November 6, 2018
The World Series champion Boston Red Sox and the National League East champion Atlanta Braves received the most number of Gold Glove Awards this year, with three each. Among the Red Sox, Ian Kinsler (traded by the Angels in mid-season) was chosen for the American League second base position, Jackie Bradley Jr. was chosen for center field, and Mookie Betts was chosen for right field. On the National League side, the Braves' first baseman Freddie Freeman, center fielder Ender Inciarte, and right fielder Nick Markakis (a former Oriole) were chosen.
Just like last year, none of the Nationals won a Gold Glove: they were "shut out" once again. This seems odd, given that the Nationals truly excelled on defense this year, in contrast to their rather mediocre batting. Of all major league teams, the Washington Nationals had the second-lowest number of errors (64) during the 2018 regular season; the Houston Astros led with just 63. Those two teams tied for the MLB lead in fielding percentage (.989), with the Diamondbacks and Rockies close behind.
The only Nationals player chosen as a National League Gold Glove finalist was at the third base position: Anthony Rendon, who had a superb .981 fielding percentage and just 6 errors. Nevertheless, he was merely the runner-up to Nolan Arenado (.967 FPCT, 14 E), of the Colorado Rockies. That seems odd. Even stranger, according to MLB.com, "Of all the Gold Glove Award winners, Arenado is probably the least surprising..." It's the sixth year in a row that Arenado has won the Gold Glove; apparently the voting follows some kind of implicit "incumbency" preference. Or perhaps the number of games counts: Rendon was on the DL for a few weeks, and played 136 games, whereas Arenado played 156. Shortstop Trea Turner played in every one of the Nats' 162 games this year, and right fielder Bryce Harper played in all but three of them. And speaking of giving recognition where it's due, I should have posted this photo a year ago:
For the sake of posterity (and memory, perhaps), here is what a Gold Glove Award looks like:
In related news, Max Scherzer was named as a finalist for the National League Cy Young Award, which he won the last two years, but is expected to go to Jacob deGrom of the Mets. Also, Juan Soto was named a finalist as NL Rookie of the Year, but the Braves' Ronaldo Acuña is favored to win.