Red Sox have Gold Glove Award finalists at four positions

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 05: Mookie Betts
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 05: Mookie Betts /
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ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 21: Chris Sale (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 21: Chris Sale (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /


If strikeouts counted toward playing great defense then Chris Sale would run away with the Gold Glove for pitchers. After all, what better defense is there than to avoid having the ball put in play?

Sale led the majors with 308 strikeouts and may have broken Pedro Martinez‘ single-season franchise record if the Red Sox hadn’t skipped his final regular season start. When Sale is on the mound the Red Sox position players almost don’t need to bother bringing their gloves with them on the field.

Red Sox fans never tire of watching Sale punch out opposing batters but voters aren’t likely to take that attribute into consideration when handing out Gold Gloves.

Pitchers have far fewer opportunities to show off their defensive skills than position players do. Not only because starters only play once every five games but a come-backer to the mound is less common than a ground ball to the shortstop or a fly ball to center. Occasionally you’ll see a pitcher make a great stab on a ball heading straight for them, mostly out of self defense. Generally a pitcher is primarily tasked with covering first base on a ground ball to the right side.

Tampa Bay Rays starter Alex Cobb led the nominated trio with 6 DRS, while Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman had 5 DRS. Sale’s 2 DRS was a solid mark but still well behind the competition.

Stroman led AL pitchers with 37 assists and 9 double plays turned. He was solid in covering first base with 9 putouts and only committed one error. Cobb led the nominated candidates at the position with 15 putouts and his 26 assists were fourth in the league among pitchers. He also made three errors, giving him the lowest fielding percentage in this group.

Next: Five Red Sox questions for 2018

Sale didn’t commit an error this season but was well behind in the other categories. That’s what happens when you don’t allow the ball to be put in play. Sale’s penchant for strikeouts may actually work against him in this race.

Predicted Winner: Stroman