Two Minnesota Twins finalists for Gold Glove awards
The Minnesota Twins had two players announced as Gold Glove finalists, but one was certainly missing!
The Minnesota Twins enjoyed tremendous improvement in their defense throughout the lineup in 2017. In 2016, the Twins ranked 29th as a team in Fangraphs’ team defensive metric. In 2017, they’d shot up as a team all the way to 11th. That sort of improvement was bound to get some individual players noticed, and it certainly did…
Let’s be honest. There was one Minnesota Twins finalist that was about as much surprise as realizing that December in Minneapolis requires a coat. The biggest upset will be if Byron Buxton does not walk away with a Gold Glove.
Buxton lapped the field in center field in the entire major leagues in defensive runs saved with 23, 8 more than the closest competitor, and his range factor runs were 12.6, which is almost twice the next best center fielder in all of baseball. He’s up against the Royals’ Lorenzo Cain and the Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar.
Brian Dozier being a finalist at second base is well-deserved, but it’s the sort of thing that Twins fans really don’t have a grasp of every day, as Dozier’s much more steady than flashy, and he’s not the type of guy who consistently makes a play that stands out like Buxton.
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However, when you look, perhaps that surprise is not unfounded. Dozier is solid across the board, but not a standout, ranking 8th in the league in defensive runs saved among qualified second basemen (and just 9 AL second basemen were qualified!), 8th in range, and his overall defensive rating is 4th.
What brings up that overall rating? Exactly that “steady, sure” aspect that many notice about Dozier. If you look at the “error rating”, essentially the rating of whether a player will make a sure play if he handles a ball, Dozier is not just first in the American League, but in the entire game with a 5.6 error runs above average, 1.5 runs better than the next best second baseman in the game and over 2 runs better than the next best American League qualified second baseman.
Joe Mauer has been part of the Minnesota Twins organization since being drafted in 2001. He won three straight Gold Glove awards at catcher from 2008-2010. At that time, there was legit question as to whether Mauer was worthy of those awards or if he got them based on reputation. Since he’s moved to first base, Mauer has been incredibly stead at preventing errors at the position, but this year was something special.
Mauer ranks first in the major leagues among qualified first basemen in overall defensive rating (taking position into effect), which is at a -1.8, though that factors in a significant negative adjustment value to any first baseman. His score is 3.0 better than any other first baseman in all of baseball. He led the majors in range runs by 0.8 over the next closest qualified 1B, his error runs were 4th in the league (and tied for 4th in the majors), and his UZR was 7.1, leading the majors by 0.5 and leading the AL by 2.3, blowing away the entire AL. He finished 3rd in the AL in Defensive Runs Saved.
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There’s really no reason that Joe Mauer is not a Gold Glove finalist, even if the standard was the top 3 1B in the entire major leagues, let alone the American League!