Finalists for the Gold Glove awards were announced this morning, and three Rockies are in the mix. Carlos Gonzalez in left field, Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop, and Nolan Arenado at third base were all nominated for the award. Winners will be announced Tuesday.
Gonzalez and Tulowitzki both have a solid shots to win their third Gold Gloves. First of all, they were both very good defenders in 2013; the fielding metrics of both Baseball Reference (Defensive Runs Saved) and Fangraphs (Ultimate Zone Rating) graded the duo as well above average. Second, they hit pretty dang well too, and offense always seems to be a major factor in this defensive award for some reason. Finally, they are established veterans with a couple Gold Gloves already in the trophy case, and managers (who vote for these things) set a lot of stock in that.
There are a couple factors against them. Both Tulo and Cargo missed a fairly significant chunk of time with injuries, and you have to be on the field to rack up defensive value. Beyond that, though, they face some stiff competition.
Nominated along with Cargo is Eric Young Jr. and Starling Marte. I'm assuming the Young nomination is some sort of weird typographical error, but Marte actually had a pretty fantastic year in the field, based on the advanced metrics. But considering Cargo's pedigree and stronger offense, I expect him to bring home the gold.
Tulo, though, has to face down Andrelton Simmons. Simmons was the best fielder in the National League; not just among short stops, among everybody. Fangraphs has him saving 30+ runs with just his glove, which is, you know, silly. Tulo was good and all, but Simmons was on a different planet. That said, Simmons has never won a GG before and his offense was nothing to write home about. You might wonder how much those criteria should affect the voting, but the affect is real.
Nolan Arenado, though, is in less of a Tulo/Cargo situation than a Simmons situation. In other words, he didn't hit great, but he put up ridiculous fielding numbers, and highlight reel plays left and right. The one big caveat: Juan Uribe, out of nowhere, put up an almost equally awesome season (David Wright, the third nominee, was above average but not in the same realm). When it's a case of veteran against rookie, the veteran almost always wins, not to mention that Uribe hit better, his team is more famous, and he reached the post season. Still, it's encouraging that Nolan was even nominated, and I bet there are going to be plenty of Gold Gloves in his future.