Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier win first career gold gloves but not without some questions

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CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: Brian Dozier
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: Brian Dozier /
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Minnesota Twins Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier both win a 2017 Gold Glove. The award is an exciting achievement for both, but there are still some questions.

After a turn around season, the Minnesota Twins will be mentioned more often this offseason than in past as award season is underway. And as the Rawlings Gold Glove award winners were announced Monday, two pieces of hardware will be headed the way of Minnesota. Center fielder Byron Buxton and second baseman Brian Dozier both won the award at their respective positions.

Buxton was a given to win a Gold Glove and if he hadn’t social media rioting would have ensued. That said, Buxton did have some good competition in Kevin Pillar of the Bluejays and Lorenzo Cain of the Royals. There are simply few fielders that can compete with Buxton’s resume that Twins fans and pitchers were able to enjoy all season long.

The 23-year-old center fielder lead in several statistical categories. He lead Statcasts’ Catch Probability Leader Board with 25 outs above average which was 6 more than the next closest on the 2017 season. On the way to that number, he made an MLB leading 29, 4 and 5-star catches (credit MLB.com). In Fangraphs’ Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), Buxton logged a 24, a UZR of 9.9, and a UZR/150 of 13.1. If the numbers don’t express his worthiness enough all you have to do is watch these five and half minutes of glorious Buxton highlights.

While Buxton’s path to a Gold Glove was unquestioned, Dozier had much more speculation surrounding his eventual award win. Dozier was granted the award over Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox and Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers. Looking at the fact that Dozier only committed 5 errors in 674 defensive chances, a .993 fielding percentage, he looks pretty deserving. Pedroia finished just a little better than Dozier with a .995 fielding percentage but with only 366 defensive chances.

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Where Dozier’s resume for the reward took a major hit was in other analytics used to try and measure defense. Some of those same FanGraph’s numbers where Buxton excelled, Dozier didn’t. Dozier finished with a -4 DRS, -5.7 UZR, and -1.0 UZR/150. For comparison, Kinsler was 3rd among second basemen in DRS at 6 and 2nd in UZR at 6.1 and Pedroia ranked 2nd as well in UZR at 6.1. What may have helped Dozier is that he does have the flare to make some highlight reel plays.

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While we celebrate the Gold Gloves of Buxton and Dozier, Twins fans may always remember 2017 as the year Joe Mauer should have won. With only 2 errors, a DRS of 7, UZR of 7.1, and UZR/150 of 9.1 Mauer seemed like a sure finalist and eventual winner of the first base Gold Glove by many. Instead, he was snubbed out of the award race and Twins fans will simply have to appreciate plays like this from Mauer’s 2017 season.

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