On Tuesday night, while most of America was focused on something entirely different, the Gold Glove Award winners were named, with Mookie Betts taking home the win for American League right fielder.
There wasn’t a lot of question that Betts would bring home this prize. The single best defender in the game relative to his position by DRS’ measurements, Betts has made the move from second to center to right in the span of a few years time without skipping a single beat along the way. He not only covered as much ground as some of the game’s best center fielders, but added 14 assists. It’s enough to make those jokes about him adding pitching to his resume seem almost reasonable.
And, let’s be honest, it doesn’t hurt that Betts had a bat to back him up against the guy who graded out second best among all positions by DRS in Adam Eaton. Gold Gloves should be about, well, glove work. But as we’ve seen often enough in the past, being able to hit (particularly to MVP levels) can go a long way towards swaying voters.
Less successful were Dustin Pedroia, who lost out to Ian Kinsler, and Jackie Bradley Jr., who saw Kevin Kiermaier win in center. Things were pretty close between Kinsler and Pedroia in terms of performance, making it hard to really get too upset, while Bradley was pretty much the third wheel in his contest thanks to some early-season struggles.