By Robert Dominguez
A player’s contributions on defense are often overlooked these days in baseball’s current homer-happy, offense-minded era. Thankfully, there’s the annual Gold Glove awards to remind fans that the best players are the ones who can flash some leather, too.
Here are some of 2019’s winners, who were chosen by a vote of MLB managers and coaches plus a sabermetric index by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR):
Catcher, American League
Roberto Perez, Indians It was virtually impossible for a pitcher to get a ball by Perez, who didn’t allow a passed ball last season en route to his first career Gold Glove. The Puerto Rico native, playing his first full season behind the plate for Cleveland, was just the third catcher in team history to win a Gold Glove after Sandy Alomar and Ray Fosse (two).
Second Base, AL
Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox While not known for his bat, Sanchez is indispensable in the field. The Venezuela native, 27, who played mostly third base for the White Sox in 2018 earned his first career Gold Glove Award as a second-sacker, committing only 9 errors.
Francisco Lindor, Indians Lindor again showed why he’s the best shortstop in any league, winning his second career Gold Glove (the other was in 2016). The fact he hits like a corner infielder — his 32 homers were second on Cleveland, behind first baseman Carlos Santana’s 34 — is why the 25-year-old from Puerto Rico with the big smile has become the face of the Indians.
Third base, National League
Nolan Arenado, Rockies Arenado, who hit 41 homers in 2019 to go with 118 RBI and a career-high .315 batting average, isn’t just a beast at the plate. The seven-year Colorado veteran, 28, won his seventh Gold Glove in a row, beating out the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon in the voting. It’s the fourth-biggest total for any third baseman in history behind Brooks Robinson’s 16, Mike Schmidt (10) and Scott Rolen (8).
Left field, NL
David Peralta, Diamondbacks Peralta, 31, from Venezuela, only played in 99 games for Arizona last season, but he made them count by earning his first career Gold Glove — beating out runner-up Juan Soto, the Washington Nationals’ 20-year-old wunderkind.
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls.”
Photo source: KA Sports Photos — Under Creative Commons License