The Angels had three individuals—Andrelton Simmons, Mike Trout, and Kole Calhoun—nominated as finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Thursday, given to the best defensive player in each league at the position. A fourth, Martin Maldonado, played 78 games for the Halos in 2018 but was traded to Houston before the trade deadline. Ian Kinsler, traded to Boston, was also nominated.
Andrelton Simmons is gunning for his fourth Gold Glove, which is crazy considering he may be the best defender in baseball. He has won the Platinum Glove before and is working on another one. He picked up another 5.5 fWAR in 2018, most of it coming from defense. His numbers slipped a bit, mostly due to a few errors on very easy balls, but he still shows his range and arm. He gathered in 54.5% of all Unlikely balls, batted balls with a 10-40% chance of making the play, and he still got to 5.7% of Remote balls, batted balls with a 1-10% chance.
He’s going up against Francisco Lindor and Marcus Semien, and he should have no problem winning his fourth Gold Glove. In the meantime, enjoy some defensive highlights from 2018.
Mike Trout, after an offseason where he endeavored to work on his defense, may have just seen those results pay off. He didn’t make an error for just the second time in his career, and his UZR/150 was 5.6, highest since 2012, when he wasn’t as, you know, bulky. He got to 100% of Likely or Routine fly balls, batted balls with a 60-100% catch rate. He also got to 68.4% of Even fly balls, batted balls with a 40-60% catch rate.
Trout goes up against Adam Engel and Jackie Bradley Jr., and for once in his life he may be an underdog. Engel had a series of spectacular HR-robbing catches in August, and Jackie Bradley Jr. is known as one of the best in the business. It’s unlikely that he comes away with the hardware this year.
Kole Calhoun may have had a rough year at the plate, but that did not stop him from showing up in the field. In April, he had a few games where he “saved” the day for the Angels, making a key catch or a strong throw that sealed the deal. Whatever his issues at the plate, he’s still got it in the field. With a positive UZR and a very strong throwing arm, Kole Calhoun is the choice in right. He made 66.7% of Unlikely plays (4 of 6) and 62.5% of Even plays.
Calhoun’s co-finalists are Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge. This is the toughest race to call—all three candidates have their merits.
Results will be announced in early November.