The Minnesota Twins may have stumbled to a third place finish in the American League Central, but there were some definitive bright spots within the season. Silver linings in the grayest of gray clouds.
Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez made their first All-Star team. Jhoan Duran broke out and became one of the league’s top rookies. Carlos Correa put up excellent numbers. Bailey Ober looked stellar when healthy. Arraez won a batting title. Now, there appears to be more silver linings on the way:
Max Kepler, Luis Arraez, and Carlos Correa were all named finalists for the 2022 Gold Glove Award at their position. The award finalists are chosen by managers and coaches from the teams, so evidently the trio was seen as playing well enough to earn a spot on this list.
Luis Arraez, Carlos Correa, and Max Kepler make three Minnesota Twins named as Gold Glove finalists.
Max Kepler has been a stellar defender and is the most deserving of his spot as a finalist. His 10 DRS (defensive runs saved) sits fifth among all right fielders and second in the American League. Batting issues aside, Kepler was elite defensively, and while he shouldn’t remain the starter, his defensive skill is absolutely invaluable, as shown by his Outs above Average.
For Carlos Correa, his inclusion is a bit confusing. The 2021 Platinum Glove and Gold Glove Winner at shortstop likely was named as a finalist based on his own pedigree, but his numbers in a Minnesota Twins uniform don’t really warrant it, especially with players like Jorge Mateo outplaying him at the position.
Lastly, Luis Arraez is an astonishing choice on this list. Arraez ranked best in the American League in defensive runs saved at first base, but his lack of height and athleticism often led him to miss some plays most first basemen usually make. It’s the reason he ranked in the fifteenth percentile in Outs above Average.
Arraez made HUGE leaps defensively at second base, and his play at first base was incredibly impressive considering he learned a new position on the fly. He did an admirable job by multiple metrics, even if he didn’t pass the eye test at points.
The Minnesota Twins have seen just two Gold Glove winners since 2010, with Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier taking home the award in center field and second base in 2017. Hopefully one of these three hitters will be able to take home the award and break the streak.