Former Parkland outfielder comes home with top MLB defensive awards

Adam Vilmin

Staff Writer

A 2009 World Series champion with the Parkland Cobras, Kevin Keirmaier has brought back some serious hardware this off-season. Keirmaier capped off a remarkable season of defensive exploits by sweeping the American League (A.L) Gold Glove for center fielders, the Platinum Glove for best defensive player in the A.L, and even picking up 17 A.L. “Most Valuable Player” votes.

Kiermaier logged two seasons with the Cobras, and took home All-American honors in both, as well as being a part of the National Championship run. After being offered a scholarship from Purdue, Kiermaier decided to make a run at the big leagues when he was selected in the 31st round by Tampa Bay Rays.

Kiermaier’s debut came in 2013 during the Rays’ last playoff run. Only serving as a defensive replacement during their eventual loss to Cleveland, Keirmaier saw more regular play the following season, becoming a fan favorite for both his glove and timely hitting, and earning the nickname, “the Outlaw.”

2015 was the first time cracking the full time line up for him and saw him record a truly historical season in the outfield. An arm that regularly launched throws of 100 mph to gun down runners, and an incredible range stopping shots into the gap, Keirmaier recorded 42 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), the highest DRS total since the metric was created in 2003. He finished third in defensive assists, fifth in double plays from the outfield, and first in Baseball Reference’s Total Zone Runs, a measure of range, propensity for errors, and overall defensive skill.