Believe it or not, just because someone shows up on ESPN highlights more than other players, does not mean they are the best defender at their position (aka Yasiel Puig). Here are your current Gold Glove front-runners at each position:
First, the American League:
Catcher- Matt Wieters
The reigning Gold Glove winner is on pace to win it again. He leads the AL in runners caught stealing and has only allowed 5 passed balls.
1st base- Justin Morneau
With Teixeira hurt and Adrian Gonzalez now in the NL, Morneau, who has always been a solid defender has a chance to win his first Gold Glove. Currently has the best fielding percentage and highest “ranger factor”.
2nd base- Brian Dozier
The popular pick here has been either Cano or Pedroia for years now. However, this year, youngster Brian Dozier has really come on strong as a phenomenal defender. He has posted the best fielding percentage, while acclimating the most chances out of all 2nd basemen even though he has played the 6th most innings.
3rd base- Manny Machado
Sorry Longoria, as long as this kid is playing 3rd base, it’s not even a competition. Machado has been unreal.
Shortstop- Stephen Drew/Yunel Escobar
With Hardy having a down year, this is really a wide-open competition. Both guys have a very good fielding percentage and a legitimate shot.
Left Field- Alex Gordon
Unless Gordon does something to lose this race, I don’t see anyone who will keep him from earning his 3rd straight Gold Glove. He is as solid as they come in LF. (Sorry, Michael Brantley)
Center Field- Aaron Hicks
There is an argument to be made for a couple different CF, but Hicks to me, deserves it the most. Not only has he played error free CF, but he leads all CF with 9 Assists.
Right Field- Nick Markakis
Hard to argue against the most innings, second most total chances, no errors and 7 assists. This is Markakis’ award to lose.
Now for the National League:
Catcher- Yadier Molina
Molina has won this award 5 years in a row and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t again. Although, Molina is injured right now and A.J Ellis has put up some pretty gaudy defensive numbers. That is something to keep an eye on if Molina takes a while to come back.
1st base- Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt has not become a superstar only with his offense; he is an extremely talented defender as well. He has the fewest errors out of 1st basemen to play more than 100 games and has the highest range factor at 9.62.
2nd base- Darwin Barney
Barney won this award last year and I don’t see why he shouldn’t this year. Hey, at least the Cubs won something.
3rd base- Chase Headley/Todd Frazier
This is tough to call, just depends on which players you watch more, I guess. Both are very solid on routine plays and can make the magnificent play as well. Flip a coin.
Shortstop- Andrelton Simmons
This isn’t even close. There is a reason Simmons has the biggest range factor in the league; he gets to everything and has a cannon once he does. Pete Kozma has been solid, but lacks the big play ability of Simmons in a big way.
Left Field- Carlos Gonzalez
Cargo, the reigning Gold Glover has by far the most assists and trails only Matt Holiday in fielding percentage….even Die Hard Cardinals fans would tell you not to read into that too much.
Center Field- Carlos Gomez
While the Brewers have been really bad, Gomez has been really good. I still think that sometimes he takes questionable routes that force him into tough catches, but he still deserves this award.
Right Field- Jay Bruce
With Jason Heyward missing a lot of time this year, Bruce has a chance to win this award. For a big guy, Bruce gets to a lot of balls, makes very few questionable decisions, and throws out a fair share of base runners.
**Range Factor= Total number of outs participated in; divide putouts and assists by number of innings or games played at a position.
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