On this edition of the Sports Info Solution Baseball Podcast, Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) is joined by Tampa Bay Rays Platinum-Glove winning center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (@KKiermaier39) for a comprehensive explanation of what goes into playing defense.
Kiermaier explains what he is doing to keep busy with his wife and toddler son in Tampa and the commonalities between bow-fishing and trying to catch a fly ball – and there are parallels! (1:00) He also shares the memories of the first good defensive plays he made in Little League and in the majors (4:00), who his favorite defensive player was as a kid (6:06), and the details of the intense amount of preparation he does to play defense the way he does - he takes opponents’ batting practice seriously - and to avoid having any weaknesses (6:59).
Kevin also explains how he defenses Aaron Judge and Ichiro Suzuki and how he adjusts his positioning based on instinct and observations (11:30), what the difference is between making a catch and missing the ball on a low line drive (16:51), and a guide to what goes into a home run robbery (19:24). Mark also details what goes into tracking a home run robbery and how much credit a fielder gets for one and Kevin notes that defensive stats are important to players like him being in the major leagues (21:58).
He also describes his glove and explains the routine he goes through to keep his arm strong (27:35). He also notices that baserunners have stopped challenging him and appreciates the respect that comes with that (31:28). Lastly, he runs through the coaches who helped him out along the way. All hail Skeeter Barnes! (33:00)
Thanks for listening. Stay safe and Stay healthy!