Ian Desmond and Denard Span lost out on their bids to win their first Gold Glove awards for their respective positions. Desmond was beaten out by Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons and finished as a finalist for the second straight season. Span, in his first season in the National League, came up short against Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez despite finishing the season as the only everyday center fielder without any errors.
Gomez unseated Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, another finalist, for his first Gold Glove. Simmons, also a first-timer, beat out both Desmond and Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki for the award. Both Nationals players had fine defensive seasons but were topped by players who had, by some defensive metrics, even more stellar performances in the field.
Desmond, 28, began this season shaky but then settled down. At one point, he reeled off a 59-game errorless streak. He finished with 20 errors, second most among NL shortstops, but still exhibited excellent range and a strong arm. He finished with a 4.4 UZR score, fifth among qualifying NL shortstops.
Simmons, however, is often regarded as one of the best defenders in baseball and posted high marks in advanced metrics. Simmons saved 41 more runs than the average defender, according to Baseball-Reference.com, while Desmond saved three fewer runs than the average defender. Simmons also posted a 24.6 UZR, by far the best at his position.
Span, 29, was the only everyday center fielder in baseball to post a spotless fielding percentage of 1.000 and commit no errors. He saved three more runs than the average defender and posted a 10.2 UZR score, third best among NL center fielders. He made such good reads and jumps that he was rarely caught out of position on a play, making it look effortless and rarely diving for balls He also displayed tremendous range and an ability to make difficult, game-changing catches.
McCutchen posted a 6.9 UZR score and saved seven runs. Gomez, however, exceeded both, posting a 24.4 UZR score and saved 38 more runs than the average defender. Span had felt that his errorless-season would carry him to his first-ever Gold Glove award but lost out.
“Like I said b4 I won no matter what in my mind and heart! Congrats to my ex teammate Carlos Gomez for an incredible season… #illbebacktho” Span said on Twitter after the announcement.
Last season, the Nationals had one winner (Adam LaRoche) and one finalist (Desmond). This season, the Nationals, who weren’t as sharp defensively as a whole, finish with only two finalists and no winners.
The winners were announced on Tuesday night on ESPN2. Managers and coaches cast votes from a pool of qualified players in their league, but not for their own players. And for the first time in the award’s 57-year history, Rawlings collaborated with the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) and an advanced statistic (the SABR Defensive Index) accounted for about 25 percent of the total vote.
C Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
2B Brandon Phillips, Reds
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
SS Andrelton Simmons, Braves
LF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
CF Carlos Gomez, Brewers
RF Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks
P Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
C Salvador Perez, Royals
1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
2B Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3B Manny Machado, Orioles
SS J.J. Hardy, Orioles
LF Alex Gordon, Royals
CF Adam Jones, Orioles
RF Shane Victorino, Red Sox