Fans of the Colorado Rockies deserve something to smile about after the difficult 2023 campaign, and on Wednesday afternoon Rawlings delivered by naming their finalists for the season’s Gold Glove Awards. The Rockies have had three players nominated for the defensive accolade for the first time since 2017, when Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu, and Gerardo Parra were named finalists.
NL Third Base Gold Glove Finalists 2023
For his third consecutive season Ryan McMahon has been named a Gold Glove finalist at the hot corner. You may not remember that McMahon actually began the 2023 season as the Rockies’ starting second baseman with the injury of Brendan Rodgers during spring training. McMahon played 144 innings of adequate second base defense with zero defensive runs saved. When Opening Day third baseman Elehuris Montero struggled defensively out of the gate, McMahon moved back to his regular spot in the infield and it was business as usual from then on.
Once again, McMahon was one of the league’s leaders in defensive runs saved, and the second most of all major league third basemen behind fellow finalist Ke’Bryan Hayes. McMahon and the Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman have been finalists each of the last two seasons only to lose out to Nolan Arenado. Arenado’s notable absence after a down year (1 DRS over 1095 2⁄3 innings) leaves the door wide open for a new winner after ten consecutive seasons.
NL Shortstop Gold Glove Finalists 2023
Ultimately the Gold Glove for National League Shortstops is likely to go to Dansby Swanson of the Chicago Cubs. Swanson had the most DRS and Outs Above Aberage (OAA) of all qualified major league shortstops this season and had the third best Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) behind Francisco Lindor of the New York Mets. However, Rockies rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar had an extremely memorable season with the glove.
Although his bat took a while to come around, Tovar immediately looked at home in the middle infield for his first full season. He’s tied with Miguel Rojas of the Los Angeles Dodgers for second most DRS by a national league shortstop with 12, had a solid 2.4 UZR, and had the second most OAA of all major league shortstops this season. Tovar’s clean defense also helped him set the new record for rookie fielding percentage at the position. The previous record of .987 was held by former Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for his 2007 season.
NL Center Field Gold Glove Finalists 2023
|Michael Harris II||ATL||1205.0||306||8||2||2||5.3||6||.994|
This is the one that will have you upset if anyone other than rookie Brenton Doyle takes home the hardware. Doyle was far and away not only the best center fielder in all of baseball this season, but one of the best overall outfielders. Doyle’s 19 DRS in the cavernous Coors outfield set the new franchise record when Rockies center fielders combined for positive DRS just once in the 30 year history of the franchise.
His 24.5 UZR frankly looks comical next to the second highest center field figure from Michael Harris II of the Atlanta Braves and is over ten points higher than the second best figure over all big league outfielders. Doyle also held the best OAA of all qualified outfielders and recorded ten outfield assists.
Doyle wraps up his claim over the award by having one of the best outfield arms this season. His average arm strength of 96.1 MPH made him a threat to any baserunner, and he set the record for fastest recorded outfield throw in the statcast era.
This should absolutely be Doyle’s trophy, and he’s earned it.
NL Left Field Gold Glove Finalists 2023
|Lourdes Gurriel Jr.**||ARI||778.0||152||8||0||14||9.5||1||1.000|
I’d be remiss to mention the excellent defensive season from rookie Nolan Jones. Arriving on the scene in late May, Jones put up better defensive numbers compared to the left field finalists in just 501 innings. Jones also lead the league with a truly impressive 19 outfield assists as people learned that you do not run on Nolan Jones. Unfortunately his late arrival disqualifies him from candidacy. Per Rawlings, an outfielder must log 698 overall innings before the team’s 138th game to qualify for the position at which they played the most innings. By my math Jones would have been at roughly 671 innings, just short of the mark. Had he been given playing time earlier in the season he likely would have qualified. Even MLB stats analyst Mike Petriello called Jones his “biggest snub” for the award before it became common knowledge he didn’t qualify.
Here are the hot Gold Glove finalists takes you've all been waiting for— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 18, 2023
- it's mostly fine
- look up 1990s years for nightmares
- Correa/Volpe over Witt is, uh,
- hooray, Brenton Doyle!
- biggest snub: Nolan Jones
Another notable snub who did qualify was Lourdes Gurriel Jr. of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Gurriel Jr. was one of the best left fielders in the league this year but was not named a finalist, likely due to having only 778 innings at the position this year. Gurriel Jr. had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, the second best DRS and UZR among all big league left fielders, and the fifth best OAA.
While it’s unlikely all three of the Rockies candidates take home the Gold Glove, it’s encouraging to see so many named as finalists. With two of the three being Rookies and McMahon under team control for years to come, the future is looking bright defensively as the Rockies continue to rebuild.
★ ★ ★
The Rockies outrighted three pitchers off their major league roster, setting the 40-man roster to 34 and enabling them to clear all five players from the 60-day IL after the World Series. Blach and Koch will both be able to test free agency, but the Rockies have expressed interest in bringing them back next season on minor league deals. Kauffmann, who struggled in his rookie season, will be assigned directly back to the minors.
MLB.com’s Sam Dykstra explores standout stats from prospects across the league. For the Rockies he chooses Hunter Goodman’s 34 home runs. Goodman hit 36 home runs in 2022 and was able to replicate that in Double-A and Triple-A this season. He finished just one short of tying for the minor league lead.
★ ★ ★
Arizona Fall League
Rockies no. 6 overall prospect Sterlin Thompson continues to impress in the Arizona Fall League, going 1-for-3 with two walks in the loss to the Javelinas. Thompson is tied for the second most walks in the Fall League with 12 so far and has more walks than strikeouts (11). Drew Romo went 1-for-4 with an RBI double. Alec Barger pitched a scoreless eighth inning with two strikeouts. Barger has a 1.80 ERA over five innings of work with seven punch-outs so far.
★ ★ ★
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