Buxton and Dozier Gold Glove Finalists
Image courtesy of © David Richard-USA TODAY SportsAt second base, Dozier’s inclusion seems a bit odd on the surface, but it highlights a bit of what the Gold Glove has turned into. Despite defensive metrics not being the only criteria worth noting, they should hold substantial value for what is certainly a defensive award. Looking at the metrics though, they don’t view the Twins second basemen favorably. Among nine qualified second basemen in the American League, here’s how Dozier ranked:
- DRS- 8th (-4)
- UZR/150- 5th (-1.2)
- UZR- 5th (-1.3)
- RngR- 8th (-4.2)
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Byron Buxton had to be an easy inclusion. Among American League center fielders (6), there wasn’t a metric that the Twins center fielder didn’t lead. He posted 24 DRS, owned a 13.1 UZR/150, 9.9 UZR, and a 12.6 RngR. Simply put, he could be counted on to cover the most ground, and save the most runs for any center fielder in the league (and the National League for that matter).
As discussed above, offensive production likely comes into play during the Gold Glove voting process far more than it should, but center field stymies its effect somewhat. Kevin Pillar, another finalist, owned just a .704 OPS. Lorenzo Cain’s .803 OPS is the best among the trio, but Buxton’s .728 OPS hardly tells the tale of a guy who owned a .796 OPS from June 1st onward.
The expectation should be that Buxton wins the award running away. There’s no other way to put it than that the Twins center fielder was the most exceptional player at the position in all of baseball. Both Cain and Pillar has respectable numbers, but they lag significantly behind the speedy outfielder.
Dozier is a nice inclusion, if not an unexpected one, but going up against Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia, he really shouldn’t have much of a chance. It will be interesting to see how that trio sorts itself out however.
What can be taken away from what’s become a relatively watered down award is that the Twins are once again trending towards having difference makers around the diamond. That’s hardly a bad thing for the future.