Full name is Isiah Kiner-Falefa (“KYE-nuhr fuh-LEH-fuh”)....Attended Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu…helped lead the Owls to the D1 Hawaii State Championship as a senior in 2013 after batting .396 (21-for-53) with 16R, 3 doubles, one triple and 9RBI…earned First-Team All-Interscholastic League of Honolulu honors as a junior in 2012...Was named the winner of the “Heart and Hustle Award” with the Rangers in 2018 and 2021, an award presented annually by the MLB Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) to honor one Major Leaguer who demonstrates a passion for baseball and embodies the values, spirit and tradition of the game...In 2021, donated meals to healthcare workers at Kaiser Hospital in Hawaii…partnered with the All4Hawaii campaign donation to help raise funds for the Hawaii Foodbank and Maui Food Bank…organized a “Hawaiian Hustle” t-shirt campaign to raise funds for the Hawaii Food Bank…also served as the Honorary Chair for the Texas Rangers Annual Equipment Drive raising funds for the Texas Rangers Youth Academy...Is related to Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who is a relative on his mother’s side of the family...Will become the fifth Hawaii-born player in Yankees franchise history, joining pitchers Brian Fisher (1985-86) and Kirby Yates (2016) and position players Lenn Sakata (1987) and Bronson Sardinha (2007).
Spent the entire season with Texas, batting .271 (172-for-635) with 74R, 25 doubles, 3 triples, 8HR, 53RBI, 28BB and 20SB in 158 games…set career highs in home runs, RBI and stolen bases…was Texas’ Opening Day shortstop and leadoff hitter…played in 156G/155GS at shortstop after winning a AL Gold Glove at third base in 2020...Led the Majors with 136 singles and ranked among AL leaders in swings put in play (second, 49.1%), at-bats (fourth), PA/SO (fifth, 7.52), three-plus hit games (tied for fifth, 16), hits (seventh), games (tied for ninth) and stolen bases (tied for 10th)...His .271 average was the highest among Rangers qualifiers…also led the Rangers in games played, hits, triples, stolen bases, multi-hit games (44) and three-plus hit games (16)…his 172 hits were the most by a Ranger since Elvis Andrus in 2017 (191)...Recorded a .972 fielding percentage (19E/669TC) at shortstop…led all Major League shortstops in total chances, assists (436) and double plays turned (98)…according to Sports Info Solutions, ranked third among Major League shortstops with 10 defensive runs saved, trailing only Houston’s Carlos Correa (21) and Minnesota’s Andrelton Simmons (14)…according to Baseball-Reference, ranked fifth in the AL in defensive wins above replacement (2.0)…his 19 errors were second-most among AL shortstops, fewer than only Toronto’s Bo Bichette (24)...Struck out in just 13.3% of his plate appearances, the best mark by a Rangers qualifier since 2016 (12.3% - Elvis Andrus, 10.3% - Adrian Beltre)...Led the team with 86 starts in the leadoff spot and was also a common fixture in the two-hole (46 starts), where he saw the majority of action over the final two months of the season...Played in the most games (158) and recorded the second-most hits (172) ever by a native of Hawaii in a single season…the only Hawaiian with more hits in a season was Shane Victorino for the Phillies in 2009 (181)...Reached base safely in a career-long 19 consecutive games from 4/20-5/9…hit .368 (28-for-76) with a .410 on-base percentage, 15R, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 3HR, 10RBI, 5BB and 1HP in that span. ..After hitting 3HR in four games from 4/29-5/2, hit 3HR in his final 129 games of the season from 5/3-10/3...Hit safely in 11 straight games from 6/1-13, batting .354 (17-for-48) with 6R, 4 doubles, 4RBI and 2BB in that span…was tied for the longest hit streak by a Ranger in 2021...Over 24 games in September, batted .330 (31-for-94) with 12R, 1 double, 11RBI and 9BB...Batted .333 (15-for-45) with 9R, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 4RBI and 6BB in 18 spring training games with the Rangers.
Selected Rangers 2020 Player of the Year by the DallasFort Worth chapter of the BBWAA…hit .280/.329/.370/.699 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI in 58 games for Texas in his 3rd ML season…registered 2.0 WAR according to baseball-reference, 2nd-best among all Rangers (2.2-Lance Lynn)…tied Nick Solak for team lead in games (58) and starts (57), as Kiner-Falefa started 56 of final 57 games, including each of last 40 straight to end the year...Earned the Rawlings AL Gold Glove Award at third base, his first career Gold Glove…joined teammate Joey Gallo, who won the AL Gold Glove in right field…combined to post a .969 fielding percentage (5E/159TC) between third base and shortstop…recorded just three errors over his first 51 games from 7/24-9/21 before recording an error in consecutive games from 9/22-23…according to Baseball Info Solutions, his eight defensive runs saved (DRS) at third base ranked second to only Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (15)…according to Statcast, his four outs above average also ranked second to Arenado (7) at the position…became the third different Ranger to win a Gold Glove at third base, joining Buddy Bell (six times - 1979-84) and Adrian Beltre (three times - 2011-12, ‘16)…became just the third native Hawaiian to win a Gold Glove, joining OF Shane Victorino (four total - three in NL, one in AL) and 2B Kolten Wong (NL winner in 2019 and 2020)...Ranked among American League leaders in singles (49, tied for second), triples (3, tied for second), swing-and.miss percentage (15.8, sixth), stolen bases (8, tied for seventh) and PA/SO (7.13, ninth)…his .373 BA (22-for-59) against left-handed pitchers also ranked sixth in the AL...Made his first career Opening Day start on 7/24 vs. Colorado, going 1-for-2 with 1 triple and 1BB…became the first Ranger to reach base at Globe Life Field with his walk in the third inning…his triple in the seventh was also the first at Globe Life Field...Hit .200 (4-for-20) over his first five games from 7/24-8/1 before batting .394 (13-for-33) over his next nine games from 8/2-11, raising his average to .321...Hit his first home run of the season on 8/24 vs. Oakland…marked the first opposite-field HR at Globe Life Field...In 17 games from 8/28-9/13, batted .409 (27-for-66) with 11R, 1 double, 1HR, 2RBI and 2BB…raised his batting average from .260 to .321 in that span...Hit safely in a career-high 14 straight games from 8/28-9/11, batting .411 (23-for-56) with 9R, 1 double, 1HR, 2RBI and 1BB over that span…was tied for the fifth-longest hit streak in the American League…was tied for the fourth-longest hit streak ever recorded by a Hawaii-born player and the longest since Shane Victorino’s 15-game streak from 4/26-5/13/11...His final home run of the season on 9/2 at Houston was the seventh HR of his career and his fifth at Minute Maid Park…after this home run, 23 of his final 26 hits of the season were singles...Matched his career high with 4H on 9/9 vs. Los Angeles-AL, going 4-for-4 with 2R, 1 double and 1SB…his 4H were tied for the most by a Ranger in 2020...In 17 spring training games with the Rangers, batted .341 (14-for-41) with 12R, 2 doubles, 4HR, 11RBI and 3BB…at the time of the shutdown of spring training in March, ranked among Cactus League leaders in runs (first), hits (first), slugging (.757, second), OPS (1.167, second), total bases (28, tied for third), RBI (tied for third) and batting average (fourth).
Batted .238/.299/.322/.620 over 65 games spanning 3 stints with Texas: Opening Day-7/19, 8/2-20, 8/27-end of season…named to Opening Day roster for the 1st time…began season as club's backup catcher and hit .250 (10-40) with 2 XBH (both doubles) over his 1st 13 G through 4/25…in next 49 G with Texas from 4/26-9/21, hit .215 (32-149) with a .576 OPS to drop season BA to .222…went 6-for-13 in final 3 G to finish the year at .238…made 55 total starts at C (32), 3B (23), and DH (1)…went 3-for-15 in throwing out attempted base stealers, and his only game behind plate w/ TEX after 6/6 vs. BAL was start on 9/21 at OAK…lone HR was on 5/12 at HOU, as 4 of his 5 career HR have come at Minute Maid Park…career-best 4 RBI on 5/4 vs. TOR, most by a TEX 9-hole hitter since 5/14/16 vs. TOR (Bobby Wilson-4)…6-G hit streak 8/11-19 matched career-best…posted walk-off singles both 8/19 vs. LAA and 8/31 vs. SEA, 1st game-ending RBI of his career…batted .350 (14-40) when leading off an inning.
Recalled from Round Rock (AAA) on 4/10 when Elvis Andrus suffered a fractured elbow, the rookie would spend the remainder of the season with Texas, including the final 3 months as the club's backup catcher…batted .261/.325/.357/.682 in 111 G/94 GS, making starts at 4 different positions…ranked among the A.L. rookie leaders in hits (T6th, 93), stolen bases (T6th, 7), OBP (7th, .325), doubles (T8th, 18), batting (9th, .261), walks (10th, 28), and total bases (10th, 127)…was 5th native of Hawaii to appear w/ TEX.
BATTING: Hit .239 (43-180) over 1st 50 G through 6/9…batted .351/.376/.505/.881 over next 31 G from 6/10-8/8 to rise to .278…hit .203 (16-79) w/ 15 singles in final 30 G beg. 8/9 to drop from .278 to .261…averaged 6.39 PA/SO, 3rd-best among TEX regulars to only Jurickson Profar (6.75) and Elvis Andrus (6.48)…had team-high 3 G of 4+ hits in '18, T-most among ML rookies and most for Rangers rookie since George Wright in 1982…no other Ranger had more than one such game…hit .248 w/ .622 OPS vs. RH pitching, and .288 w/ .801 OPS against LH pitching…had higher BA at home (.270) than on road (.253)…was 1-for-6 with 2 BB as PH, lone hit an RBI 2B on 9/15 at SD…batted .208 (20-96) with RISP.
FIELDING: Joined Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2008) as the only Texas catchers with 35+ starts in an age 23-or younger season since Ivan Rodriguez in 1995…had 94 GS at 3B (38), C (35), 2B (19), and SS (2)…24 of last 27 GS were at catcher (3 G at 3B)…marked most career starts at C in any pro season (previously 33 in minors in 2016)…threw out 7 of 24 att. basestealers (32.0%), matching the CS total for all other TEX backstops in 2018…started behind the plate on 6/20 at KC, the 1st catching appearance of his ML career…threw out Hunter Dozier at 2nd base on a steal attempt to end the game, 1st career CS…according to Elias Sports Bureau, he became 1st MLB player (since stat was universally tracked in 1951) to record a game-ending CS in 1st-ever game played at catcher.
Set career bests in nearly every offensive category, including 31 doubles to tie for the Texas League lead…also ranked among the TL leaders in hits (2nd, 148), stolen bases (T8th, 17), and total bases (T8th, 200)...was a mid-season AllStar in the TL for the 2nd straight year…saw action at second base, third base, shortstop, center field, and a career-high 33 games at catcher…hit .267/.338/.385/.723 over 1st 67 games and .311/.364/.394/.758 over final 62 contests…hit 1st HR as a pro on 4/8 vs. Springfield (331st pro game and 1,219th-career at-bat)
Appeared at 6 different defensive positions, including catcher for the 1st time in his career…also saw action at first, second, third, shortstop, and center field…made pro debut in CF and at 1B on 8/3 vs. Midland…named the Rangers Minor League Defender of the Month for April…batted .283 (49-173) over 1st 44 games prior to landing on the disabled list…was on the disabled list 5/28-6/23 with right knee infection, including a 3-game rehab assignment with the AZL Rangers, 6/21-23… batted .235 (54-229) over final 64 games after returning from the disabled list…hit .194 (6-31) with 7 walks over 10 games with the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.
Had the 5th-highest average among all Texas minor leaguers… combined to bat .296 (106-358) with 12 doubles, 2 triples, and 40 RBI over 98 games with Hickory and High Desert…saw action at second, third, shortstop, and left field…opened the season with Hickory and was promoted to High Desert on 6/25…batted .191 (13-68) over first 19 games with the Mavericks and .358 (59-165) over final 41 contests.
Hit a combined .246 (72-293) in 79 games with Hickory, Spokane, and the AZL Rangers… opened season with Hickory and was on the disabled list May 14-June 27 with a hamate fracture on his left hand…transferred to Spokane upon activation from the disabled list and was the club's primary shortstop.
Compiled the 7th-highest average in the Arizona League…split time between second and shortstop…batted .391 (43-110) against right-handed pitchers and .128 (5-39) versus southpaws…batted .216 (8-37) over his first 11 games and .357 (40-112) over the final 30 games.