The Royals have prided themselves on defense the last few seasons and have been rewarded for that with hardware, like the Gold Glove Award, annually given out at each position for defensive excellence. Their defense may have slipped a bit this year, but the Royals still had some outstanding performers that were named finalists for the award this year.
Salvador Perez is a finalist at catcher, along with Los Angeles catcher Martin Maldonado and Cleveland’s Yan Gomes. Salvy has won the last four Gold Gloves in the American League. Perez threw out just 27% of would-be basestealers this year, the lowest mark in a full season in his career. He was still third among American League catchers in dWAR at 1.3 behind Maldonado and Minnesota’s Jason Castro.
Eric Hosmer was named a finalist at first base, joining Boston’s Mitch Moreland and Cleveland’s Carlos Santana. Hosmer is a three-time winner, although Moreland took home the award last year. Hosmer has looked smooth at first base, but has never fared well in advanced metrics, coming in at -7 Defensive Runs Saved this year, one of the worst marks in baseball. Santana and Moreland led the American League in that category at +10.
Alex Gordon is a finalist for left field along with New York’s Brett Gardner and Justin Upton, who spent time with the Tigers and Angels. Gordon has won four Gold Gloves, but has not taken home the award since 2014. He was second among American League left fielders in DRS at +9, behind Gardner, but led all left fielders in Defensive Runs Above Average. He also had these amazing catches this year, including an amazing robbery of a home run by Detroit’s Mikie Mathook.
Lorenzo Cain, who has amazingly never won a Gold Glove, was named a finalist. He will face tough competition in centerfield with Byron Buxton a favorite and Toronto’s Kevin Pillar also a finalist. Cain has only been even a finalist for the award once - back in 2013.
Whit Merrifield was not a finalist, despite finishing fourth among American League second basemen with +5 Defensive Runs Saved and second in dWAR. Minnesota’s Brian Dozier, Detroit’s Ian Kinsler, and Boston’s Dustin Pedroia will be up for the award. Mike Moustakas was not a finalist either, which is not surprising considering his decline in defensive metrics, likely due to his knee injury. Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria, Baltimore’s Manny Machado, and Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez were named finalists at third.
At shortstop, Alcides Escobar was shut out in favor of Texas’ Elvis Andrus, Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor, and Los Angeles’ Andrelton Simmons. Right field will be between Boston’s Mookie Betts, Los Angeles’ Kole Calhoun, and New York’s Aaron Judge.
In the National League, the finalists are:
Pitcher - Zach Davies, MIL; R.A. Dickey, ATL; Zack Greinke, ARI
Catcher - Tucker Barnhart, CIN; Yadier Molina, STL; Buster Posey, SFG
First Base - Paul Goldschmidt, ARI; Anthony Rizzo, CHC; Joey Votto, CIN
Second Base - D.J. LeMahieu, COL; Dee Gordon, MIA; Ben Zobrist, CHC
Shortstop - Brandon Crawford, SFG; Freddy Galvis, PHI; Corey Seager LAD
Third Base - Nolan Arenado, COL; David Freese, PIT; Anthony Rendon, WSN
Left Field - Adam Duvall, CIN; Gerardo Parra, COL; Marcell Ozuna, MIA
Center Field - Billy Hamilton, CIN; Ender Inciarte, ATL; Michael Taylor, WSN
Right Field - Jason Heyward, CHC; Yasiel Puig, LAD; Giancarlo Stanton, MIA
Voting is conducted by managers and coaches around baseball who are prohibited from voting from their own players. Those votes are combined with the SABR Defensive Index to come up with the winners. The Gold Glove Award winners will be announced on ESPN on November 7 at 8 p.m. CT.