Texas Rangers End of Season Awards
By Travis Koch
Rookie of the Year: Isiah Kiner-Falefa
The ROY goes to IKF.
Kiner-Falefa came out of no where in 2018. He was promoted to the big league club in April as a temporary fill-in for the Rangers’ injured middle infielders. It didn’t take long for the organization to notice his impact, as the “temporary fill-in” started to earn more and more starts. Kiner-Falefa’s play was so impressive that manager Jeff Banister found ways to play him even when Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus returned from injury.
In the end, Kiner-Falefa played in 110 games, including 93 starts. He started 38 games at third base, 19 games at second base, 2 games at shortstop, and 34 games at catcher. He proved to be the team’s most versatile player, and that’s saying a lot when Jurickson Profar is also on the team. Profar seemed to play everywhere, but it’s tough to compete with a player who can play anywhere in the infield, plus CATCHER.
IKF was consistent all season long, finishing with a .261 batting average and a .326 OBP. His consistency, selflessness, versatility and talent should transfer to a prominent major league role in 2019. Don’t be surprised if he’s starting behind the play on opening day of next season.