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Multiple Twins on Pace to Be Gold Glove Finalists


Twins Daily Contributor

Minnesota’s defensive numbers have improved significantly over the last month and a half. How many Twins players have put themselves in the Gold Glove conversation?

Defensive metrics have come a long way over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One metric developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). 

According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, MLB has used SDI as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. The rankings below are through games played on August 28, 2022

Pitcher (AL Ranking): No Twins Pitchers Qualify
The Twins have yet to have a pitcher qualify for the SDI leaderboard in this season's rankings. Many of the team's top starters have missed time during different parts of the season, which means they don't have enough defensive innings to appear on the leaderboard. Former Twin Jose Berrios currently ranks 4th in the AL with a 1.4 SDI.

Catcher (AL Ranking): Gary Sanchez 0.2 SDI (11th)
Sanchez came to the Twins with a reputation as a terrible defensive catcher. Last season, he ranked as the AL's worst catcher with a -8.2 SDI, which was 1.4 points lower than the next qualified player. His increase of over eight SDI points this season shows how much he has improved. In the last SDI ranking, Ryan Jeffers was sixth in the AL with a 2.0 SDI. His recent injury means he no longer qualifies for the leaderboard. 

First Base (AL Ranking): Luis Arraez 1.2 SDI (2nd)
Arraez's bat has cooled off recently, but his defensive performance has vaulted him into the Gold Glove conversation at first base. Only Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has a higher SDI total among AL first basemen, and Arraez trails by 0.3 points. In July's rankings, Arraez was ninth in the AL with a -0.5 SDI. Can Arraez pass Guerrero Jr. in the season's final month?

Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco -2.6 SDI (13th)
While Arraez improved significantly, Polanco's SDI steeply declined over the last month and a half. Polanco has been a strong defender since switching from shortstop to second base. Last season, Polanco finished fourth among the AL's second basemen in SDI. One must wonder if Polanco's knee injury impacts his ability to get to balls defensively. 

Third Base (AL Ranking): Gio Urshela -0.2 SDI (T-8th)
Urshela's defense vastly improved compared to earlier in the season. In July, only one AL third baseman ranked lower than Urshela, but his SDI total improved by 1.6 points. Form Twin Josh Donaldson leads all AL third basemen with 7.8 SDI, which ranks as the fifth best SDI total in the AL. 

Shortstop (AL Ranking): Carlos Correa 3.1 SDI (5th)
Correa posted an MLB-high 15.8 SDI last season on his way to winning the American League's Platinum Glove. His early season defensive numbers were disappointing, but he has slowly climbed the SDI leaderboard. Correa improved his SDI total by 2.5 since the July rankings, and another month like that would move him into the AL's top three shortstops. 

Left Field (AL Ranking): Nick Gordon 0.8 SDI (5th)
Gordon was an infielder throughout his professional career until the Twins shifted him to a utility role for 2022. Injuries to regular outfielders like Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff have forced the Twins to use Gordon regularly in left field. His leaderboard position has improved in each SDI update as he becomes more comfortable in the outfield. 

Center Field (AL Ranking): No Twins Players Qualified
No Twins center fielders have appeared on the SDI leaderboard this season because Byron Buxton has been getting regularly scheduled rest days and time at DH. According to Baseball Savant, Buxton has an Outs Above Average in the 95th percentile, which places him among baseball's best defenders. The Twins also added Billy Hamilton to the big-league roster to improve the team's outfield defense. 

Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler 5.7 SDI (2nd)
Fans may be frustrated by Kepler's offensive woes this season, but he continues to be an elite defender in right field. Only Houston's Kyle Tucker ranks higher than Kepler among AL right fielders. Over the last month, Kepler has closed the gap on Tucker, and he has a chance to finish the year in first place. Can Kepler win his first Gold Glove?

Which rankings above surprise you the most? Will Kepler or Arraez win the Gold Glove? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 


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Perceptions can be distorted but it's hard to argue with numbers. I'm willing to bet Arraez's improving numbers are directly attributable to more playing time at 1B and less time moving around the infield. Same with Gordon in left. Rocco and the Twins should keep that in mind when it comes to handling Miranda; put him at 3B and leave him there if that's his primary position next season.

Gordon, the "player-who's-name-must-not-be-mentioned-at-shortstop" but who can play every other position, would obviously also benefit from a permanent home. Pick one Rocco and leave him there.

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It appears that Arraez has found a home at 1B, with his limitations in range, He does well for being new to the position yet him being 2nd in ratings shows that defense metrics still has a long ways to go to be close to acurate.

Kepler should have won the award long time ago. Hopes he gets it this year despite his poor offensive #s.

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Thanks for this update.  Only two twins shine - Arraez and Kepler which is not great for a team that wants to win.  CF discussions about Buxton are getting old.  Unless he miraculously gets so healthy he can play there everyday his potential does not matter.  

Gordon is shining at bat and in the field.  Good for him.

Polanco is a real disappointment.  Let's hope he is healthy next year - right now even his trade value is way down.

Sanchez improvement is still not good enough and Correa is good at SS, just not as elite as we had hoped. 

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Question for you Cody, so does the location based statistics take into account the range and difficulty of CC4's plays at short?  I think he, and Urshella to a degree, have both made some incredibly difficult plays that other fielders may not even get to our would not get the throw to first on time.

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4 minutes ago, dxpavelka said:

A wise man once said that advanced metrics are an excellent way of predicting the past.

Excellent quote.  Was that wise man you?  I often quote myself to make a convincing argument.  I even did it in my senior paper at the University of Minnesota.

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1 hour ago, dxpavelka said:

A wise man once said that advanced metrics are an excellent way of predicting the past.

 

1 hour ago, terrydactyls said:

Excellent quote.  Was that wise man you?  I often quote myself to make a convincing argument.  I even did it in my senior paper at the University of Minnesota.

"I often quote myself; it adds spice to my conversation. " -- G. B. Shaw

"A wise man once said, listen to wise men like me." -- me

 

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Arraez was supposed to DH & play some 2nd & 3rd along with spelling Sano at First when tough righties were throwing for opposition this season. Maybe 25 games at first at most - if Kirriloff was healthy he maybe plays 5 games at First. He’s leading the league in hitting - playing First regularly - 2nd in defensive metrics. He’s not tall - neither was Rod Carew……he seemed to transition from Second to First without all the hate - skepticism. Don’t get it - the guy’s played 3 positions & DHed and there’s complaining about the metrics not being accurate - why???

Sano didn’t win any gold gloves & his average is .120 points less - he’s tall though - $10 million waste in 2022!

Keppler is solid & hope he earns G. Glove the balance of the year. I’ll take Correa or any other SS that’s 5th in defensive metrics……..unlike Arraez, Correa & Keppler need to continue to pick it up with the bat!

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5 hours ago, terrydactyls said:

Excellent quote.  Was that wise man you?  I often quote myself to make a convincing argument.  I even did it in my senior paper at the University of Minnesota.

Actually, it was either Gardy or TK.

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46 minutes ago, Minny505 said:

Arraez is soo impressive at 1B and has been since he started playing there. Familiarity was an issue, but skill was not.

GG voting is based off three metrics correct, not just SDI?

Gold gloves are awarded based on:

- 75%. Voting by managers and coaches in each appropriate league. Managers and coaches cannot vote for their own players.

- 25% SDI

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2 hours ago, Minny505 said:

Arraez is soo impressive at 1B and has been since he started playing there. Familiarity was an issue, but skill was not.

GG voting is based off three metrics correct, not just SDI?

 

1 hour ago, USAFChief said:

Gold gloves are awarded based on:

- 75%. Voting by managers and coaches in each appropriate league. Managers and coaches cannot vote for their own players.

- 25% SDI

Right.  SDI is the component that itself is based on three different/competing analytic metrics (unless the mix has changed).

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On 9/4/2022 at 7:40 AM, USAFChief said:

Gold gloves are awarded based on:

- 75%. Voting by managers and coaches in each appropriate league. Managers and coaches cannot vote for their own players.

- 25% SDI

Right, but I expect the SDI is going to sway that vote mightily.

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