Isiah Kiner-Falefa is catching on quickly.
Even though this year is Kiner-Falefa’s first ever playing catcher, the 2013 Mid-Pacific Institute alumnus was awarded the Texas Rangers’ minor league Defensive Player of the Month honor for April.
Kiner-Falefa was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft, and has quickly climbed up the Rangers minor league ladder to class AA Frisco in 2016.
In April, Kiner-Falefa made 12 starts at third base, four games at catcher, three games at shortstop, and one at second base. He only committed one error in the month.
“I didn’t really know I was going to catch this much this year,” Kiner-Falefa said. “It was kind of going in as an experiment-type deal and now that I’m actually catching, it’s fun. You know, you just deal with some big hitters so you’ve got to understand how to pitch around them. You have to know how they can hurt you or the mindset is totally different, but it actually helps me on the offense side of the plate.”
The 21-year-old’s defensive prowess behind the plate has been matched at the plate.
Kiner-Falefa credits his .292 batting average and 13 runs batted in to understanding pitching and seeing more pitches as a catcher.
“Sometimes when I hit, I see the shadows,” he said. “It’s brutal man, it’s hard to see. Sometimes when I’m behind the plate and I get to see the ball, it’s easier for me to track it. When I get to the box, everything just looks big.”