A Boston Red Sox team that ranked as one of the American League’s best defensive teams is bound to have a few Gold Glove candidates.
With the 2016 regular season in the books, now is the time to dig through months worth of data to determine which players will be taking home some hardware for their accomplishments. Ballots for many of the season awards will be littered with the names of Boston Red Sox players, with worthy candidates lining up for both the MVP and Cy Young award.
Now it’s time to look at another award that recognizes one of the more neglected aspects of baseball – defense.
The Gold Glove is awarded to the top defensive player in the league at each position. In years past this accolade was often mistreated by voters that either didn’t know or didn’t care to properly evaluate elite defensive players. This is why guys like Derek Jeter continued to win the award based on reputation and how we ended up with the embarrassing result of naming Rafael Palmeiro the best defensive player at a position he hardly played that season. With a new wave of analytics providing us with more ways to evaluate defensive metrics, voters are getting smarter about their selections, allowing us to take the results more seriously.
A look at some of these metrics show that the Red Sox were one of the best defensive teams in the league this season. Boston was second in the league with 49 Defensive Runs Saved, third with a .695 Defensive Efficiency and fifth with 11 Total Zone fielding runs above average. It’s no surprise then to find the names of several Red Sox players among the Gold Glove candidates.