On Thursday afternoon, Rawlings Baseball announced the finalists at each position in both leagues for this year's Gold Glove Awards. Unlike in a normal season, this year's Gold Gloves aren't being determined by coach voting; rather, they're being determined by numbers and numbers alone because the regional schedule prevented coaches from receiving a proper look at every candidate in their league. (In other words, you're encouraged to view this year's lot with even more skepticism than usual.)
Nevertheless, it's always an honor for a player to win or be a candidate for a Gold Glove Award, so let's break down the finalists by position and league, beginning with the American League.
- Pitcher: Griffin Canning (Angels); Kenta Maeda (Twins); Zach Plesac (Cleveland)
- Catcher: Yasmani Grandal (White Sox); James McCann (White Sox); Roberto Perez (Cleveland)
- First base: Yuli Gurriel (Astros); Matt Olson (Athletics); Evan White (Mariners)
- Second base: Cesar Hernandez (Cleveland); Danny Mendick (White Sox); Jonathan Schoop (Tigers); Nicky Lopez (Royals)
- Third base: Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Rangers); Yoan Moncada (White Sox); Gio Urshela (Yankees)
- Shortstop: Carlos Correa (Astros); J.P. Crawford (Mariners); Niko Goodrum (Tigers)
- Left field: Alex Gordon (Royals); Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Blue Jays); Kyle Tucker (Astros)
- Center field: Byron Buxton (Twins); Ramon Laureano (Athletics); Luis Robert (White Sox)
- Right field: Clint Frazier (Yankees); Joey Gallo (Rangers); Anthony Santander (Orioles)
The White Sox lead the way with five nominees, including two at catcher. The most surprising individual nomination is probably Danny Mendick (he appeared in 28 games at second base) or Clint Frazier, who is not known for his defensive acumen. As for the biggest snub, well ... it's probably Francisco Lindor, Willy Adames, or Andrelton Simmons, though fielding metrics were lower on Simmons than normal this season. Matt Chapman and Kevin Kiermaier are also noticeably absent.
Anywho, onto the National League:
- Pitcher: Max Fried (Braves); Kyle Hendricks (Cubs); Alec Mills (Cubs)
- Catcher: Tucker Barnhart (Reds), Willson Contreras (Cubs); Jacob Stallings (Pirates)
- First base: Brandon Belt (Giants); Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals); Anthony Rizzo (Cubs);
- Second base: Adam Frazier (Pirates); Nico Hoerner (Cubs); Kolten Wong (Cardinals)
- Third base: Brian Anderson (Marlins); Nolan Arenado (Rockies); Manny Machado (Padres)
- Shortstop: Javier Baez (Cubs); Miguel Rojas (Marlins); Dansby Swanson (Braves)
- Left field: Shogo Akiyama (Reds); Tyler O'Neill (Cardinals); David Peralta (Diamondbacks)
- Center field: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves); Cody Bellinger (Dodgers); Trent Grisham (Padres)
- Right field: Mookie Betts (Dodgers); Charlie Blackmon (Rockies); Jason Heyward (Cubs)
Clearly, Chicago was the best defensive city in the league. The Cubs lead the NL with seven players, including two pitchers, qualifying as finalists. The biggest surprise might be Shogo Akiyama, who split his time between left and center field. As for snubs, how about Enrique Hernandez? He finished seventh in Defensive Runs Saved in the majors, but couldn't get a nomination in a year where it's determined solely by numbers. Rough.
The Gold Glove Award winners tend to be announced in early November. In other words, check back in a few weeks to see which of the above names will add some hardware to their collection.