FanGraph’s mission in 2021 appears to be drawing the ire of Texas Rangers fans everywhere.
First, they gave the Rangers brutally low odds of making the playoffs this year, not a shocking prediction given where the team currently stands (mired in a rebuild).
Still, that’s not what you want to hear about your team going into a new season.
But the baseball statistics database and blog has now crossed the line by taking their Rangers criticism to another level.
Put some respect on starting shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s name, would you?
That’s right, FanGraphs, we didn’t make a typo in that last sentence. We’re trotting out IKF as our starting shortstop in 2021 and we’re proud of it.
So naturally, neither Kiner-Falefa nor Rangers fans took it pleasantly when the site ranked the Texas shortstop group 32nd out of 32 MLB teams.
Texas Rangers shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa was disrespected by FanGraphs on Wednesday
You’re right, IKF, you did lead the American League in defensive WAR in 2020, en route to a Gold Glove at the shortstop position in 2020.
Perhaps most irritating about FanGraph’s description of Kiner-Falefa was that they still regard him as a catcher, and therefore hold him to those standards.
"It’s not a sexy plan, but you can talk yourself into him being almost average, and for goodness’ sake, he’s a catcher! It’s very impressive."
Isiah Kiner-Falefa has made a career out of proving people wrong, and he’s on a mission to do so again in 2021.
Texas Rangers fans made sure to throw their unwavering support behind their starting shortstop, taking to Twitter to express their displeasure at FanGraphs.
Ranger nation has your back, IKF!
While the Hawaiian native did get his first big league opportunity as a catcher, he is now years removed from playing the position, instead turning into one of the team’s most versatile and valuable players over the last several seasons.
The 26-year-old had his best season to date in 2020, and now he’s got extra motivation to fuel his competitive fire in 2021. Move out of the way!