Award season has begun, and it’s looking similar to the 2020 regular season the Giants played: better than the last, if not as fulfilling as they may have hoped.
The Giants have one more Gold Glove finalist than they did last year, when they were shut out, but a few defensive standouts came up short of the final three at their position. Brandon Belt is the club’s lone Gold Glove nominee, competing against St. Louis’ Paul Goldschmidt and Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo for the prize.
Thursday’s position-by-position announcements, which were determined not by votes but by the Defensive Index from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), left Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford and Mauricio Dubon with possible gripes and Belt with a chance at his first Gold Glove.
The 32-year-old, who fought through heel pain all season that required bone spurs to be removed last week, played in 47 of the 60 games at first, his bat forcing his way into many lineups even against lefties, his glove called upon a few times late in games. He had two errors in 351 1/3 innings and saved plenty of wayward throws from an infield that often was unsettled without Crawford.
Long under appreciated and definitely well deserved https://t.co/H5n0aJNCaP
— Kainoa Correa (@ThatGuy__Kai) October 22, 2020
Crawford had a bounce-back season with more than his bat, the team’s midseason run coming once he established he could hit lefties and forced his way into the lineup and field every day. No longer did Donovan Solano play out of position at short, Dubon could stay at a center-field spot that became his own, and the Giants’ defensive struggles quieted. Yet Chicago’s Javier Báez, Miami’s Miguel Rojas and Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson got the nods — although the biggest surprise in all of baseball may have been Fernando Tatis Jr. being left out.
As were Longoria (who plays a third base in the NL that is stacked, the finalists being Miami’s Brian Anderson, Colorado’s Nolan Arenado and San Diego’s Manny Machado) and Dubon (who, by Statcast’s outs above average, was the NL’s third best center fielder, yet lost out to Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr, LA’s Cody Bellinger and San Diego’s Trent Grisham).
So the Giants have one nominee to try for their first Gold Glove since Crawford in 2017.