The best Orioles seasons in recent memory have seen Gold Glove-caliber defense across the entire diamond, which surely helped with all of the success. The “finalists” for the Gold Gloves were announced on Thursday afternoon and this year the Orioles will have a chance to win only two. Their finalists are Manny Machado at third base and Chris Davis at first base.
Calling them “finalists” is a bit of a misnomer. The voting, done by managers and coaches in addition to a sabermetric component, is already done and whoever is going to win is going to win, but the Gold Gloves sponsor can get an extra day of news from announcing “finalists” before the winners - and keep more fans of different teams interested, so there we are. It’s not like there’s anything else to talk about today.
The competition for Davis at first base is Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer and Mitch Moreland of the Rangers. Hosmer has won the last three Gold Gloves at first base and will probably be seen as the favorite given that the easiest way to be seen as Gold Glove-worthy is to have already won a Gold Glove.
At third base, Machado’s other finalists include two other past Gold Glove winners: four-time winner Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, and Seattle’s Kyle Seager, who won the 2014 Gold Glove - though probably only because Machado missed half of that season with a knee injury.
You’re probably happy with the Orioles defense at the other infield spots, but none of Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, or Jonathan Schoop were named as Gold Glove finalists.
In the case of Wieters and Hardy, that’s likely due to their having not played in enough games to really stick in people’s minds. Hardy only played 115, and Wieters only caught 111 games, not really a “full” workload at either position.
Schoop, who played in every game, is good enough to be what the Orioles need, but he doesn’t have the rangy and flashy plays that will really get a player Gold Glove attention. The finalists at that position are Seattle’s Robinson Cano, a two-time winner, Boston’s four-time winner Dustin Pedroia, and Detroit’s Ian Kinsler.
At shortstop, the finalists instead of Hardy are Detroit’s Jose Iglesias, Anaheim’s Andrelton Simmons, and Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor. If the postseason counted in the voting, Lindor would probably win. Simmons won two Gold Gloves in the National League before.
The players who edged Wieters out at catcher are the Angels’ Carlos Perez, Detroit’s James McCann, and Kansas City’s Salvador Perez, who won the last three Gold Gloves. McCann, by the way, played even fewer games than Wieters - and Perez played in fewer still. But McCann threw out 45% of runners and Perez threw out 38%, both of which are impressive numbers.
The Orioles do not have any Gold Glove finalists in the outfield this year, which will not come as a surprise to anyone who watched any Orioles games this year, or anyone who viewed any defensive metrics for Orioles outfielders this year. They had one of the worst defensive outfields in baseball and demonstrated this reality regularly.
And by the way, Nick Markakis is a right field Gold Glove finalist in the National League.
The winners of the Gold Glove awards will be announced on November 9 on ESPN.