New York Yankee Player Profiles: Isiah Kinner-Falefa, the Yankee answer

The New York Yankees went into the postseason with plenty of questions to answer. The most important one was to acquire a new shortstop to replace Gleyber Torres, who was moved permanently to second base near the end of last season. Since then, the Yankees have had their eyes on Isiah Kinner-Falefa.

But, the Yankees sat back and did nothing to improve the team for the 2022 season, while many other teams made significant moves scooping other major leagues’ hottest free agents. The Yankees saw two of the best shortstops in the business, including Corey Seager and Marcus Semiem, going to another team, leaving just Isiah Kinner-Falefa and Corey Correa on the market.

As soon as the CBA was reached, The Yankees pounced and orchestrated a mega-trade bringing Isiah Kinner-Falefa, as well a third baseman, and a stop back to the Yankees, as the Yankees gave up Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez in the trade with the Minnesota Twins. Now with Isiah Kinner-Falefa on the roster, let’s get to know him better.



Kiner-Falefa attended Mid-Pacific Institute in  Honolulu, Hawaii. The Texas Rangers drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. He spent all of the 2013 season with them, batting .322 with 11 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 41 games. In 2014, he played for the AZL Rangers, Hickory Crawdads, and Spokane Indians. In 2015 he played with High Deserts Mavericks. Kiner-Falefa spent 2016 with the Frisco RoughRiders. He compiled a .256 batting average with 27 RBIs in 108 games.

Kiner-Falefa has played all the infield positions, including catcher for the Rangers. He played in 2017 with Frisco, where he batted .288 with five home runs and 48 RBIs in a129 games. The Rangers added him to their 40-man roster after the 2017 season. He started in the minors but was called back to the major leagues for the rest of the season.

Texas Rangers

On April 14, 2018, Kiner-Falefa made his Major League debut. He hit his first career home run. Kiner-Falefa appeared in 111 games during his rookie season of 2018, hitting .261/.325/.357/.682 with four home runs and 34 RBI. He opened the 2019 season with Rangers in a catching tandem with veteran Jeff Mathis but was soon placed on the injured list. He finished 2019, hitting .238/.299/.322 with one home run and 21 RBI.

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Kiner-Falefa hit .280/.329/.370 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 58 games. He was awarded the AL Gold Glove Award for third basemen. Over 158 games in 2021, he hit .271/.312/.357/.670 with eight home runs, 53 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. He led the major leagues with 136 singles. Defensively, he moved to shortstop and led his position with 436 assists and 98 double plays.

Texas Rangers

Kiner-Falefa made his Major League debut against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 10, 2018. On April 14, against the Houston Astros, he hit his first career home run. Kiner-Falefa appeared in 111 games during his rookie season of 2018, hitting .261/.325/.357/.682 with four home runs and 34 RBI. He finished 2019, hitting .238/.299/.322 with one home run and 21 RBI.

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Kiner-Falefa hit .280/.329/.370 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 58 games. He was awarded the AL Gold Glove Award for third basemen. Over 158 games in 2021, he hit .271/.312/.357/.670 with eight home runs, 53 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.[12] He led the major leagues with 136 singles. Defensively, he moved to shortstop and led his position with 436 assists and 98 double plays.

New York Yankees

On March 12, 2022, Texas traded Kiner-Falefa, along with pitcher and two other positions players, to the Twins. A day later, Kiner-Falafa was traded in the blockbuster trade to the New York Yankees.