There was a nice combination of the expected and the unexpected in this year’s Gold Glove Awards, which were handed out on Tuesday night.
A number of repeat winners collected hardware and a bunch of newcomers put a stamp on their defensive reputations in receiving this honor.
Here’s a look at the most notable stories from the night:
Royals, Diamondbacks, Astros, Cardinals are big winners
Perez and Hosmer each won for the third straight year. Perez is one of three active players to have won at least three Gold Gloves, along with fellow winner Yadier Molina and Joe Mauer, who is no longer a full-time catcher. Hosmer is one of three active players with three wins at first base, along with Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez. Escobar won for the first time and became the first Royals shortstop to win a Gold Glove.
Goldschmidt led all first basemen with 18 defensive runs saved to win his second award. Pollock led all center fielders with 14 defensive runs saved.
The Astros also had two winners: Dallas Keuchel was a repeat winner at pitcher after leading the majors in defensive runs saved for the second straight year. He was joined by second baseman Jose Altuve, the first Astros player to win at that position since Craig Biggio in 1997.
The Cardinals had two winners, not surprising considering their past success. Yadier Molina won for the eighth consecutive time. His eight Gold Gloves are surpassed at catcher only by Ivan Rodriguez (13) and Johnny Bench (10). Molina was joined by Jason Heyward, who won for the third time. Heyward was the only outfielder who won a Gold Glove in 2014 to win one in 2015.
The Cespedes quirk
Cespedes compiled outstanding numbers prior to being traded by the Detroit Tigers on July 31. He led the league’s left fielders with 11 defensive runs saved and ranked second with nine assists. Only 22 percent of baserunners advanced an extra base on balls he fielded, the lowest rate in the majors. The major league average is 37 percent.
Cespedes’ win could partly be attributed to the statistical component in Gold Glove voting. Approximately one-fourth of the vote is based on a compilation of different metrics, in which Cespedes rated well ahead of his peers.
From the bottom to the top
The best story among the winners might be Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, who won for the first time in his career, beating out two finalists who were previous winners in DJ LeMahieu and Brandon Phillips. Gordon is the fourth different second baseman to win the award in the last four seasons.
Gordon led NL second basemen with 13 defensive runs saved. Gordon converted from shortstop after finishing with -14 defensive runs saved in 2012 and -4 in 2013. In 2014, his first season at second base, he handled the position adequately (-5 runs saved). After being traded to the Marlins, he flourished both at the plate and in the field.
Gordon made two big strides from 2014 to 2015. He improved his double-play conversion rate from 67 percent to a league-best 73 percent. And he went from rating below average on balls hit in the first base/second-base hole to well above average.
Gold Glove Winners