The Cincinnati Reds were not good at winning baseball games in 2015, but they were dang solid at playing defense, at least. So solid, it turns out, that three of their everyday regulars were announced as finalists for Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at their respective positions.
Each of Brandon Phillips, Billy Hamilton, and Todd Frazier had solid, if not spectacular defensive seasons in 2015, and I have a hard time faulting anyone for considering them among the three best defenders at their respective positions in the game today. That said, there's some lofty competition they're up against, and it's highly likely that, like last year, the Reds will be shut out of winning an award entirely depsite ranking among the game's elite in team defense statistics.
Frazier probably need not even pay attention on announcement day, as Colorado Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado is poised to take home his third consecutive award at the hot corner. Arenado's defense is visibly as good as it comes, backed equally by most every defensive metric, and this year gets to be paired next to his NL leading 42 dingers and MLB leading 130 ribbies in voters' eyes. (No, those offensive statistics shouldn't matter, but they often do, unfortunately.)
Speaking of offensive contributions and reputation making an impact, Billy Hamilton may be hampered in his pursuit for Gold Glove number one by both factors, as Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Pollock are finalists next to him. Hamilton ranked significantly ahead of both in Defensive Runs Saved, according to FanGraphs, and he did so while playing a ton fewer innings on the season, but the offensive disparity between he and the other two (and that missed time) may well cost him the award despite a stellar, stellar defensive season.
Phillips, too, may be up against it given Dee Gordon's breakout .333 season and league-leading DRS number at 2B, and that's unfortunate given how solid BP's renaissance season was. 2014 Gold Glove 2B winner D.J. LeMahieu is in the mix as well, but despite another solid season - one in which he hit .301 and again posted above average defensive metrics - I have a hard time believing he'll go home with a second consecutive win.
In all, it's a pretty respectable representation for the Reds, but my gut tells me not to expect any winners this year. I'll put my money on Arenado, Pollock, and Gordon against my heart's leanings.