Nolan Arenado had a simply fantastic season for the St. Louis Cardinals this year. So good in fact that he is right in the thick of the National League MVP conversation.
Arenado can do just about anything both at the plate and in the field.
He’s a seven-time All-Star and has taken home nine straight Gold Gloves for a reason. For those counting, yes, he’s won nine Gold Gloves in his nine career seasons in the big leagues. Pretty impressive, I’d say.
With all that being said, Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes deserves to take home the award this year based on his defense. After all, offensive statistics aren’t a part of the equation here.
Both players were named finalists for the National League Gold Glove at third base by Rawlings Baseball on Thursday alongside Ryan McMahon of the Colorado Rockies.
Looking at the statistics, all three candidates were impressive in the field this season, but Hayes stands above the competition.
While McMahon had a terrific season at the hot corner for the Rockies, this competition likely comes down to either Hayes or Arenado.
Let’s compare shall we.
Looking at the more traditional statistics, Hayes played 133 games at the hot corner for the Pirates while Arenado played 131 games at third for St. Louis.
Both players committed a dozen errors at the position. Hayes had a slight edge over Arenado in fielding percentage — .972 to .968.
Digging into the advanced fielding metrics, and Hayes still has the advantage.
The 24-year-old Hayes led all major leaguers with 24 defensive runs saved — two more than anyone else. Arenado finished tied for fourth in the league with 19.
Hayes posted 19 outs above average — the most by any third baseman and the third most overall. Arenado? 15.
Arenado had a clear advantage in ultimate zone rating (13.0 to 6.3).
Looking at defense as a whole, Hayes had the edge in defensive WAR over his division counterpart. Hayes’ defensive WAR rating of 16.8 was tops for any third baseman and edged Arenado’s impressive mark of 15.3.
Looking at the numbers, Hayes is the frontrunner for the award in my eyes and deserves to hear is name called when the announcement is made.
Even with the edge in most categories, it could prove to be tough to steal the award away from the man who hasn’t had a big league season which didn’t end in a Gold Glove going on his mantle.
Hayes’ first time nomination should result in a gold patch on his glove.
Will it? Stay tuned.