Yankees Brett Gardner Named as Finalist for AL Gold Glove Award
New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner was named as one of the three finalists for the 2016 American League Gold Glove award.
Rawlings revealed the three finalists at each position for the 2016 Gold Glove awards Thursday, and New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner is one of the standout defenders from this season being considered for the honor. The winners of the awards will be announced on November 8th.
As a natural center fielder forced over to left by the Yankees acquisition of Jacoby Ellsbury, Gardner has long had a reputation as one of the game’s better defensive corner outfielders, but he has yet to take home any hardware for his effort despite some deserving performances.
This year Gardner will compete against Alex Gordon and Colby Rasmus for the title of the American’s League’s best left field gloveman. Gordon has to be seen as the front-runner after taking home the prize four times in the last five years. With defensive awards, reputation generally matters more than metrics, and Gordon has become well known as a standout in the field over the past few seasons.
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By most defensive metrics, the award should probably go to Rasmus who compiled an insane 20 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and 14.8 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), despite just playing 107 games in the field this year. Had he played a full season, Rasmus probably would have been a lock to win this year’s Gold Glove. With just 75 games in left field, he might be somewhat disqualified despite his superior performance.
The two most popular defensive metrics are split on Gardner and Gordon. Gardy has a clear edge by DRS at 12 vs. 4 runs saved, while Gordon’s 8.0 UZR is better than Gardner’s 2.2 mark. The 33-year-old Gardner still has some serious wheels, and probably helped his case with some memorable dramatic catches. He had 86 Out of Zone (OOZ) plays to Gordon’s 62. Despite Gordon’s stronger arm, Gardner also had more outfield assists (9 vs. 6).
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Call me a homer if you will, but it’s always nice to see someone new win an award all else being equal. Gardner has been snubbed after some fantastic defensive performances in the past, and the numbers support the fact that he was slightly better than Gordon this year. I guess giving it to Rasmus might make sense, but it would feel weird giving it to a guy with so little playing time.