With three players of this exceptional Red Sox side winning a Gold Glove award, there was another player who was unfortunate not to capture another one.
The 2018 Boston Red Sox season was one for the ages, leaving very little to complain about. Capturing their ninth World Series title, the Sox were well and above everyone else in the MLB. With a team as good as Boston, it isn’t unusual to expect a handful of personal awards to go along with the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy. But there was plenty of individual talent on show in the league this year.
Mookie Betts, Ian Kinsler, and Jackie Bradley Jr. – who, at last, captured one – were the Gold Glove Award winners for the Red Sox. All locks, really, as Kinsler was solid at second base and Betts and JBJ shone in an outfield alongside Andrew Benintendi.
Their young left field counterpart, however, was unlucky to miss out. He was on a talented shortlist alongside Brett Gardner of the Yankees and Alex Gordon of the Royals. The latter of those went on to claim the award. Benintendi was solid in 2018, on offense and defense. Playing alongside two of the best defenders in the game, perhaps, takes the spotlight off of what Benny does, but the three of them together form the best outfield in baseball.
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Benintendi did all that was asked of him this year in left field. His two best plays, however, came in the postseason. These consisted of a leaping, over the shoulder, catch on a hit from Brian Dozier in Game Two of the World Series and the unforgettable diving catch on what looked like a Game Four winning shot from Alex Bregman in the ALCS.
When looking back on this terrific year, Benintendi’s defensive commodities will be remembered by what he did in the postseason. But, he did have a more than satisfactory regular season defensively, leading all major league left fielders in assists with 11. He also turned in higher Rtot, Rtz and Rof ratings than his competitors, with 14,10 and 5, respectively.
Benintendi showed all season long that he’s a player capable of developing all of the tools to a high level, much like his teammate Mookie Betts has mastered, already. His cannon of an arm, which is able to make plays from left field and his catching ability, which keeps on getting better, are some of his underrated talents – in contrast to his swing and hitting ability.
The Gold Gloves are regular season awards when it’s all said and done. Out of the three on the shortlist, anybody could’ve come away with it and all three were worthy contenders. If you look at the shortlists for all Gold Glove awards, all deserve to be there and a handful of positions are toss-ups. Mitch Moreland is another Sox player who had a productive year at first base. He went up against Justin Smoak of the Blue Jays and Matt Olson of the A’s, who won it. Any of them would’ve been worthy winners, so you can’t really argue.
Three winners out of five nominees is a great haul. You can’t win them all. Moreland won one back in 2016 and Benintendi has years ahead of him, which will see him claim a few, as long as he keeps his defense up and keeps on improving, as he has so far. This Sox team will go down amongst the greatest in Boston history. It’s a real team with so many great individuals. You can’t get a better year, in all honesty, and the World Series title cements this group in Red Sox folk law.