On Thursday, the Gold Glove award nominees were announced, as the first part of the award finalists that will be announced as we begin to officially wind down the 2018 MLB season. I don’t expect a lot of Reds to take home any of these awards, for obvious reasons, but a pair of Reds are nominees for the Gold Glove, while a former Red also gets a nod.
First Base Finalist
It’s not a huge secret that Gold Glove awards are awarded to positional players based on one part reputation, one part offensive prowess (especially when it comes to first basemen) and 1⁄2 part actual defensive ability. The other half part, I believe, is the vodka drank by those that vote on these things.
Anyway, a lot of us watched Joey Votto play 1B defense this year and, well... it was okay. He worked on it a lot after 2016’s truly awful numbers, and that seemed to be a lot better than this season. When when you look at the advanced number here, they weren’t all that bad. Votto ended up with a 9 DRS and a 5.0 UZR/150 this season (just a slight dip in both from 2017 after being an abject disaster in the several seasons prior). If we’re judging based upon these numbers, it probably wasn’t as bad as it may have looked. Then you consider he played several of those innings with an injured knee and, well, I can take it.
Still, Freeman (12 DRS, 8.2 UZR/150) scores better there, while also scoring better in Fangraphs DEF rating (which isn’t friendly to any of these dudes). Those facts coupled with Freeman actually being a little bit better of an offensive player than Votto this season (finally, one season that Freeman was actually maybe a little bit better) and playing in a bigger market with a better team.... I think Freeman takes this award home.
Which means Anthony Rizzo will probably win it, despite being worse in nearly every measurable way. Hooray, baseball.
Center Field Finalist
Unfortunately this one is probably a bit of a no-brainer, and not because we know Billy Hamilton is a defensive wizard.
Billy Hamilton is a defensive wizard, and as long as he’s playing baseball and doing what he does, he should be a finalist for this award. That said, he’s had better years (and years that he certainly should’ve won). If we’re looking at the numbers, this isn’t one.
He trails both of these players in DRS, UZR, and DEF. He hit like shit, too, which certainly isn’t going to help when Lorenzo Cain is on this list, who happens to be on the best team in the National League and the best hitting CF in the National League.
Lorenzo Cain’s winning this award.
BONUS Left Field
I’m not gonna spend time breaking this down, but Adam Duvall is the defending champion in this category (EDIT: he didn’t), and he’s nominated again. He won it as a Red in 2017 (EDIT: again, this is wrong). He doesn’t play for the Reds anymore (boooo! and also yaaaay!), but he’s nominated here based largely on the work he did as a member of the Reds. He put up 683.1 innings in the Cincinnati Reds left field, while putting up only 83 innings in Atlanta’s after the trade.
He did it really well, for sure. Better than Yelich by the numbers.
Christian Yelich is about to win a lot of National League awards based upon what he provided the Brewers this year. Because of his MVP season, put this one in his trophy case, too.