Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Akshita Patel

“It’s Starting To Pay Off,” Yankees Isiah Kiner-Falefa Reveals How Timely Adjustment Helped Him Transform Into Utility Player

Isiah Kiner-Falefa made his debut in MLB with the Texas Rangers in 2018 before being traded to the New York Yankees. He started off as a catcher but eventually transformed into a shortstop. Over the years, IKF has played as a shortstop and infielder. However, he could not succeed in his shortstop duties in the Bronx.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa arrived in the Yankees via trade from the Twins. However, the trade was labeled as a huge failure due to the shortstop’s slump. In 2023, he escaped a trade-off despite losing the shortstop battle in spring training. Hence, the only option left with IKF was to enhance his skills and somehow fit in as per the team’s requirements. He did that by becoming a utility player. After an initial struggle, the newly transformed utility player has finally regained his groove.


Isiah Kiner-Falefa Thanks The Yankees Coach For Making Him Trust The Process Of Change

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New York Yankees Isiah Kiner-Falefa, left, runs to first base on a single that scores teammate Greg Allen, right, for a tenth-inning win in a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Saturday, May 27, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) ASSOCIATED PRESS

Yankees Isiah Kiner-Falefa faced a deep conundrum during this year’s spring training. He lost the highly competitive shortstop battle to the rookie Anthony Volpe. There existed no place for him in the lineup. That’s when he made a life-changing decision to transform into a utility player. The IKF recently scored four RBIs to help the Yankees win the series against the Seattle Mariners. This also happens to be the first instance in the season where the utility player has been able to contribute to the team’s overall success. Speaking after the game, he revealed how transforming into a utility player was the best thing that happened to him this season.

IKF said when the Yankees hitting coach first approached him with the idea, he tried to run away from it. However, the coaching staff did not give up and asked him just to trust the process. He eventually went on to make the necessary adjustment which, to be fair, was a tough job for the player who has played all his life as an infielder. Regardless, Isiah worked hard, and the results were finally there. IFK also sounded relieved when he said that all the hard work he put in during training had been paying off at the right time. The utility player was grateful for the coaching staff’s unconditional support.

IFK Had To Change His Mentality To Ensure Success As A Utility Player

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Judge and Rizzo dump the water cooler on IKF after his walk-off. Twitter NYY

Yankees hitting coach Dillon Lawson spoke about Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s rise as a utility player this season and how he pushed him to change his set mentality. Lawson said when he asked IKF to consider tweaking his batting stance, he remained skeptical and refused to budge. He said that swinging harder would lead to higher strikeout rates. However, the coach asked him to change his mentality and at least try to change something, as the usual process was not helping him in any way.

Fortunately, the plan worked in favor of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, as he has recorded better hits this season compared to the last few seasons. As of this writing, IKF has had 27 hits and converted three of them into home runs and 14 into RBIs. Certainly, the change is visible and has played a huge role in his short success on the plate. The Yankee fans would hope the newly turned utility player would continue to thrive on the momentum to help the Yankees win as many games as possible.