The World Series is still ongoing so it’s not quite awards season, but Rawlings is taking advantage of the slow news day in baseball-dom today to announce Gold Glove finalists. As it turns out, the Braves have two such humans still in the running to receive this particular fielding award: second baseman Ozzie Albies and third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Albies finished second in DRS (+8) and fifth in UZR (+2.2) among NL second basemen this season. Averaging the two puts him squarely second behind Kolten Wong, who would be primed to win the hardware if Gold Glove awards made sense (they don’t). If Wong doesn’t come away with it, then Albies should be the clear choice for whatever reason.
Donaldson’s defensive metrics were a bit of a mixed bag, owing to the long-documented tension (you can call it weirdness) between UZR and the Braves’ infield defense this year. Donaldson paced the competition in DRS (+15, next closest four players all had +8) but fared poorly by UZR (+2.4, seventh in the NL). He’s definitely deserving of being a finalist, though it’ll be interesting to see if he can overcome Arenado in the end, as the latter has a massive edge in UZR over pretty much everyone. I’m not too sure why Anthony Rendon was even nominated (+2 DRS, +2 UZR); surely they could have given a shoutout to Evan Longoria, Eduardo Escobar, or Manny Machado instead.
As far as Braves not getting nods, that’s pretty much everyone else. Most didn’t have much of a case — you could argue that Freddie Freeman, who took home the NL first base hardware last year, could have been nominated on the back of his DRS (+5, third in NL), but his UZR was horrible (-4.5, second-worst in NL). Ender Inciarte, another 2018 winner, missed far too much time in 2019 to warrant consideration. And for our collective sanity, let’s not even revisit the fact that Nick Markakis somehow won a Gold Glove last year. Rounding out the rest of the roster, the likes of Ronald Acuña Jr., Dansby Swanson, and Matt Joyce just didn’t field well enough to warrant too much consideration this year, especially compared to the competition. Tyler Flowers kept up his good framing but struggled elsewhere. Max Fried and Dallas Keuchel actually had really high DRS marks as far as pitchers go (first and second in the NL; Mike Soroka was sixth and Julio Teheran was 12th), but it’s hard to say anything about them being snubbed or not snubbed because pitcher fielding is a fairly foreign frontier at this point.