How Did Kevin Kiermaier Get to the Rays?

Kevin Smith

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Kevin Kiermaier Get to the Rays

Kevin Kiermaier is a well-known outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays, having played for the team since 2013. He is known for his outstanding defensive play, having won multiple Gold Glove awards over the years.

But how did Kiermaier come to join the Rays in the first place? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at Kiermaier’s journey from his early life and college career to his selection in the 2010 MLB draft and rise to prominence in the Rays’ organization.

We’ll also examine Kiermaier’s recent years with the team and what his story can teach us about the importance of hard work and perseverance in achieving our goals.

Early Life and College Career

Kevin Kiermaier was born on April 22, 1990, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He grew up playing baseball, as well as basketball and football, but baseball was always his true passion.

Kiermaier attended Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, where he played baseball and earned all-state honors his senior year.

After high school, Kiermaier enrolled at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, where he played for the Parkland Cobras baseball team.

During his time at Parkland, Kiermaier proved to be a standout player and helped lead the team to back-to-back NJCAA Division II World Series appearances in 2009 and 2010.

In 2010, Kiermaier batted .408 with 11 home runs and 58 RBIs, earning him NJCAA Division II Baseball Player of the Year honors.

Kiermaier’s success at Parkland caught the attention of scouts, and he was eventually drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB draft.

Despite being selected in a later round, Kiermaier was determined to prove himself and worked hard to make it to the major leagues.

2010 Mlb Draft

In the 2010 MLB draft, the Tampa Bay Rays selected Kevin Kiermaier in the 31st round, with the 941st overall pick. This was a relatively late selection, and Kiermaier was not highly touted as a prospect at the time.

Kiermaier was at home with his family when he received the news that he had been drafted. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, he later recalled feeling both excited and relieved to have been chosen.

Kiermaier knew that being selected in a later round would make it more difficult for him to make it to the major leagues, but he was determined to work hard and prove himself.

At the time of his draft, Kiermaier’s initial expectations for his future in baseball were somewhat modest. He told the Tampa Bay Times that he hoped to “just make it to Single-A and play a few years,” but that his ultimate goal was always to make it to the major leagues.

In hindsight, Kiermaier’s expectations were exceeded as he has become a key player for the Rays and a multiple-time Gold Glove award winner.

Minor League Journey

After being drafted in 2010, Kevin Kiermaier began his journey through the Tampa Bay Rays’ minor league system. He started in rookie ball with the Princeton Rays, where he batted .312 in 41 games.

Kiermaier continued to impress in his second season, earning a promotion to the Single-A Bowling Green Hot Rods in 2011. In 117 games with the Hot Rods, Kiermaier batted .307 with 21 doubles, 5 triples, and 9 home runs.

Kiermaier continued to climb the ranks of the Rays’ minor league system, playing for the Charlotte Stone Crabs in 2012 and the Montgomery Biscuits in 2013.

In 2013, Kiermaier batted .295 with 10 home runs and 27 stolen bases across Double-A and Triple-A, earning a call-up to the major leagues in September of that year.

During his time in the minor leagues, Kiermaier faced some setbacks. In 2011, he suffered a broken hand that sidelined him for several weeks.

He also struggled with injuries in 2012, playing in just 63 games. However, Kiermaier remained determined to succeed and worked hard to overcome these setbacks.

Despite the setbacks, Kiermaier also had many notable accomplishments during his time in the minor leagues. In addition to his impressive batting statistics, he also developed a reputation as a strong defensive player, earning him the nickname “Outlaw.”

Kiermaier won a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove award in 2012 and was named the Rays’ minor league player of the year in 2013.

Mlb Debut and Rise to Prominence

Kevin Kiermaier made his MLB debut on September 30, 2013, with the Tampa Bay Rays. He made an immediate impact with his strong defense, making a diving catch in his first game.

Kiermaier played in 12 games in his debut season, batting .250 with one home run and two stolen bases.

Kiermaier’s defensive skills continued to shine in the following season, as he became known for his ability to make highlight-reel catches and cover a lot of ground in the outfield.

In 2014, Kiermaier played in 108 games, batting .263 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs, while also leading all AL outfielders with a 6.5 UZR (ultimate zone rating) and making several incredible defensive plays.

Kiermaier’s defensive prowess only continued to grow, and he became a fixture in the Rays’ outfield. In 2015, he won his first Gold Glove award, recognizing him as the best defensive center fielder in the American League.

Kiermaier continued to impress defensively in 2016, earning his second consecutive Gold Glove award. He also had a strong offensive season, batting .246 with 12 home runs and 21 stolen bases.

Although Kiermaier faced some injuries and setbacks in the following years, he remained a strong defensive player and was recognized with his third Gold Glove award in 2019.

He has also been a valuable player for the Rays in the postseason, helping lead the team to the World Series in 2020. Kiermaier’s defensive skills and overall performance have made him a fan favorite and a key player for the Rays.

Recent Years

In recent years, Kevin Kiermaier has continued to be a valuable player for the Tampa Bay Rays. In the 2019 season, he won his third Gold Glove award and batted .228 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs.

Kiermaier’s strong defensive skills were on display in the postseason, where he made several key plays to help the Rays advance to the ALCS. Kiermaier faced some setbacks in the 2020 season, playing in only 63 games due to various injuries.

However, he still managed to make an impact with his defense and leadership, helping guide the Rays to the World Series. Kiermaier also batted .217 with three home runs and 22 RBIs in the shortened season.

In the 2021 season, Kiermaier played in 109 games and batted .223 with six home runs and 36 RBIs. He continued to be a strong defensive player, making several key plays throughout the season.

Kiermaier also had a notable moment in July 2021, when he hit a walk-off home run to give the Rays a 7-6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

While Kiermaier has faced some injuries and setbacks in recent years, he has remained a valuable player for the Rays with his strong defensive skills and leadership. He is widely respected by his teammates and coaches for his work ethic and dedication to the game.

Career Milestones for Kevin Kiermaier

Drafted by Tampa Bay Rays2010
Minor League Debut2011
MLB Debut2013
First Gold Glove Award2015
Named Platinum Glove Winner2015
Second Gold Glove Award2016
World Series Appearance2020
Third Gold Glove Award2019



Has Kevin Kiermaier played in any All-Star Games?

Kiermaier has been selected to the All-Star Game once in his career, in 2015. He did not play in the game due to an injury.

What is Kevin Kiermaier’s batting average?

Kiermaier’s career batting average as of the end of the 2021 season is .246. However, he is primarily known for his strong defensive skills rather than his hitting.

Does Kevin Kiermaier have any nicknames?

Yes, Kiermaier is commonly referred to as “Outlaw” by his teammates and fans. The nickname originated from his resemblance to the character from the TV show “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

What position does Kevin Kiermaier play?

Kiermaier primarily plays center field for the Tampa Bay Rays, but he has also played in left and right field at times throughout his career.

Has Kevin Kiermaier won any other awards besides the Gold Glove?

In addition to his three Gold Glove awards, Kiermaier was also named the Platinum Glove winner in 2015, which recognizes the best defensive player in the American League.


Kevin Kiermaier’s journey to becoming a standout player for the Tampa Bay Rays is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the game of baseball.

After being drafted in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB draft, Kiermaier worked his way through the Rays’ minor league system, showcasing his defensive skills and earning a reputation as a valuable player.

Kiermaier’s strong defensive performances earned him three Gold Glove awards and made him a fan favorite for the Rays.

While he has faced some setbacks and injuries in recent years, Kiermaier has continued to be a key player for the team, helping guide them to the World Series in 2020 and making several notable plays and contributions.

Overall, Kiermaier’s journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring baseball players, showcasing the value of hard work, perseverance, and a commitment to excellence.

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Kevin Smith

I am a dedicated learner who is constantly pursuing my dreams in many areas of life. I am a Finance major at the University of Maryland, a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner of my personal brand, Elevate Baseball. I hope to inspire younger learners of all sports and interests to tirelessly pursue their dreams, whatever that may be. LinkedIn

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