Rawlings released three finalists at each position in each league for the 2013 Gold Glove awards. Among the finalists for the Braves’ were Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward.
I expect Simmons to win rather easily. He lead the other finalists, Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Desmond, in DRS and UZR by a landslide, saving a record 41 runs according to DRS. There is no doubt Simmons also passes the "eye test", making jaw dropping plays in the field on a nightly basis. We as fans are fortunate enough to watch one of the most talented shortstops the game has ever seen.
There is no question Jason Heyward is one of the best defensive right fielders in the game, as the nomination would suggest, but this year Gerardo Parra is more deserving. Heyward would have had a solid case if injuries hadn’t limited his playing time, but he was forced to multiple DL stints throughout the year. Parra played over 300 more innings than Heyward in RF, saving a remarkable 36 runs to Heyward’s 15 (DRS). Parra also lead all outfielders with 17 outfield assists.
There is also Freedie Freeman, who was not named as a finalist this year. This is the conversation that never seems to end among Braves Country. Many of us, including myself, have held the position for years that Freeman is about average (but has improved each season) when you take all aspects of defense into account. Yes, he has wonderful hands and feet around the base, but he lacks the quick instincts and lateral range of premier defensive first basemen.
2013 will be the first year the voting consists of a sabermetric component. Winners will be announced Tuesday, October 29.