Dallas Keuchel Should Win the Gold Glove Award
One of the pleasant surprises for the Houston Astros last season was the emergence of Dallas Keuchel. A year after posting a 6-10 record with a 5.15 ERA and a 1.536 WHiP, Keuchel developed into a solid front of the rotation starter for the Astros, turning in a 12-9 record with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.175 WHiP. That improvement has made Keuchel an interesting player to watch for next season.
Yet, one of the more underrated aspects of Keuchel’s development last season was on the defensive side, perhaps because unless one happens to be Jim Kaat, Greg Maddux or Mark Buehrle, one does not typically think of a pitcher as a defensive dynamo. Yet, that is exactly what Keuchel was last season, as he led all pitchers in baseball with 10 defensive runs saved. Keuchel also led the American League in range factor and assists, while ranking fourth in putouts.
Needless to say, that made Dallas Keuchel a defensive weapon on the mound. Instead of flailing about when a ball comes near him, like A.J. Burnett, Keuchel has been able to make play after play on any balls hit near him. It is truly a joy to watch.
Call to the Pen
Based on the competition he is facing, Keuchel should run away with the Gold Glove. Felix Hernandez was actually worth a -2 defensive runs saved, and Keuchel more than doubled his range factor. Buehrle, while he was better than Hernandez, was not close to the defensive presence on the mound that Keuchel was, being worth two defensive runs saved.
Unfortunately, the area in which Dallas Keuchel truly dominates his competition, those defensive metric, only accounts for 25% of the vote. The remaining 75% is made up of votes from managers and coaches, who may just be influenced by the name of the player on the ballot, or their defensive reputation. In that aspect, Keuchel would be a distant third behind Buehrle and Hernandez.
In this case, reputation or name should not matter. Dallas Keuchel was vastly superior to his competition defensively, and neither of the other candidates were even close. The Gold Glove award for pitching should go to Kuechel, and hopefully the voters realize this.
The Houston Astros have never had a pitcher win a Gold Glove Award. Dallas Keuchel deserves to be the first.