and assume he’ll get right back to being his regular inhuman self in center field.
If not, well… we’ve got an interesting storyline on our hands.