Should the Blue Jays move Kevin Kiermaier up in the order?

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Two years ago, Kevin Kiermaier was public enemy number one in Toronto, the guy who infamously stole the Blue Jays data card when it fell from Alejandro Kirk’s wristband, not to mention a longstanding and notorious Jay killer for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Ah, how times have changed. After moving up north in the offseason, Kiermaier has quickly become one of the top fan favorites on the Jays team.

We knew about his all-world defense, and yeah, his astonishing good looks, but what has really taken the fervor to the next level has been his performance at the plate. Batting almost exclusively in the nine spot, the traditionally light-hitting Kiermaier has been so spectacular at the dish in 2023 that some Jays fans have started to argue that manager John Schneider should move him higher in the order.

So, should he?

Kevin Kiermaier: Slugger?

This year, Kevin Kiermaier is not just hitting better than he ever has, he’s hitting better than just about anyone on the team.

Seriously. Kiermaier currently sits second on the Jays in batting average (.319), third in OBP (.366), and second in OPS (.877). He’s got the same number of home runs (4) as Brandon Belt and Alejandro Kirk put together, and more extra base hits than anyone not named Bichette, Guerrero, or Chapman.

Particularly given the struggles of the Blue Jays lineup to score runs at times this season, it is not outrageous to suggest that the team’s best hitters should be given an opportunity to produce at the top of the order.

So, should Kiermaier replace Springer in the leadoff spot? Hit second and push Bo and Vladdy down one spot each? Could he do better than the revolving door the Jays have had in the four and five spots?

Not so fast …

“The best nine hitter”

Back in Spring Training, Kiermaier expressed the straightforward goal he had for the season in an interview with the Toronto Sun – “I want to be the best nine hitter in the league.”

He said it, and to this point, he has been.

But that’s just it. He said he wanted to be the best nine hitter in baseball, not the best leadoff hitter or the best cleanup man. Many believe that his ability to laser focus on the nine spot, and all the cliches that come with it – ‘not trying to do too much,’ ‘setting the table for the big boys,’ etc. – is exactly what has allowed Kiermaier to flourish at the plate. Move him somewhere else in the order, and you risk breaking this focus and torpedoing the whole thing.

The good news is, if you do leave him batting ninth, it’s not the worst thing in the world to have a red-hot Kiermaier setting the table for the top of the order.

What do you think? Should the Jays leave Kiermaier where he is and not mess with a good thing, or should they move him up in the order? And if they move him up, where do you put him, and who moves down?

I’d love to hear your opinion on Twitter -- @WriteFieldDeep.