Hawaii’s Isiah Kiner-Falefa is in the middle of a breakout season in his first year as the Texas Rangers’ starting shortstop. The Mid-Pacific product leads all American League shortstops with 79 hits and 15 stolen bases. His .289 batting average is fourth at the position as is his 26 RBI, but despite the numbers, Kiner-Falefa sits outside the top 10 in the position’s All-Star voting for the AL
The 26-year-old took to social media to voice his displeasure, then on an appearance on MLB Network, he made a case for why his all-around game should be rewarded with a trip to Denver for the Mid-Summer Classic.
“I’m an old school ball player. I do things the right way. I think that goes a long way,” Kiner-Falefa said. “You look at guys like Derek Jeter, Ozzie Smith, Omar Visquel, all the greats. Which one of those had 1.000 OPS? The game is changing. Guys are hitting more homers, but that doesn’t mean that if you’re a well-rounded player you should get snubbed, so I just believe in what I do. I believe in the old school way. Ozzie Smith, Derek Jeter are my favorite players and being so much like them at this level now and not getting credit I deserve kind of hurts, but there is nothing I can do. I can just keep getting better.”
Kiner-Falefa’s WAR (wins above replacement) further supports his point that he’s been one of the best all-around players at his position. He has a 2.8 WAR, meaning he is worth nearly three wins more than the average shortstop in the majors. That ranks tied for second among his peers.
Voting for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game ends on June 24th.