On Thursday, Rawlings announced the three finalists in both leagues for the Gold Glove Awards at each position. That included three Pirates as Jacob Stallings (catcher), Kevin Newman (shortstop) and Bryan Reynolds (center field), were all named finalists in the National League. Though all are up for the award, each of the three have varying degrees of likelihood to take home the prestigious award. Let’s take a look.
Stallings was named one of three finalists along with Yadier Molina (Cardinals) and JT Realmuto (Phillies). It’s the second time in as many years that Stallings has been named a finalist for the award. The Bucs’ backstop has as good a case as any of the finalists, regardless of league or position, to take home the hardware.
Stallings was tied for the Major League lead with 21 defensive runs saved (DRS) on the year, joining Houston’s Carlos Correa atop the league leaderboard. The next closest catcher in terms of defensive runs saved was the Mets’ Tomas Nido who was responsible for 10. Comparing Stallings’ total to the other two finalists, Molina had six DRS and Realmuto had zero. Stallings was a slightly better pitch framer than Realmuto – a score of 8.8 for Stallings to 8.6 for Realmuto, and Molina was actually below average at stealing strikes with a score of -2.0. Of the three, Stallings caught the fewest amount of time behind the plate with 892 innings compared to Molina (1,001.1) and Realmuto (973).
It was a turnaround season for Newman defensively who had his best season in the field of his career. The other two finalists for the Gold Glove at the position are Brandon Crawford (Giants) and Francisco Lindor (Mets). Newman’s nine defensive runs saved were tied for the most in the National League along with Trevor Story of the Rockies. Crawford had six DRS on the year and Lindor checked in a couple ticks below with four. Newman’s defensive WAR score of 11.9 topped all National League shortstops and checked in significantly higher than Crawford (8.6) and Lindor (5.2). Newman’s UZR of 6.4 also was better than Crawford (2.6) and Lindor (-0.1)
While those statistics are in Newman’s favor, when it came to outs above average (OAA), Newman left some to be desired compared to the other two. Lindor led National League shortstops with 20 and Crawford came in at 15 OAA – Newman posted just three.
The all-around terrific season for Reynolds continued to get more recognition when he was announced as a Gold Glove finalist. He is up against two other National League Center Fielders in Harrison Bader (Cardinals) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (Brewers). Reynolds was also named a finalist for a National League Silver Slugger and should get some MVP votes next month.
When looking at OAA, Reynolds ranked second among National League outfielders with 10. The problem is that he trailed Bader who posted a mark of 13. Reynolds spent 1,133.2 innings in center field this past season, more than any other center fielder in the senior circuit.
The case for Reynolds is not as strong as it is for the other two Pirate finalists. Looking at DRS, Reynolds posted a below-average mark of minus-five, while Bader posted 15, the highest among NL center fielders and Bradley was second with nine. Reynolds also fell well short in both UZR and defensive WAR.
Stallings certainly deserves to take home the award this year as he leads the other two finalists in just about all of the most important categories. Newman also very much deserves to win the award, but it would not be a shock if the award went to one of the other finalists – Crawford is probably more likely than Lindor. Though, the more traditional metrics of errors and fielding percentage are also in Newman’s favor. For Reynolds, while he played well after taking over in center field early on in the season for the Bucs, it seems like it is Bader’s award to lose.
Stallings and Newman will take home Gold Glove awards, but Bader will take home the Gold Glove over Reynolds.