Major League Baseball announced the Gold Glove Award finalists for the 2020 season and, in 2020 fashion, they’re, uh, pretty weird.
Lourdes Gurriel is the Blue Jays’ lone Gold Glove nominee which sorta kinda gives you an indication of how strange some of the selections were.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, Gurriel is a solid fielder. He makes some highlight reel snags in the outfield and he has a cannon for an arm that he used on multiple occasions to gun guys out at home.
How did @yunitogurriel earn his FIRST Gold Glove nomination?
Two words: Piña Power 🍍 pic.twitter.com/dtF5WHgJD5
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 22, 2020
But he’s not exactly your prototypical Gold Glove guy. Gurriel just switched to left field mid-way through the 2019 season and still looks pretty green at the position at times. He often runs the wrong way off the hop and that’s why he ends up making TV grabs. FanGraphs had him at -3 defensive runs saved in 2020, but defensive metrics are always a bit tricky, so take them with a grain of salt.
Elsewhere, there are some other puzzling choices, like… the White Sox having two catchers as finalists, Clint Frazier of the Yankees being a finalist after the organization hid him in Triple-A for years due to his shaky glove, the Tampa Bay Rays not having a single player on the list, and Fernando Tatis Jr. not getting nominated despite leading all fielders in outs above average.
It’s pretty obvious why this year’s finalists are all over the grid, though. The Gold Glove is voted on by the league’s managers and coaches. This year, managers and coaches only saw nine other teams but were expected to vote on the best fielders by position in the entire league.
So, for example, Charlie Montoyo would have had to decide who the best fielders were in the American League despite only seeing four American League teams this season. In Gurriel’s case, a bunch of managers from the Central and West likely saw him make a highlight reel grab on TV and thought ok, yeah, that guy.
What they probably should have done was take away the A.L. and N.L. for this year and just have voting based on the geographical divisions — East, Central, and West — because then managers and coaches could actually vote for the players they saw.
But, then again, these are the Gold Gloves. Derek Jeter will be the first to tell you that they don’t matter.