After a stellar defensive season, the Boston Red Sox have five players as Gold Glove Award Finalists. Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts are all in the running for the award.
Earlier today, Rawlings Sports announced the finalists for the Gold Glove Awards. Out of the nine possible positions, the Boston Red Sox have five finalists.
Betts has won the award the past two years, Bradley was a finalist in 2016 and plays stellar defense year-after-year and Moreland was a finalist last season after winning the award in 2016. These three are not surprising finalists.
Benintendi is fairly well-known around the league for his defense, but he’s made a name for himself largely based on his Fred Lynn-esque swing. And while Kinsler has been a finalist five times, including a win in 2016, it is a modest surprise to see him on the list this year, after being traded mid-season and only being a platoon player once coming to Boston.
Out of this group of five Red Sox, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they came away with three or more winners.
Betts looks poised to win his third straight award. The other finalists in right field are Kole Calhoun of the Los Angeles Angels and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees. Calhoun was the last right fielder to win the award before Betts, but since Betts has emerged as one of the top players in the game, he has also been recognized as perhaps the best defensive right fielder in all of baseball. Even just by looking at his surface-level stats, his .996 fielding percentage this season easily beats out Calhoun’s .983 and Judge’s .984. We should expect the Gold Glove to be one of the many accolades Betts will accrue this offseason.
While his stats don’t always show it, Bradley is likely the best defensive center fielder in the American League. But while Betts will have to face down Mike Trout for MVP honors, Bradley will have to face him and Adam Engel of the Chicago White Sox for the Gold Glove award. Every year, Red Sox fans think it is Bradley’s year to finally win a Gold Glove. We see him make impossible plays and incredible throws – he was tied for fourth in the AL in outfield assists. With the extra recognition in these playoffs, this could finally be his year.
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Benintendi completes the trifecta of Red Sox outfielders as Gold Glove finalists. Up against Brett Garder of the Yankees and Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals, Benintendi could be a surprise winner. While Bradley was fourth in the AL in assists, Benintendi was tied for first in all of baseball with 12. He has shown off his defensive skills over and over during these playoffs, but it hasn’t been a fluke. He’s played great defense all season long.
As I previously mentioned, Kinsler was the biggest surprise finalist for me. He’s up against Jed Lowrie of the Oakland A’s and Rougned Odor of the Texas Rangers. Lowrie is in the midst of a two-year renaissance with Oakland – he has played full seasons two years in a row. As a player who has battled injuries his entire 11-year career, that is a big deal. It would be a fairly big shock to see Kinsler take the award from him or Odor.
Moreland’s competition for the award is Matt Olson of the A’s and Justin Smoak of the Toronto Blue Jays. It will be difficult for him to get full consideration based on lack of playing alone. He battled injuries and a platoon all season long, while the others played full seasons. Either one of them could – and probably will – edge out Moreland for the award.
Finally, it is difficult to complain when there are this many finalists from one team, but the only potential snub from the Red Sox is Xander Bogaerts at shortstop. He was a finalist in 2015 but didn’t win the award. But with players such as Francisco Lindor, Andrelton Simmons, and Marcus Semien being this year’s finalists, it is totally understandable why Bogaerts was left off the list.
Even though these five Red Sox have been honored as Gold Glove finalists, it is probably low on the list of important matters on their minds. The winners will not be announced until November 4, so until then it would be easy to assume that winning two more games against the Los Angeles Dodgers will take precedence in their minds. But when it is all said and done, it would not come as a surprise to see the three Red Sox outfielders sporting shiny new Gold Gloves come 2019.