Okay, I am very relieved. When Luis first shot me a text with the news that the Cubs had won the 2020 NL Team Gold Glove award I was caught completely off guard. I had never heard of that award and thought, somehow, I had completely missed this announcement for my 29 years on Earth.
BUT, as it turns out, this is the first ever Team Gold Glove award handed out by Rawlings, and the inaugural 2020 honor in the National League goes to the Chicago Cubs. Pretty cool.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 6, 2020
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 6, 2020
Of course, Javy Baez and Anthony Rizzo actually won the individual awards at their respective positions this year, but Jason Heyward, Kyle Hendricks, Alec Mills, Willson Contreras and Nico Hoerner (who’s … not actually pictured above) were all also nominated. That’s SEVEN nominations and two wins.
And you know what, the Cubs deserve this award. No, this defense wasn’t quite as good the historic 2016 team, who would have absolutely won the NL Team award had it existed, but they were legitimately excellent.
Their combined 23 Defensive Runs Saved and 10.8 Ultimate Zone rating both ranked 6th in MLB (and 4th in the NL) and their overall 15.8 Defensive rating ranked 3rd in MLB and 2nd in the NL. Meanwhile, the Cubs primary catcher, Willson Contreras, became one of the better framers in baseball this season (to go along with his very good arm) and their shortstop, Baez, is easily one of the top defensive players – at any position – in all of baseball.
Meanwhile, arguably their weakest link, Kyle Schwarber, actually helped produce the highest rARM score in the National League. With perennial Gold Glovers in right field and first base, this wasn’t a difficult call.
Were other teams conceivable deserving of the honor? Sure. Of course. But the Cubs are no upset.