As we’ve discussed, the Cubs had an exceptional defense this year overall, and they’re getting some Gold Glove love to show for it.
Rawlings today announced the three Gold Glove finalists at each position, and the Cubs scored a whopping SEVEN nominations, which is basically the same as winning the World Series.
Two of the three pitching finalists are Cubs, with Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills each getting a nod. Just two pitchers in all of baseball had 3 DRS for the year, and they were Hendricks and Mills. For Hendricks, the recognition is a long-time coming (he’s always been quite good, and he’s an elite pick-off artist!), and for Mills, it’s a really nice capper to a year that featured a no-hitter. The other pitcher is Max Fried, but here’s hoping one of the two Cubs wins it.
At second base, Nico Hoerner joins Kolten Wong and Adam Frazier as finalists. Like we discussed earlier this week, Hoerner rated as one of the best infield defenders this year, so although him landing here might surprise a lot of non-Cubs fans, it shouldn’t surprise any of us. He deserved this. The bat is still gonna need some work, but it’s mighty impressive what he was able to do defensively at second base having just moved there from shortstop.
At first base, Anthony Rizzo gets his perennial nod, together with Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Belt. I’m not sure Rizzo’s metrics will get him there this year, but we see it daily – the guy is just as good as it gets over there.
Behind the plate, Willson Contreras’s tremendous work as a pitch-framer, combined with his already-existing defensive skills, made him a finalist. Tucker Barnhart and Jacob Stallings are the other two finalists, and although Contreras leads in FanGraphs’ defensive runs calculation, he trails each by a lot in DRS.
At shortstop, it’s Javy Báez, Dansby Swanson, and Miguel Rojas. The trio are all mixed up in terms of the advanced stats – there’s no clear leader, as Báez has the OAA lead, Swanson has the DRS lead, and Rojas has the UZR/150 lead. I say give it to Javy because reasons.
And, of course, Jason Heyward is a finalist in right field, together with Charlie Blackmon and Mookie Betts, who is quite obviously going to win this one. But being a finalist is awesome, and Heyward quite frequently is!
The winners will be announced on November 3, which is also the NFL Trade Deadline and the U.S. Election.