Mitch Moreland won the award in 2016 when he was with the Texas Rangers and has a solid chance to repeat as a Gold Glove winner.
Part of what makes Moreland so good is his awareness on the field and his fearlessness to track down a pop-up anywhere near his territory.
This should be a tight race between Moreland and Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana, both of whom tied for the league lead at their position with 10 defensive runs saved. They each committed five errors and had nearly identical fielding percentages.
Santana’s 4.8 UZR gives him a slight edge over Moreland (4.0), yet Moreland has an advantage with 2.4 Range Runs (RngR). Santana led the league among first baseman with 0.6 double play runs (DPR), while Moreland was below average in that category.
Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer‘s inclusion on the ballot must be out of force of habit. The three-time Gold Glove winner is a great defensive player who happens to have had a poor season in the field. His -7 defensive runs saved put him near the bottom of the league and he posted a below-average -0.3 UZR. He only committed four errors, giving him the best fielding percentage among this trio at .997, yet Hosmer wasn’t close in any of the advanced metrics. If he wins the award it will be based on reputation or voters clinging to the old-school approach who refuse to accept modern metrics.
Moreland’s defensive stats are close enough to Santana’s that his superior track record may carry him to the award, but Santana probably deserves it more based on this year’s production by a narrow margin.
Predicted Winner: Santana