What are the chances the Astros come away with some Gold Glove hardware after the season?
The three finalists for the Gold Glove Award at each position were announced on Thursday, and several Astros are on the list. Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Josh Reddick are named as American League finalists, with Zack Greinke being a finalist in the National League.
All five of these players have built strong defensive reputations, with three of them (Altuve, Reddick and Greinke) having already won the award. Gurriel and Bregman’s inclusion on the list shows the strides they have each made defensively.
But what are the chances of any of them coming out on top? Here’s a look at each of their chances. The stats below are courtesy of FanGraphs.
Yuli Gurriel – 1B
Gurriel’s defensive improvement has been noticeable, as he’s turned into an asset at the position. His competition is Oakland’s Matt Olson and Toronto’s Justin Smoak. Olson is the reigning winner at the position.
Among the 11 AL players to play 700 or more innings at the position, Gurriel finished with the fewest errors (3) and the highest fielding percentage (.996). The advanced metrics, however, tell a slightly different picture.
Gurriel finished tied for third in Defensive Runs Saved and alone in third place in Ultimate Zone Rating among those 11 players. The leader in both of those categories was Olson, and it wasn’t close. This all points to Olson repeating as the Gold Glove winner.
Jose Altuve – 2B
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Altuve won the Gold Glove in 2015 and has long been a solid defender there. He committed 11 errors on the season for a .972 fielding percentage. Among the 10 players with 700 or more innings at the position, he finished seventh and ninth in those categories, respectively.
In advanced metrics, he finished fourth in DRS and 10th in UZR among those 10 players. So the numbers really don’t back up the assertion that Altuve should be a finalist for the Gold Glove.
Chicago’s Yolmer Sanchez led the league in both DRS and UZR at the position. The third finalist, New York’s DJ LeMahieu, spent a good portion of the season being moved around the diamond, so his numbers are a bit skewed. I’d expect Sanchez to come away with the award.
Alex Bregman – 3B
Bregman has long been viewed as a solid defender by Astros fans, so it’s about time he gets added to the list of finalists. Unfortunately for him, he’s going up against Oakland’s defensive whiz Matt Chapman, so his chances are slim.
Among the 12 players with 700 innings at the position, Bregman finished fourth in fielding percentage and tied for second in fewest errors. He was second in DRS and 7th in UZR, so he’s certainly deserving of being a finalist.
But Chapman led the advanced metrics categories by a wide margin, and he’s easily one of the top five defensive players in the game regardless of position. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win his second straight Gold Glove.
Josh Reddick – RF
The three finalists in right field — Reddick, Boston’s Mookie Betts and LA’s Kole Calhoun — were also top three in the league in innings played at the position, so we can cut down our comparison to just these three.
Reddick was second in errors and tied for second in fielding percentage. He finished second in DRS and third in UZR, but Betts was the leader in all of these categories. Aaron Judge actually led the league in DRS and finished second in UZR at the position, but missed significant time with injury.
Reddick won his previous Gold Glove in 2012, and while he’s put up another solid season in the field, Betts should be the runaway winner and get his fourth straight award.
Zack Greinke – P (NL)
Greinke has won five straight Gold Glove Awards and is looking for his sixth. He was nominated for the NL award as he spent the majority of the season with the Diamondbacks prior to his trade to the Astros.
Among the three finalists (the others being St. Louis’ Jack Flaherty and Philly’s Aaron Nola), Greinke was second in DRS. He had the most putouts despite playing significantly fewer innings, but he was also the only one to record an error this season.
The fact that he was named a finalist is a testament to how good he is, but I would expect one of the other finalists to come away with the trophy. The AL competition should look out for next year, though, because I’d expect Greinke to be in the mix.