After wading in mediocrity for most of the season, Isiah Kiner-Falefa is quietly having a month.
He started slow but picked up steam as May unfolded, hitting as high as .290 by the end of the month.
Then, a steady decline, culminating in a forgettable .188 July with a pitcher-like OPS of just .457.
But once August rolled around, the switch has flipped on, and IKF is once again poking singles. He picked up two hits last night. One the night before, but that hit broke the 3-3 tie in the tenth. He had two hits the night before that with an RBI.
Kiner-Falefa is a utility infielder on a major league team. On the Rangers, he’s an integral part of the lineup. In his four seasons with the Rangers, his career OPS+ is 79. By comparison, the much vilified Rougned Odor’s career OPS+ is 89, bolstered by his ability to hit home runs. Adam Rosales’s was 78.
Even in Kiner-Falefa’s “coming out” season of 2020, he was below average offensively, with an OPS+ of 92
At least he’s hitting now, which is encouraging. He has no power and isn’t much of a run producer. But his career batting average is .260 and after this recent uptick in offense, IKF has gotten his average this year back up to his career watermark.
Kiner-Falefa is a guy you root for. He has a positive attitude and works hard.
On a rebuilding Rangers team, he will most likely be the shortstop for years to come. He is the ideal placeholder until good arrives.