Rawlings announced the finalists for the 2023 AL/NL Gold Glove Awards this afternoon and four Phillies have been honored. Zack Wheeler, Taijuan Walker, JT Realmuto and Bryson Stott have all been named as the top defensive players at their respective positions for the season.
Rawlings has published an extended guide on Gold Glove selection criteria (find it here), but in short: Qualified players are judged based on overall fielding excellence, not just basic statistics such as errors, runners caught stealing, and putouts. Ultimately, each team gets 7 votes (one each for the manager and six coaches). Votes cannot be cast for their own players and can only be cast for players in their League.
While any number of objective factors are taken into consideration by each person casting a vote, an objective measurement is also factored into the final results. SABR Defensive Index (SDI - find it here) measures the number of runs saved by a player’s defensive performance over the course of the season, compared to the average defensive player at that position. The higher the number, the better the fielder.
Zack Wheeler — 2.1 SDI; 192 IP; 1 E (.969); 4/7 CS (57.1%)
Taijuan Walker — 2.3 SDI; 172.2 IP; 0 E (1.000); 7/19 CS (36.8%)
Jesus Luzardo (MIA) — 2.7 SDI; 178.2 IP; 3 E (.903); 4/15 CS (26.7%)
For the first time since 2013, a player not named Max Fried or Zack Greinke will win the NL Gold Glove Award. With two finalists in the category, this is statistically the Phillies’ best chance at a win. Only two Phillies pitchers have ever won a Gold Glove — Steve Carlton (1981) and Jim Kaat (1976-77).
Patrick Bailey (SF) — 10.1 SDI; 94 G; 13 E (.984); 25/88 CS (28.4%)
Gabriel Moreno (AZ) — 6.1 SDI; 104 G; 3 E (.997); 22/57 CS (38.6%)
JT Realmuto — -1.2 SDI; 133 G; 2 E (.998); 23/104 CS (22.1%)
Despite being a two-time Gold Glove winner in 2019 and 2022, it’s odd that Realmuto is even in this conversation, let alone a finalist. Perhaps his reputation as the “Best Catcher In Baseball” had a significant impact on the biased voting by managers and coaches.
Ha-Seong Kim (SD) — 8.3 SDI; 106 G; 4 E (.991)
Nico Hoerner (CHI C) — 5.7 SDI; 135 G; 7 E (.988)
Bryson Stott — 6.4 SDI; 149 G; 5 E (.992)
This is a well-earned honor for Stott, who made the permanent move to second base this season after primarily playing shortstop in 2022. Even if he doesn’t win it this year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him as a perennial finalist moving forward.
The Rest of the Finalists
AL Pitcher — Jose Berrios (TOR), Pablo Lopez (MIN), Sonny Gray (MIN)
AL Catcher — Adley Rutschman (BAL), Jonah Heim (TEX), Alejandro Kirk (TOR)
AL First Base — Anthony Rizzo (NYY), Nathaniel Lowe (TEX), Ryan Mountcastle (BAL)
AL Second Base — Mauricio Dubon (HOU), Marcus Semien (TEX), Andres Gimenez (CLE)
AL Third Base — Matt Chapman (TOR), Jose Ramirez (CLE), Alex Bregman (HOU)
AL Shortstop — Anthony Volpe (NYY), Corey Seager (TEX), Carlos Correa (MIN)
AL Left Field — Austin Hays (BAL), Daulton Varsho (TOR), Steven Kwan (CLE)
AL Center Field — Julio Rodriguez (SEA), Kevin Kiermaier (TOR), Luis Robert Jr (CHI W)
AL Right Field — Kyle Tucker (HOU), Adolis Garcia (TEX), Alex Verdugo (BOS)
AL Utility — Mauricio Dubon (HOU), Zach McKinstry (DET), Taylor Walls (TB)
NL First Base — Carlos Santana (MIL), Freddie Freeman (LAD), Christian Walker (AZ)
NL Third Base — Austin Riley (ATL), Ryan McMahon (COL), Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT)
NL Shortstop — Francisco Lindor (NYM), Dansby Swanson (CHI C), Ezequiel Tovar (COL)
NL Left Field — Ian Happ (CHI C), David Peralta (LAD), Eddie Rosario (ATL)
NL Center Field — Brenton Doyle (COL), Michael Harris II (ATL), Alek Thomas (AZ)
NL Right Field — Mookie Betts (LAD), Fernando Tatis Jr (SD), Lane Thomas (WAS)
NL Utility — Mookie Betts (LAD), Tommy Edman (STL), Ha-Seong Kim (SD)
Which of the four finalists has the best chance at winning a Gold Glove this year? Will there be more than one win? Is there anyone (Phillies or not) who got snubbed?