Chicago Cubs Net Three Gold Glove Finalists: Rizzo, Baez, Heyward

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Chicago Cubs Net Three Gold Glove Finalists: Rizzo, Baez, Heyward

Chicago Cubs News

The Gold Glove finalists at each position were revealed today by Rawlings, and the Cubs netted three finalists! It’s probably the three you’d expect.

Anthony Rizzo at first base:

Javy Baez at second base:

Jason Heyward in right field:

Anthony Rizzo has become one of those guys who is consistently so strong defensively at his position that, without a number of huge standout performances around the league to supplant him, he’s going to be a finalist every year. Which is not to say he doesn’t deserve it yet again this season, as he’s up there near the top of the league in various defensive metrics, and plays quite a lovely game at first base.

Javy Baez is EL MAGO, which pretty much sums things up there. Heck, he could have been a finalist at shortstop, too, in my opinion. (Reminder: Kolten Wong is going to be very ticked off if he doesn’t win.)

Jason Heyward actually rated much, much worse in right field this year by the various metrics than he has in the past. Sometimes, that’s just a matter of one year of advanced defensive metrics being flukey, and sometimes it’s because there’s a real trend beginning. We’ll see next year, and Heyward did have some very visible gaffes this season. That said, on the whole, he’s still excellent in right field, and also when he slides over into center field. You know, like, maybe if he has to play in center field a lot more in 2019 because of a certain addition in right field? That’d be fine.

Among the other spots …

Willson Contreras no doubt gets dinged in the Gold Glove because of his sub(-sub)-par pitch-framing, though I do want to give him some love for his stellar ability at the other “defensive” phases of the business of catching. Indeed, by FanGraphs’ DEF value metric, Contreras was the best defensive (non-framing) catcher in the game this year.

Speaking of guys who understandably didn’t become a finalist, but for whom I have one stat to point out: Kyle Schwarber led the NL in UZR/150 in left field. The eye test still says he’s not quite a “Gold Glove” caliber outfielder, but he showed this year that – when you consider ALL of the defensive contributions of a player (that arm, baby) – he can be a perfectly passable left fielder.

Also, I can’t pretend to know the best way to credibly evaluate the defense of a pitcher over the tiny, tiny sample of a single season of starts, but doesn’t it seem like Kyle Hendricks is basically perfect out there? Plus, he picks fools off.

Albert Almora is great out in center field, but he didn’t see enough playing time to merit serious consideration for the Gold Glove.


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.