Kevin Kiermaier gets hurt. A lot.
It’s actually hard to imagine a player with a higher on-field value who has spent more time on the bench as a result of injuries than Kiermaier. David Wright, perhaps?
A long-running joke among Rays fans is to wonder just how much damage the Platinum Glove winner could do, if only he stayed healthy for a whole season. It’s probably for this reason alone that Kiermaier has never made an All-Star team.
But as much as we joke about it, just how bad is his injury history?
Let’s find out.
2014 — Appeared in 108 games
Kiermaier’s first full season with the Rays. He missed two games in August owing to neck stiffness after a headfirst slide. Pretty minimal, by Kiermaier standards.
2015 — Appeared in 151 games
His Platinum Glove season! No major disasters.
2016 — Appeared in 105 games
In May, Kiermaier was playing in Detroit and attempted a crazy running catch to get James McCann out, only to have his right hand bend completely backwards under his weight. It was obvious immediately that something was wrong from Kiermaier’s response in the outfield, and he later said “I knew something was broke right away.”
Kiermaier had surgery to repair the fractures and returned to play later that season, ultimately winning his second Gold Glove. He missed a total of 48 games as a result of the fracture.
2017 — Appeared in 98 games
Why don’t we slide into first base? This is why we don’t slide into first base. In an attempt to beat out the throw to first, Kiermaier made an ugly feet-first slide and sustained a hairline fracture of the right hip. He was out from June until mid-August.
No awards this season as he missed the minimum number of games to qualify. The fracture cost him a total of 61 games.
2018 — Appeared in 88 games
Kiermaier didn’t even make it a full month into play when, in April, he injured his right thumb on a slide into second. He was out until June 19.
Not to be outdone with a single injury for the season, Kiermaier then suffered a fracture to his right foot in a hit-by-pitch incident with the Yankees during the final week of regular season play, thus ending his 2018 season on the disabled list.
Needless to say with the 2018 all but over and the 2019 season ahead, everyone is hoping the Rays can get through the year with a fully healthy Kiermaier.