Lane Thomas finished the 2023 campaign, “ranked second in Major League Baseball with a career-high 18 outfield assists, the second-most in a season in [Nationals’] history,” as noted in Washington’s Season in Review for ‘23.
Thomas, 28, played in a career-high 156 games, putting up career highs in doubles (36), homers (28), and stolen bases (20), and finishing the year with a .268/.315/.468 line over 682 plate appearances.
He picked up 16 of his 18 outfield assists in right field, the most by an NL right fielder, and the Nationals’ outfielder finished the year with a .985 fld% in right field.
Thomas was recognized for his work on the defensive end of things last night when he was listed as a finalist for the 2023 NL Gold Glove in right field, along with Mookie Betts (LAD), and Fernando Tatis, Jr. (SD).
The Nats’ right fielder finished the year at 0 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), far behind Tatis, Jr. (29), who led all NL right fielders.
“[Thomas has] really improved in a tough right field for us throughout the season,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies in late July of this past season.
“You can see him improving with his angles and routes and that type of thing,” Rizzo added, “... and he’s going back on the ball much better than he did early in his career.”
His manager appreciated the improvements Thomas made in right too, telling reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, the right fielder finally feels like he belongs out there.
“He really feels like he’s an everyday right fielder, and I saw that this year every time he stepped on the field,” Martinez said.
The baseball world recognized his efforts as well, and now he’s a finalist for a Gold Glove in right.
“To determine the winners of the 18 defensive position Awards,” Rawlings noted in a post on this year’s finalists, “... each team’s manager and up to six coaches on his staff vote from a pool of qualified players in their League and cannot vote for players from their own team.”:
“In 2013, Rawlings added the SABR Defensive Index™ (SDI) to the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process, which comprises approximately 25 percent of the overall selection total, with the managers’ and coaches’ votes continuing to carry the majority.
“To identify the utility Award winners, Rawlings collaborated with SABR to create a specialized defensive formula separate from the traditional selection process for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award position winners. Utilizing the SABR formula and additional defensive statistics, Rawlings will select one utility winner from each League.”