The Texas Rangers’ starting shortstop is having a good season as he looks to stick around in 2022
After a gold-glove worthy 2020 season at third base, Kiner-Falefa has enjoyed a 2021 campaign at shortstop, good enough for a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 4.0. The 26-year-old has made the case to be the team’s most proficient lead-off hitter moving forward.
Over the last 30 days, the shortstop’s average is .319, with a BB:K ratio of 9:14 — his defensive value has only been an added bonus during the final month of the season.
On September 12, the Rangers had the opportunity to throw a wrench into the Oakland Athletics wild-card hopes in the Bay Area — it was an opportunity that Kiner-Falefa surely embraced. The native of Honolulu, HI had three hits, while driving in two runs to propel the Rangers to not only a 4-3 victory, but also a series win in Oakland.
The shortstop has acted as the catalyst for Texas’ lineup throughout the final month of the campaign. Even though the team’s record may not be where Woodward wants it to be, Kiner-Falefa is a vital part to the club moulding an identity for themselves into a new Rangers era, starting in 2022 and beyond.
Kiner-Falefa is sixth among MLB shortstops in hits since the beginning of September, only behind the likes of Bo Bichette, Javier Baez, and Trea Turner.