Red Sox: Ian Kinsler, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley win Gold Glove Awards

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 03: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox makes a diving catch during the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on April 3, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 03: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox makes a diving catch during the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on April 3, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox have three Gold Glove award winners – second baseman Ian Kinsler, as well as outfielder Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley.

A powerful offense and star-studded pitching staff receive the bulk of the credit but we can’t forget about the defense. The Boston Red Sox fielded a solid defensive team on their way to winning a World Series this season and a few of their players are being recognized for that glove work.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler, center fielder Jackie Bradley, and right fielder Mookie Betts have been named Gold Glove Award receipts at their respective positions.

First baseman Mitch Moreland and left fielder Andrew Benintendi were nominated but lost out to Oakland’s Matt Olson and Kansas City’s Alex Gordon. A disappointing result but a fair one.

This is the second time that Kinsler has won the award, having previously earned a Gold Glove in 2016 as a member of the Detroit Tigers. The veteran began this season with the Los Angeles Angels before getting shipped to Boston at the trade deadline. The Red Sox needed a reliable glove at second base with Dustin Pedroia lost for the season and Eduardo Nunez struggling to handle the position.

Kinsler led the league at his position with 10 defensive runs saved and a 9.7 UZR. He was involved in turning 89 double plays, second most among AL second baseman. Kinsler committed only nine errors this season for a strong .983 fielding percentage.

One costly error that stands out in the minds of Red Sox fans came in Game 3 of the World Series. A play that could have ended the game resulted in it being extended into an 18-inning marathon that eventually led to a loss. All is forgiven now that the championship has been secured but had Boston failed to win the series there would be a lot of fans scoffing at Kinsler winning this award. Which would be unfair considering Kinsler’s overall body of work was worthy of the nod.

His glove was ready for the big leagues long before his bat but Bradley was so good patrolling center field that the Red Sox couldn’t keep him in the minors. He’s been considered among the elite defensive outfielders in the game over the last six years and Bradley finally gets the recognition he deserves with his first Gold Glove.

Some defensive metrics haven’t been kind to Bradley, who rates below average with -2 defensive runs saved. Other data sources point to him being elite in the field, such as his 7.4 UZR that leads the league at his position. He also tied for the lead with nine assists from center field.

Bradley is the type of player who you have to watch on a regular basis to truly appreciate his talent. He’s capable of making breathtaking plays that land him in the highlight reels but he usually doesn’t need to. He reads the ball off the bat so well to get a jump on his route, ensuring he’s able to coast into the proper position in plenty of time to make difficult plays appear routine. The numbers have never done Bradley justice but more eyes were on the Red Sox this year as they charged toward a franchise record 108 wins, enabling others to see what we’ve seen for years.

The biggest lock on the ballot was Betts, who wins the Gold Glove in right field for the third consecutive season.

His 20 defensive runs saved were by far the most at his position, as was his 15.3 UZR. Those metrics aren’t quite at the off-the-charts levels we saw from Betts the last two seasons but they were enough to lead the league by a comfortable margin.

While his four outfield assists also represent a noticeable decline, we can chalk that up to the league having learned their lesson about trying to run on the arm of Betts.

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Betts has another Gold Glove for his mantle but has his eyes on adding more hardware. A Sliver Slugger should be coming his way and an MVP may not be far behind.