The Boston Red Sox have finalists for the 2019 American League Gold Glove Award at catcher and all three outfield positions.
The Boston Red Sox are loaded with defensive talent with nearly half their starting alignment in the running for a Gold Glove.
Rawlings Sports revealed the three finalists at each position for the 2019 Gold Glove Awards, which includes a trio of Red Sox outfielders plus their starting catcher.
Christian Vazquez had a breakout year at the plate but it’s his work behind the dish that may earn him some hardware. He committed only one error in 119 games for a near-perfect .999 fielding percentage. Vazquez was sixth among AL catchers with 5 defensive runs saved and led the league at his position with 71 assists.
Few catchers possess the cannon of an arm that Vazquez uses to gun down opponents who dare try to swipe a bag. He threw out 38% of opposing base stealers, the second-highest percentage in the league (minimum 90 games).
Vazquez is looking to take home his first career Gold Glove in his first season nominated as a finalist.
Andrew Benintendi is a finalist in left field for a second consecutive season. Some of the advanced metrics frown on Benny’s defensive performance. He was below-average with -3 defensive runs saved and had a middling 1.4 UZR.
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Benintendi tied for third in the league at his position with 7 outfield assists, although that was aided by playing in Fenway’s shallow left field. He committed only two errors for a strong .989 fielding percentage.
We saw Benitnendi make the catch of the year to seal Game 4 of last year’s ALCS against the Houston Astros. Perhaps that memory will remain fresh in the minds of voters. Red Sox fans are well aware of what he provides with his glove even if the numbers don’t always show it.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is another outfielder whose advanced metrics don’t match the eye test. His -1 defensive runs saved is below-average yet a slight improvement over last year (-2 DRS) when he took home the Gold Glove.
JBJ has a knack for making highlight-worthy plays in the outfield. He gets an incredible jump on his routes to put him in a position to make most plays look easy but he’s more than capable of making an acrobatic leap or diving catch when necessary. He has one of the game’s strongest outfield arms and led AL center fielders with 10 assists.
You probably guessed that the last finalist was Mookie Betts. The three-time Gold Glove winner was a virtual lock to make the list again.
While his metrics weren’t as otherworldly as we’ve seen in the past, Betts still led his position with 12.9 UZR and he ranked second with 15 DRS.
Betts has a strong arm with remarkable accuracy. These traits were on display in Tampa Bay last month when he made arguably the greatest throw of his career to nail a runner at third base. He was second in the league at his position and tied with JBJ for third among outfielders with 10 assists but that figure would be much higher if not for opponents learning to be cautious of running on Betts.
The Red Sox have the best defensive outfield in baseball and an elite catcher behind the plate. Rumors have swirled that the Red Sox may consider trading players to reduce payroll but they should think twice about dealing these Gold Glove candidates. Given how poorly their pitching staff performed this year, the Red Sox need all the defensive help they can get.