Nolan Arenado, who’d won the NL Gold Glove at third base in each of his first five seasons in the big leagues (2013-17), took the award home again last night, winning a sixth straight trophy.
Washington Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Travis Shaw were the other finalists for the Gold Glove this time around.
Rendon finished the 2018 campaign with a .981 fld% (good for 1st among qualified NL third basemen), with Arenado at .967, and Shaw at .958.
Rendon committed the fewest errors among qualified NL third basemen, with (6) on the season as compared to Arenado’s 14, and Shaw’s 10.
Rendon also had the highest Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) among the three finalists, at 5.9 to Arenado’s 5.8, and Shaw’s 2.2.
Rendon’s -6 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) were, however, the lowest among the three NL Gold Glove finalists with Arenado at +5 DRS and Shaw at +9.
Rawlings, who sponsor the awards, made the announcement on Sunday night on an ESPN special, naming Arenado the winner for the sixth consecutive season.
Winners are voted on by MLB managers (who cannot vote for their own players) and major league coaches, with, “the SABR Defensive Index (SDI) accounting for approximately 25% of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process.”
If you’re not familiar with the SDI, here’s an explanation for how they arrive at the numbers:
“The SABR Defensive Index draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts. The three metrics representing batted ball data include Defensive Runs Saved from Baseball Info Solutions, Ultimate Zone Rating developed by noted sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman, and Runs Effectively Defended based on STATS Zone Rating and built by SABR Defensive Committee member Chris Dial. The two metrics included in the SDI originating from play-by-play data are Defensive Regression Analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and Total Zone Rating.”
The SDI numbers for the finalists for the NL Gold Glove at third?: Shaw - 6.0 SDI; Arenado - 5.0; Rendon - 1.1.
Rendon talked to reporters last winter about wanting to win a Gold Glove award some day, after he was nominated but didn’t win for the second straight season.
“You always want to win an accolade,” Rendon said, “especially if it’s pertaining to defense, because defense definitely gets overlooked these days, with everyone hitting homers and whatnot, and striking out, but I always tell y’all, the personal accolades will come when we win more.”