Kevin Newman

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Kevin Bradley Newman

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Biographical Information[edit]

Shortstop Kevin Newman was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the 2015 amateur draft with the 19th overall pick. He soon signed and made his pro debut with the West Virginia Black Bears on June 19th. On August 7, 2018, he hit for the cycle in a 12-5 win by the Indianapolis Indians over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs; he went 5 for 5 with a pair of doubles, completing the feat with a homer in the 8th. Three batters later, teammate Jacob Stallings also completed a cycle, with a triple, for a rare instance of two teammates accomplishing this in the same game. Less than ten days later, he was called up to Pittsburgh to make his big league debut. He hit .209 in 31 games in his first taste of the majors.

Newman was back with the Pirates in 2019, playing as a utility infielder. He hit his first career homer on May 28th against Lucas Sims of the Cincinnati Reds; it was a grand slam, but it came in an 11-6 loss. He eventually became the team's starting shortstop, playing 130 games and hitting .308 with 12 homers and 64 RBIs, good for an OPS+ of 109. That made him one of the few bright spots on a Pirates team that underperformed badly and finished last in the NL Central. He and Bryan Reynolds were the first rookie teammate duo to both top .300 since Fred Lynn and Jim Rice with the 1975 Red Sox.

He regressed badly in 2020, however, as he split his playing time almost evenly between shortstop and second base. He hit just .224 with 1 homer and 15 RBIs in 44 games (the season lasted only 60 games because of the Coronavirus pandemic). His OPS+ slid all the way to 52. His fielding at short fell from .973 to .930 and his base-stealing went from 16 swipes to 0. As a result, his job was in jeopardy heading into spring training in 2021 (with challenges from fellow first-round pick Cole Tucker and Erik González), but he put up some other-worldly numbers in Bradenton that gave the Bucs no choice but to keep him around: on the final week-end of Grapefruit League games, he was batting an astounding .714 and had yet to strike out! That was the highest spring training average of anyone since stats started being kept systematically in 2006, shattering the previous mark of .586 by Todd Linden in 2008. On July 17th, he was at the center of one of the strangest plays of the year: with the Bucs already leading the New York Mets, 3-0, and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 1st, he hit a little dribbler down the third base line. P Taijuan Walker thought it was a foul ball and pushed it away with his glove, towards the Pirates' dugout. However, home plate umpire Jeremy Riggs ruled that the ball was in fact in contact with the foul line when touched, which made it a fair ball (television replays would later confirm he was right). Walker, C Tomas Nido and 3B J.D. Davis all stood around not knowing what to do, with no one thinking of retrieving the errant ball, while all three runners came around to score and Newman ended up on second base. Statcast later showed that the ball had travelled all of one foot. In spite of the early 6-0 lead, but par for the course for a very tough season, Pittsburgh still ended up losing the game, 7-6. On August 14th, he tied a record by hitting four doubles in one game in a 14-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Two other Pirates also shared the mark, Paul Waner in 1932 and Adam Frazier in 2019.

Records Held[edit]

  • Tied MLB record by hitting four doubles in a game, August 14, 2021

Related Sites[edit]