The finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced this past Friday, and Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward and shortstop Andrelton Simmons were named in their respective positions. There’s no contest for shortstop in the NL as Simmons has that position locked down, but right field isn’t as simple because Heyward missed a lot of time during the season due to an assortment of injuries.
As I discussed in a different post, Simmons had one of the best defensive seasons in the history of the game, and with the new changes to the voting system this year, no one has a chance against him. 25 percent of the vote is now comprised of people from the Society for American Baseball Research, people who believe in the numbers that Simmons has put up this year.
Ian Desmond and Troy Tulowitzki, the other contenders for shortstop, should consider themselves out of the running. Even if the voters placed offense over defense here for some reason, Tulowitzki missed too much time this season for that to matter.
Heyward’s chances aren’t as good however, for the same reason that Tulowitzki doesn’t have a shot. I don’t think anyone would dispute that Heyward is far more athletic than Jay Bruce and Gerardo Parra, the other two contenders for right field, but he only played 104 games.
Heyward is good enough that he would be a center fielder on most teams, and he showed his prowess at that position this season with B.J. Upton playing so badly and Jordan Schafer out with injury. I think Heyward deserves the Gold Glove because he’s the best defender, but you have to consider overall production; and when you miss a large portion of the season, that production takes a huge hit.
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