Isiah Kiner-Falefa throws a pitch in the ninth inning USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a traditional infielder, had to switch his designation this season just to fit in the New York Yankees lineup. When IKF entered spring training, he was made to fight top prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe for the shortstop role. Soon, Kiner-Falefa realized that it was a lost battle. Hence, he dropped out and came up with an alternative plan.

As Isiah Kiner-Falefa faced trade risk, he urged the Yankees coaching staff to use him as a utility player. After being skeptical at first, the team gave in and made him play right field. Surprisingly, the newly transformed utility player thrived in his new role, which was a massive boost for the team. Now as the season reaches halfway, Isiah has revealed his future goals with the team.


Isiah Kiner-Falefa Happy Being The Yankees Go-To Bench Player

Isiah Kiner-Falefa
IKF was 2-for-4 with a triple, two-run homer, and two runs scored playing left field for the Yankees in Wednesday night’s 9-6 loss to the Orioles. AP

Isiah Kiner-Falefa‘s new utility skills have made him a valuable asset for the New York Yankees. He has played in all outfield positions this season, along with the traditional infield positions. It has helped the team rotate its regular veterans seamlessly. The only con for IKF as a utility player is that he often gets benched during crucial games as the team prioritizes the regular players more. However, it isn’t an issue for him as long as he gets to feature in the lineup.

In a recent interview with MLB insider Bryan Hoch, IKF said that he intends to be the best bench player in the league. He is grateful and takes pride in any opportunities he receives from the team. Kiner-Falefa is also preparing himself to be ready when those opportunities are thrown at him. He is ready to hit, field, and even pitch if the need arises. That being said, IKF understands that his value goes beyond his individual statistics. He recognizes the importance of being ready to perform whenever his name is called. By focusing on being the best bench player in the league, Kiner-Falefa aims to make a significant impact on the team’s success.

IKF Emulated Shohei Ohtani’s Unique Record

Isiah-Kiner Falefa
The New York Yankees may look to move on from struggling infielder Isiah-Kiner Falefa. Sportskeeda

Despite having a strong bullpen, the Yankees have often faced trouble in closing out innings. Hence, they turned to utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa to try his hands at the mound. He pitched once last month and did surprisingly well. As a result, the team made him pitch twice in the past week, wherein he also batted in the ninth on Thursday. On that day, he struck out Mariner’s third baseman Eugenio Suarez which helped him in scripting a unique record.

With that, he emulated a unique record set by Angels star two-way player Shohei Ohtani. After Ohtani, Yankees’ Isiah Kiner-Falefa is the only player to have batted and struck out in the ninth inning in the same game. It’s safe to say that IKF has managed to elevate his utility skills with the recent pitching accolade. With time, IKF could become one of the most crucial players of the entire Yankees squad.