Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts has been awarded with his fourth consecutive Gold Glove for being the best defensive player at his position.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts remains the best defensive player at his position and he has the hardware to prove it.
Rawlings Sports revealed the winners of the 2019 Gold Glove Awards live on ESPN 2 on Sunday night. Betts was one of four Red Sox players nominated for the award but the only one of them to win.
All three Red Sox outfielders were finalists at their respective positions but Andrew Benintendi fell short to Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals in left field and Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier beat out Jackie Bradley Jr. Christian Vazquez received his first career nomination but Roberto Perez of the Cleveland Indians took home the Gold Glove at the catcher position.
This marks the fourth consecutive season in which Betts has won the award, although it was hardly his best performance. He was second in the league at his position with 15 defensive runs saved, a category he once dominated.
Betts had defensive metrics that were off the charts when he first captured the award in 2016. He produced a staggering 32 defensive runs saved that season and followed with 31 in 2017. He dropped to 20 DRS last year, still enough to lead the league but no longer light years ahead of his competition. Now he’s fallen from his perch at the top of the leader boards, trailing New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (19 DRS) in that category.
While Betts has steadily regressed by this metric, he’s still among the elite and dominates many other defensive categories. He committed only one error this season and produced a .996 fielding percentage.
Betts was second in the league at his position with nine outfield assists and first with five Outfield Arm Runs Above Average. That’s impressive considering most teams have learned by now not to test his arm. Betts possesses a cannon that he fires with deadly accuracy.
One of his highlights from this season was a throw that Betts called the best of his career. He seemed to have surprised himself with a throw he wasn’t sure he could make but his laser from deep right field made it to third base just in time to gun down the runner.
Honestly, they could have handed Betts the Gold Glove immediately after he made that play in September down in Tampa Bay. The throw was that incredible.
With his fourth career Gold Glove, Betts has tied Fred Lynn and Dustin Pedroia for the third most in franchise history. Only Dwight Evans (8) and Carl Yastrzemski (7) have more. Betts joins Evans as the only Red Sox players to win the award in four consecutive seasons.
While it’s unclear if voters for these awards factor in home ballparks, Betts deserves some extra credit for patrolling the notoriously difficult dimensions of Fenway Park’s right field. Fenway has more ground to cover than most major league right fields and the unique dimensions can turn any ball that rolls into the corner into an adventure.
Betts is a five-tool player who contributes in a variety of ways but his defense is an underrated aspect of what earned him the 2018 MVP. His offensive numbers took a slight dip this season but he was still fourth among AL position players with 6.8 WAR, in part because of how dominant he is in the field.
The 27-year old continues to pile up the accolades and the Gold Glove Award is one we should expect him to earn more of in the future.