Tag Archives: Gold Glove Award

Phillies defense improving, led by trio of Gold Glove Award candidates

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No Phillies player has won a Gold Glove since 2012

The Philadelphia Phillies are currently one of the most inconsistent contending teams in Major League Baseball.

The biggest problem for the team in getting on a long winning run has been consistently poor pitching from both the starters and the bullpen group.
Offensively, they are a middle of the pack team, with the Phillies run production having fluctuated wildly all year long. The club’s hitters are collectively tied for 15th among the 30 MLB teams with 4.81 runs scored per game.
The one area of the game at which the Phillies have been solid this year is on defense. The gloves are currently tied for sixth in the NL in fielding percentage, having committed 55 errors, tied for fifth-lowest in the league.
The SABR Defensive Index of individual player performances was released through games of July 7, just about 10 days ago. For the seventh consecutive season in 2019, the SDI will be used to help select the winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. The SDI accounts for approximately 25% of the Gold Glove selection process, added to votes from the managers and coaches.
Based on the SDI as of July 7, the Phillies have three players who are legitimate National League Gold Glove Award contenders. Those three are right fielder Bryce Harper, catcher J.T. Realmuto, and perhaps surprisingly to some, left fielder Jay Bruce.
All three of those Phillies players are ranked second by the SDI at their positions. Harper’s 3.7 mark trails well behind the 7.6 of Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger and his 7.6 SDI rating. In left field, Bruce’s 4.4 is right behind the 4.7 of positional leader David Peralta of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

J.T. Realmuto might be the best chance for a Phillies player to actually win a Gold Glove Award in 2019. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)
Realmuto, the one Phillies representative on this year’s NL All-Star team, has an 8.5 SDI. That is the third-highest mark in the entire National League among all players. Unfortunately, one of the two ahead of him is San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges and his 9.1 mark.
Aside from those three, the rest of the Phillies defenders do not fare as well. Shortstop Jean Segura has a positive mark of 0.8, which places him at 8th among the 17 players rated. Maikel Franco has a -1.3 rating, putting him at 13th of the 19 third basemen rated.
At second base, Cesar Hernandez has a -1.2 rating, putting him 14th of 16 ranked players at the keystone position in the National League. Out in center field where Scott Kingery is played out of position on most days, the club’s future second baseman carries a -1.3 rating, putting him at 13 of 18 ranked players.
On the mound, Aaron Nola‘s 1.2 and Jake Arrieta‘s 0.6 make them the only Phillies pitchers in positive territory. They rank as tied for 11th (Nola) and 19th (Arrieta) respectively. Nick Pivetta has a -0.3 rating and Zach Eflin a -0.5 as the only other two Phillies pitchers on the NL list.
With these pure stats only accounting for one-quarter of the vote, reputation among players and coaches continues to provide the largest influence in the actual final selection of the Gold Glove Award winners.
Considering that key factor, Realmuto, widely considered the top all-around defensive catcher in the game by many, has the best chance to actually take home hardware after the season ends. None of the three leading Phillies contenders has ever captured a Gold Glove Award.

The last Phillies player to be awarded a Gold Glove was Jimmy Rollins, who took home the honors at shortstop back in 2012. It was a fourth career NL Gold Glove for JRoll, who previously was honored for three straight years from 2007-09. Mike Schmidt (10) and Garry Maddox (8) have won the most Gold Glove Awards in club history.

Minor league second baseman Daniel Brito earns Gold Glove Award

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For the second consecutive season the Philadelphia Phillies organization has the best defensive second baseman in the minor leagues.
Daniel Brito, who split the season between the Low-A Lakewood BlueClaws and the High-A Clearwater Threshers, was named as a Gold Glover by Minor League Baseball and the Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. in honors announced on Monday.
The 20-year-old second baseman was signed by the Phillies back in 2014 as an amateur free agent out of his native Venezuela. He played 92 games with Lakewood this season, then was promoted to Clearwater where he appeared in another 27 contests.
In announcing the honor, Minor League Baseball stated that Brito “…recorded a .988 fielding percentage in 116 games, the highest mark among second basemen in Minor League Baseball. The 20-year-old handled 418 total chances in 92 games for Class A Lakewood, and 101 more in 24 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater, helping turn 78 double plays across the two levels.”
Brito is ranked as the #12 Phillies prospect by MLB.com at this time. In our Phillies Nation Top 20 Phillies Prospects rankings back in early August, he received mention in the “Also receiving votes” section.
A year ago it was Scott Kingery being honored as the minor league 2017 Gold Glove Award winner at second base. Kingery went on top play most of this 2018 season as the Phillies starting shortstop.
Brito is considered a glove-first player at present. He hit for just a .252/.307/.342 slash line with 16 stolen bases over 468 plate appearances across the two minor league levels this past season.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Daniel Brito earns minor league Gold Glove honors

Nine First-Timers Among 2016 Gold Glove Award Winners

The 2016 MLB Gold Glove Awards were announced last night, and there were nine first-timers among the honorees.

When MLB announced the 2016 Gold Glove Award winners for fielding excellence last night, a total of nine first-timers were among the honorees across the two leagues.
In the National League, center fielder Ender Inciarte of the Atlanta Braves, second baseman Joe Panik and catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the world champion Chicago Cubs were all first-time winners.
In the American League,  Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees in left field and Mookie Betts of the rival Boston Red Sox in right field each won their first Gold Glove Award.
On the infield in the AL, first baseman Mitch Moreland of the Texas Rangers, second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers, and shortstop Francisco Lindor of the pennant-winning Cleveland Indians all won their first career Gold Glove Award.

Others receiving a Gold Glove Award as previous honorees included left fielder Starling Marte (2) of the Pittsburgh Pirates and right fielder Jason Heyward (4) of the Cubs in right field in the National League.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford (2) of the Giants, third baseman Nolan Arenado (4) of the Colorado Rockies, and pitcher Zack Greinke (3) of the Los Angeles Dodgers were multiple-time NL winners.
In the American League, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier of the Tampa Bay Rays won his second career Gold Glove, pitcher Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros took his third, and catcher Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals won his fourth.
The final winner in the American League is third baseman Adrian Beltre of the Rangers. It was a fifth career Gold Glove Award for Beltre, another notch in his future Baseball Hall of Fame belt.
The Rawlings Gold Glove Awards are voted on annually by managers and coaches in each league, with those managers and coaches not permitted to vote for players from their own teams.
Baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Awards back in 1957 to honor the best fielders at each position in both leagues.
Pitcher Greg Maddux won 18 career Gold Gloves, the most by any single player of all-time. Pitcher Jim Kaat and third baseman Brooks Robinson each won 16, holding second place on the career list.

Should Phillies Odubel Herrera Have Won a Gold Glove Award?

Winners of the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced tonight, and no Philadelphia Phillies players were honored. 
That might be expected for a team that finished with the worst overall record in baseball – but were any of the Phils’ players overlooked in the selection process?
Voting by Major League Baseball managers and coaches makes up 75% of that selection process. However, the remaining 25% comes from the SABR Defensive Index.
The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is one of the most respected institutions in the game today, and their Defensive Index has been used for the last three seasons to help select the Gold Glove winners.
That Defensive Index from the group is compiled by the SABR Defensive Committee, currently made up of SABR President Vince Gennaro, Sean Forman of Baseball-Reference, Ben Jedlovec of Baseball Info Solutions, SABR Director F.X. Flinn, author and defensive metrics expert Chris Dial, and author Michael Humphreys.
Not only did no Phillies player win a Gold Glove, but when finalists were announced two weeks ago, none were even nominated. 

However, a glance at the SABR Defensive Index leaderboard for the 2015 season shows that perhaps at least one Phillies player should have been considered more seriously, and at least received a nomination.
Rookie center fielder Odubel Herrera finished as the 12th-highest National League player overall in this year’s SDI. He was also the top ranked center fielder, the 2nd ranked overall outfielder in the senior circuit.
Among the NL’s pitchers, Cole Hamels finished 26th and Aaron Harang 38th in the 2015 SDI. 
Phillies’ veterans Ryan Howard (12th) and Carlos Ruiz (14th) were way back in the pack at their respective 1st base and catching positions. 
Cesar Hernandez finished in 12th among NL 2nd basemen, while Freddy Galvis finished 13th at shortstop. As an interesting side note here, Jimmy Rollins finished in 11th position among shortstops.
Joining Herrera in being ranked by the SABR Defensive Index in the outfield, Ben Revere finished in 3rd position among left fielders for his work while with the Phillies, and Cody Asche finished in 11th place.
No Phillies finished among the Top 10 or so at their positions at either 3rd base or right field, where Maikel Franco and Jeff Francoeur might have been expected by some fans of the team to have finished well. Franco was not called up until mid-May, and then missed a couple of months due to injury.
According to the SABR website, their Defensive Index “draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based date, and those collected from play-by-play accounts.
While Herrera finished at the top of the SDI, he was passed over for a nomination as one of three NL finalists. 
Of those three, only the Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Hamilton finished close in the SABR rankings. 
The other two nominees were the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock, the latter of whom was announced tonight as the 2015 Gold Glove winner.
While some Phillies fans might scoff at the idea that Herrera was deserving of a Gold Glove Award, the statistics show that at the very least, he should have been considered as a finalist.
In his first season as an outfielder, Herrera got better and better as the year went along. 
Turning 24 years old at the end of next month, ‘El Torito’ showed that he should be an important part of the club’s rebuilding plans moving forward.

Philography: Placido Polanco

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Placido Polanco was the Phillies starting 2B and 3B at various points

An important cog in the Philadelphia Phillies lineup for 7 of the 11 seasons between 2002-2012, Placido Polanco can nonetheless be considered the hard-luck player in the Phillies decade of winning excellence to open the 21st century.

His two stints as a starter with the ball club, first in the early part of the decade when he was mostly used as the starting 2nd baseman, and then at the end as the starting 3rd baseman, sandwiched the 2008 World Series victory, of which he was not a part.

But Polanco’s excellent play for the team in that long stretch cannot be overlooked. He brought steady professionalism, along with both winning play and a positive attitude. In the beginning, he helped the team realize it could compete with anyone. In the end,
he was a big part of a record-setting Phils season.

Placido Polanco’s career began in the Saint Louis Cardinals organization at the tail end of the 20th century. Born and raised in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, he was selected by the Cards in the 19th round of the 1994 amateur draft out of Miami-Dade College.

He began his pro career that summer playing shortstop with the Cardinals rookie league affiliate at age 18, and remained at short when assigned to A-level Peoria in 1995. Then in 1996, Polanco was moved over to 2nd base. He would play mostly that position in both ’96 at High-A and then again for the Cardinals AA-level affiliate at Arkansas in 1997.

Though he did swipe 19 bags in ’97, Polanco was a light-hitter known for his ability to make contact. He was also proving highly skilled with the glove, and he graded outstanding in overall baseball smarts. Many in the organization, as well as outside evaluators, were pegging him as a future utility infielder who would definitely reach the Major Leagues as the 90’s were drawing to a close.

He finally achieved the Big League dream with a call-up to the Cardinals in July of 1998. In his 2nd game, his first start, Polanco was installed as the leadoff hitter playing 2nd base in a game vs the Reds at Cinergy Field in Cincinnati. In the bottom of the first inning, Polanco lined a clean base hit to short rightfield off Reds’ lefty Brett Tomko for the first hit of his career.

Later in that 1998 season, in a game at Busch Stadium in Saint Louis vs the Florida Marlins, Polanco was given a start at shortstop by manager Tony LaRussa. With one-out in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Polanco drove a ball deep down the leftfield line against Rafael Medina for his first career homerun.

It was just a first taste of life in the Big Leagues for Polanco, who would split time from 1998-2000 between the Majors and AAA. Each year his time with the Cardinals increased, and finally by the end of August 2000 he was the regular starting 2nd baseman in Saint Louis as the Cards won the N.L. Central crown. He saw regular action that year during the team’s first post-season appearance in 13 years, a tough NLDS loss to Atlanta.

Over the course of that first full 2000 season, Polanco had been bounced around the infield from 2nd to short to 3rd. His versatility fully established, he was finally given a chance in 2001 to settle at a spot. He saw 103 games, 92 starts, at 2nd base that season, while also seeing a career-high 42 games at shortstop.

Saint Louis again reached the postseason, this time as a Wildcard, and again took the NLDS to a decisive game. But again, Polanco and the Cards fell short, losing in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to the Arizona Diamondbacks. A pattern of postseason frustration was being established that would see a World Series crown always just beyond Polanco’s grasp.

In 2002, Polanco was moved over to 3rd base by the Cardinals as the regular starter, seeing 131 games at the position. But then just before the non-waiver trade deadline, on July 29th, a stunner. Polanco was included in a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils were looking to move disgruntled 3rd baseman Scott Rolen, and found a match in Saint Louis.

Now beginning a new chapter of his career in Philadelphia, Polanco finished out the 2002 season with a Phils club that had come in 2nd place in the NL East, just 2 games back, during the 2001 season. The ’02 team struggled through a losing September to finish a disappointing 80-81. It would prove to be the team’s last losing season for a decade.

In 2003 the Phillies were closing Veteran’s Stadium, and wanted to open the new Citizens Bank Park on an upswing. The club brought in free agents Jim Thome, David Bell, and Dan Plesac to upgrade the overall roster. The team responded by battling into late September in a dogfight with Florida and Houston for the NL Wildcard spot. However, 6 straight losses in a season-closing 1-7 stretch dropped them out of playoff contention. They finished 10 games over .500, but finished 5 games behind the Florida Marlins.

Polanco was the regular 2nd baseman in both that final 2003 season at The Vet, and in the inaugural 2004 season at Citizens Bank Park. In ’04, the team again finished 10 games over .500, but they finished 10 behind the Atlanta Braves for the NL East crown and 6 games behind Houston for the Wildcard. They were obviously close, but not quite a championship contender.

That fall of 2004, Polanco became a free agent for the first time. In the end, liking his place with the team and the direction in which they seemed headed, he chose to sign a 5-year deal with the Phillies. His future was secure financially, and it appeared that he had a pivotal role on a team that looked to be a consistent contender into the future on the field as well.

His on-field production was also improving as he moved into his prime years and gained more consistent playing time. In 2003 he hit .289 with 14 homers and 14 steals, had 30 doubles, and scored 87 runs. In 2004, at age 28, he upped his average to .298 and his homers to 17.

2005 would be a near-miss for the Phillies playoff fortunes. The club won a couple more games, finishing 14 over the .500 mark, but still fell 2 games short of the Braves in the division. Perhaps more excruciating, they missed the Wildcard by just a single game. Polanco, however, was not around for the near-miss. That contract he signed did not have full no-trade protection.

On June 8th of 2005, the Phillies dealt Polanco away in an effort to bolster their pitching staff for the 2nd half. He was sent off to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Ramon Martinez and Ugueth Urbina. The Phillies felt Polanco was expandable now that Chase Utley was ready to fully take over at 2nd base.

In the American League for the first time in his career, Polanco was also given a steady position for the first time. He would be the Tigers starting 2nd baseman for the next 4+ seasons. In the best portion of the prime of his career, from ages 29-33, Polanco hit a combined .311, and in 2006 he helped lead the Tigers to a Wildcard playoff berth.

In the 2006 playoffs, the Tigers would roll through the Yankees and A’s, winning 7 of 8 games to take the American League Pennant for the first time in 22 seasons. Polanco was integral. The Detroit 2nd baseman hit .413 in the ALDS vs the Yanks, and then .529 in the 4-game sweep of Oakland in the ALCS for which he was named the Most Valuable Player.

Moving on to the World Series for what would be the only time in his career, the Tigers were taking on his former team, the Saint Louis Cardinals. Polanco would also be squaring off with Rolen, the player for whom he was traded to Philly four years earlier. The two teams split the first two games in Detroit, and headed to St. Louis for the next 3 games.

The Tigers knew they needed to win just once in order to ensure at least a return trip to Detroit. It would never come. In Saint Louis, the Cardinals swept all three games to win the World Series. For his part, Polanco was almost non-existent. In his only Fall Classic he didn’t register a single hit, going 0-17 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Rolen was strong, hitting .421 with a homer and 5 runs scored in winning his lone career championship.

In 2007, Polanco would show that his previous postseason failures were not indicative of any erosion in his talent. At age 31, Polanco hit .341 with a .388 on-base percentage, he produced a career-high 67 rbi, scored 105 runs, reached 200 hits for the only time in his career, including a career-best 36 doubles. The result was his first-ever All-Star Game, as well as receiving the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards.

In both 2007 and in 2009, the Tigers would finish 2nd in the A.L. Central Division but were unable to secure a playoff spot. Polanco continued to be solid, hitting .307 for a losing Detroit team in 2008, and then winning his 2nd Gold Glove while driving in a knew career-high 72 runs in 2009.  Also in 2008, Polanco had become a naturalized U.S. citizen, taking his oath before a game right on the field at Comerica Park.

Following the 2009 season, the 5-year deal that he had originally signed with Philadelphia was now up, and he was again a free agent. The Tigers were ready to move on from their 2nd baseman, who would be turning 34-years old in 2010.

Meanwhile, back in Philly, the team had won the 2008 World Series and returned there in 2009. Their 3rd baseman, Pedro Feliz, was turning 35 years old in 2010 and had his contract expiring. Despite his not having played 3rd base since leaving Philly in 2005, the Phils approached Polanco about the possibility of moving back to the hot corner. Polanco jumped at a reunion.

Signing a 3-year deal to become the Phillies new 3rd baseman, the man who had become known as “Polly” set out to show that he could still produce at a high level. In his first season back in 2010, he played a strong 3rd base, and the Phillies reached the NLCS before losing in six games to San Francisco.

The following year of 2011, both the team and Polanco upped their games. The Phillies set a franchise record with 102 victories in rolling to their 5th consecutive National League East Division crown. Polanco made his 2nd All-Star team, his first in the National League, and would win the Gold Glove. In doing so, Placido Polanco became the first player to win a Gold Glove at two different positions.

With all of the 2011 success, the ending would prove disastrous for the team, and would signal the beginning of the end of Polanco’s time in Philly and his career as a whole. The Phils were edged out by his old Cardinals team in the NLDS thanks to a 1-0 loss in the decisive game. As in the 2006 World Series, Polanco again did not produce against them, going 2-19.

In 2012, Polanco and the Phillies suffered from injuries and began to fall apart. The team struggled to a .500 finish, missing the postseason for the first time since 2006. Polanco’s season would be ended by injury just as September began. But before it happened he had one more moment of glory. On May 14th he cracked a homerun off Houston Astros reliever David Carpenter for the 2,000th hit of this Major League career.

Granted free agency once again following that 2012 season, approaching age 37 and wanting to spend more time with his wife and two small children, Polanco considered retirement. He would only play if it could be near them, limiting him to the southeastern clubs. He signed eventually with the Miami Marlins, playing one final season as their 3rd baseman before finally retiring.

In a career that spanned parts of 16 seasons, Placido Polanco fashioned a .297 batting average in nearly 8,000 plate appearances spread across a little over 1,900 games. He appeared at 2nd base in more than 1,000 games and at 3rd in 751, as well as 122 at shortstop. He won the Gold Glove in both the AL and the NL, was an All-Star in both leagues, and had done both while with the Phillies.

Polly also proved to be very reliable. He finished with well over 500 plate appearances in every season for which he was given the opportunity during his prime years, 10 of the 11 seasons between ages 25-34. The lone exception was 2004 in Detroit when he barely missed at 495 thanks to a mid-August to mid-September injury.

A career near-.300 hitter who was a great defender. An All-Star caliber player who proved to be both versatile and dependable. A consummate professional who was well-liked and well-respected by both his peers and by fans. That is how Placido Polanco will be remembered by baseball fans in general, and Phillies fans in particular.