The Phillies were one of the most improved teams defensively in 2019 — and it’s no secret that JT Realmuto, Bryce Harper, and Aaron Nola are a big part of said improvement. Thus, they have each been nominated for respective Rawlings Gold Glove Awards!
JT Realmuto was, bar none, the Phillies heftiest defensive upgrade. His unequalled prowess behind the plate combined with a solid bat accumulated him 4.4 bWAR on the year. He caught an insane 47% of would-be base-stealers this year, and is consistently dubbed the ‘Best Catcher in Baseball’ all across the sport. He’s a shoe-in for the Gold Glove, but is pinned against some excellent company in Cardinals’ Yadier Molina and Padres’ Austin Hedges.
Bryce Harper, on the other hand, turned in one of the biggest defensive comebacks of the year. Last year, Harper was tagged with -16 defensive runs saved, and had a flat zero outfield assists. This year, however, he bounced back in a massive way — putting up 9 total defensive runs saved with a whopping 13 outfield assists. He had an absolutely outstanding year in the field, but will have a tough time beating out Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and Cardinals’ Jason Heyward for the award.
Lastly, there’s Aaron Nola, who’s will duke it out with Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty, and (then) Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke for the Gold Glove. It’s easy to forget that Noles is so well versed in the defensive end of pitching, but his 1.000 fielding percentage illustrates just how overlooked his time in the field was this past year. He also has an inherent ability to catch runners leaning, though he may only have 2 pickoffs to show for it.
The middle infield could use some work, but these three guys were huge contributors to the Phillies’ improved defense in 2019 — and they’ll only get better.
Here’s hoping they all walk away from their excellent years with a gilded glove to celebrate!