Four San Francisco Giants Named Gold Glove Award Finalists


On Thursday morning, Rawlings announced the finalists for their annual Gold Glove Awards, given each year to the best defensive players at each position on the diamond. Among the 54 finalists, 27 of whom come from the National League, four are members of the San Francisco Giants. Catcher Buster Posey, first baseman Brandon Belt, shortstop Brandon Crawford, and third baseman Matt Duffy will all be considered for the Gold Glove Award at their respective positions.

Posey enjoyed another fine season in 2015, putting together a great offensive year to become a dark horse MVP candidate late in the year. He also enjoyed one of his best seasons as a defensive catcher in 2015. Posey led the National League in catching runners stealing for a lot of the early part of the season, throwing out nearly 50 percent of would-be base stealers over the first few months. As the season wore on, Posey seemed to wear down, and dropped to 36 percent caught-stealing percentage by season’s end. Even still, that was Posey’s highest total since his rookie year in 2010.

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Posey’s competition is Washington Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos, and St. Louis Cardinals’ backstop Yadier Molina, the seven-time incumbent for the Gold Glove Award. This seems like Molina’s award to take home again, if for nothing else but reputation alone.

Belt put together his best season in 2015, as he was able to avoid the weird injuries that plagued him, up until the last month of the season, before a concussion cut his season short at 137 games. Even still, he hit a career-high 18 home runs and drove in a career-best 68 runs, all while playing very good defense at first base. According to Fangraphs, Belt led all big league first baseman with a -0.4 defensive rating and an Ultimate Zone Rating of 8.6. He was tied for fewest errors by a first baseman, and was second in range factor.

Along with Belt, the Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt and the Los Angeles Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez are also finalists for the award. Goldschmidt previously won a Gold Glove in 2013, while Gonzalez has four to his record, including the award from 2014. Belt does not have an award on his record, and is a finalist for the first time.

Crawford also enjoyed his best season in 2015, experiencing an offensive explosion to become a true threat in the Giants’ lineup while being named an All-Star for the first time. Along with a career-best .256 batting average, he set career marks in hits, doubles, home runs, runs batted in, runs scored, and stolen bases. Defensively, Crawford also set career-highs in UZR and defensive runs saved, as well as committing a personal low 13 errors on the year.

The two other shortstop finalists are Atlanta Braves’ perennial winner Andrelton Simmons, who has won the Gold Glove in each of his first two full seasons, and Miami Marlins’ shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. All three players are very deserving of the award, but it seems like Simmons’ reputation could propel him to his third straight award.

Probably the most surprising name on this list for the Giants is their rookie third baseman Matt Duffy. Duffy began the season as a utility infielder, playing all around the diamond as the team needed. But as Casey McGehee continued to struggle, Duffy received more and more time at third base, despite entering the season with just five games of experience at the hot corner. Duffy took the job and ran with it, becoming the team’s third-place hitter in the lineup while also taking on the rigorous task of learning a new position at the major league level.

Duffy’s improvement at his new position was rapid. In the beginning, he struggled some with judging bounces or how to make a throw with the right arm angle. But as the season continued, his comfort level rose and he began to make tough plays look routine in no time. Duffy turned the question mark at third base into an exclamation point.

In all honesty, Duffy really has no chance to win the award, as Colorado Rockies’s third baseman Nolan Arenado figures to win his third straight Gold Glove award, and will probably take home a lot of more in the future. Cincinnati Reds’ third baseman Todd Frazier is the third finalist. This is the second straight year a Giants’ third baseman is a finalist, as Pablo Sandoval was among the final three in 2014.

Joe Panik is the lone member of the Giants homegrown infield who wasn’t included among the finalists. If not for a back injury that forced him to miss most of the final two months, it wouldn’t be a shock to see his name on this list. Panik’s first season as the Giants’ everyday second baseman was cut short by back inflammation, limiting him to just 100 games, but played an excellent defensive second base during that time.

Winner of the awards will be announced on November 10th.

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