Kevin Kiermaier has won the sixth Rawlings Gold Glove Award in franchise history. The 2015 American League and National League Gold Glove winners were announced tonight on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.
The Rays 31st round selection in the 2010 June Draft, Kiermaier joins first baseman Carlos Peña (2008), third baseman Evan Longoria (2009 and 2010), left fielder Carl Crawford (2010) and pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (2012) as the only Rays to win a Gold Glove.
Rawlings Gold Glove voting consists of two components: 75 percent of the vote comes from managers and coaches, who may not vote for a player on their own team, and 25 percent comes from statistical analysis in collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
In his first full season in the majors, Kiermaier led all major league players with 42 Defensive Runs Saved—the highest mark since 2003, when Baseball Info Solutions started tracking it. DRS attempts to calculate how many runs a player saved or cost his team in the field compared to the average player at his position. Kiermaier nearly doubled the total of the next-closest American League player, Toronto’s Kevin Pillar (22), despite playing 193.1 fewer innings.
Kiermaier also led all major league center fielders with 15 assists, one shy of Melvin Upton Jr.’s club record for a center fielder (2008). On his final assist of the year versus Miami on October 1, he threw out the potential tying run at the plate, a throw that was measured at 100.4 miles per hour by MLB StatCast.
Kiermaier becomes just the seventh AL outfielder to win a Gold Glove in his first full season since the awards were first presented in 1957. He joins Oakland’s Josh Reddick (2012), Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki (2001), Cleveland’s Rick Manning (1976), Boston’s Fred Lynn (1975), Chicago’s Tommy Agee (1966) and New York’s Norm Siebern (1958).
Kiermaier is also just the eighth player to win a Gold Glove after being drafted in the 30th round or later, joining pitcher Mark Buehrle (38th round, 1998), second baseman Orlando Hudson (43rd round, 1997), catcher Brad Ausmus (48th round, 1987), pitcher Kenny Rogers (39th round, 1982), first baseman Keith Hernandez (42nd round, 1977), outfielder Al Cowens (75th round, 1971), and third baseman Ken Reitz (31st round, 1969).
Kiermaier tallied 10 Web Gems on Baseball Tonight (fifth most in the majors), including five No. 1 Web Gems (second most in majors). On August 31 at Baltimore, he robbed Manny Machado of a leadoff homer in the first inning. Just two weeks earlier (August 14 at Texas), he robbed Prince Fielder. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Kiermaier was one of five players with two or more home run robberies in 2015.
Congratulations to Kevin Kiermaier. May this be the first of many! Read more of our Gold Glove coverage here: