Mid-Pacific graduate, Rangers catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa is in his second season at the Major League level.
The 23-year-old got the call to Texas in mid-April of 2018 and stuck around for the remainder of the season.
His rookie-run as a versatile piece at back-stop and multiple infield positions was a successful one that led to him being named the Heart & Justle Award winner for the Rangers organization after hitting .261 with 18 doubles and 34 RBI.
The achievement stemmed from his relentless work ethic and according to Kiner-Falefa, the trait comes from his father Fili.
“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here, and I think he knows that. The backyard stuff, the going to the parks, finding a park that the lights are still on, I mean, we were both dedicated. He was just as dedicated as me, so being able to have him just as a parent sitting back and watching, it’s really special,” Kiner-Falefa told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
Over the last year, Kiner-Falefa says seeing his father in awe of the different Major League cities and ballparks is the gift that keeps on giving, and takes great pride in being able to provide those experiences.
“Just to have him sit down and watch everything pan out, it’s really special to me,” said Kiner-Falefa. “We’re in Boston right now, so they’re all out here, so to have him come to Fenway Park and experience that vibe, that real baseball vibe, it’s a real surreal feeling for both of us.”
Kiner-Falefa is eligible to return from the disabled list as early as Monday as he recovers from a sprained finger.
He was placed on the injured list on June 7, but will likely not be re-activated in the coming days as he began taking batting practice on Sunday.