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Saints Closer Tanner Kiest Earns Final American Association Pointstreak Pitcher of the Week Honors

September 2, 2019 - American Association (AA) - St. Paul Saints News Release

ST. PAUL, MN - If Tanner Kiest pitches like he did over the final week of the regular season the St. Paul Saints may wind up calling themselves champions. With the intensity of each game climbing to new heights over the last week of the season, Kiest helped earn the Saints their fourth playoff berth in five seasons. His success in high-leverage innings earned Kiest the American Association Pointstreak Pitcher of the Week for the week of August 26-September 1.

Kiest pitched in four games earning a save in each appearance. In 4.1 innings pitched he allowed just one run on two hits while walking four and striking out seven. In his first two appearances of the week he helped the Saints hang on to two, one-run victories, which has become a staple of the 2019 team.

Kiest came over in a trade with the Milwaukee Milkmen on August 8 and has been a big reason the Saints surged in the final three weeks of the season. Overall, Kiest is 1-2 with a 2.28 ERA and nine saves, all with the Saints, in 44 relief appearances. In 47.1 innings pitched he has walked 28 and struck out 66 while opponents are hitting .213 against him. He has given up a run in just eight of 55 appearances. Since joining the Saints he is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA with nine saves in 13 appearances. In 16.0 innings he has walked 11 and struck out 25 while opponents are hitting .211 against him.

Kiest was originally selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 27th round of the 2013 draft out of Riverside (CA) Community College, but did not sign. He attended Chaffey (CA) College in 2014 and was taken by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 28th round that year. Kiest was assigned to the Gulf Coast League and went 1-0 with an 8.22 ERA in nine relief appearances. In 7.2 innings pitched he walked 16 and struck out six while opponents hit .172 against him.

He went back to the GCL in 2015 and improved going 2-0 with a 4.67 ERA in 12 relief appearances. In 17.1 innings pitched he walked 17 and struck out 18 while opponents hit .210 against him.

Following his release from the Phillies, Kiest spent 2016 with three separate Independent League teams in three different leagues. He began with the Sussex County Miners of the Can-Am League and didn't accumulate a record with a 7.50 ERA in three relief appearances. He was released in early June and signed by the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association on June 13. He pitched in just two games allowing just a hit and not giving up a run in 2.0 innings of work. He was released by the Saltdogs and signed by the Florence Freedom in the Frontier League at the end of June. He pitched in eight games for the Freedom going 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA in 9.0 innings while walking eight and striking out 15.

In 2017 Kiest pitched in the United Shore Baseball League for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers. He went 0-1 with a 3.43 ERA in 10 games. In 42.0 innings pitched he walked 35 and struck out 78. While there he caught the eye of the Minnesota Twins when he threw the leagues fastest pitch, at 99 miles per hour.

The Twins purchased Kiest's contract and assigned him to the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2018. He went 0-1 with a 7.98 ERA in seven games (two starts). In 14.2 innings pitched he walked 14 and struck out 14 while opponents hit .288 against him.

This is the second Pitcher of the Week Award for the Saints in 2019 and their seventh weekly honor of the season. Eddie Medina earned the Pitcher of the Week award in back-to-back weeks for the weeks of May 20-26 and May 27-June 2. Murphy earned two Player of the Week awards, June 16-23 and July 1-7, Brady Shoemaker earned the honor from June 24-30 and Josh Allen received the award for the week of June 8-14.

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