Monday, November 12, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Kevin Kiermaier wins Wilson top defensive centerfielder award

Kevin Kiermaier dealt with a lot of bad during a disappointing injury-marred 2018 season.

So he was excited and honored to get some good news Wednesday, named the game's top centerfielder in the Wilson defensive player of the year awards.

"I'm happy as can be to receive this award,'' Kiermaier said. "It is always such a satisfying feeling being rewarded for all the hard work and effort I put into my defensive craft.''

Kiermaier was limited to 88 games because of a torn thumb ligament that required surgery and other issues, but he still graded out the best in the Wilson ratings, which are based on traditional defensive statistics, advanced metrics and data from the Inside Edge scouting service.

"I still I know I can showcase my talents much more with a full season under my belt,'' said Kiermaier, 28. "I set many records back in 2015, which has been my only true full season yet to date, and I know I'm capable of doing that for years to come.

"That is what I want to prove to everyone out there but that starts with me being available for each and every game. I'm looking forward to a healthy and successful 2019 for a great bounce-back year. My motivation to come back to be the player I know I can be is at an all-time high, and I am going to work as hard as I ever have to back up what I am saying. Feels great to receive this award right now, and I plan on being in top tier contention for years to come.''

Kiermaier also won the Wilson award in 2016. He won the Gold Glove in 2015 and 2016.

Kiermaier was chosen over a field that included Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr. and Atlanta's Ender Inciarte, this year's Gold Glove winners, plus runnersup Adam Engel (White Sox), Mike Trout (Angels), Lorenzo Cain (Brewers), Billy Hamilton (Reds).

The other 2018 Wilson winners were:

C: Mike Zunino, Mariners
1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves
2B: DJ LeMahieu, Rockies
3B: Matt Chapman, Athletics
SS: Andrelton Simmons, Angels
LF: Alex Gordon, Royals
RF: Mookie Betts, Red Sox
P: Zack Greinke, D'backs

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