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Three Colorado Rockies who should be Gold Glove finalists (or winners)

Colorado Rockies news and links for Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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That the 2023 Colorado Rockies have not had a good season is no secret — Evan Lang looked at the specifics yesterday. But there’s one area in which the team has been strong, their defense, and on this front, three Rockies have been outstanding: Brenton Doyle, Ryan McMahon, and Ezequiel Tovar.

As speculation begins turning to award season, it’s worth considering the defensive that may make these Rockies worthy of Gold Glove consideration.

Brenton Doyle

If you’re saying to yourself right now, “Haven’t we gone over this Brenton Doyle data before?” the answer is yes, But it’s worth re-iterating just how exceptional Doyle has been this season.

In terms of Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), Doyle is tied for first with Kevin Keirmaier with 17. Who’s second in the NL? Michael Harris II with 8. His ARM? 10.0, which leads all center fielders. (Again, Harris II is second with a 5.7 score.) Doyle’s Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR)? It’s 19.4, far better than any other center fielder. (Harris II is, again, second with 6.9.) You may be wondering about Doyle’s Def score? It’s 20.0. The next closest? Keirmaier’s 8.3.

That’s FanGraphs. Let’s consider Baseball Savant.

Doyle’s Fielding Run Value (FRV), that’s the defensive measure of all players in MLB, remains the best in the league at 20. Among NL center fielders, Joey Wiemer is second at 12. His Outs Above Average? It’s 15, again, the best among center fielders. His arm strength? It’s first at 96.3. The next closest is Victor Robles’ 93.9.

(By the way, last week, Michael Baumann did an insightful analysis of Doyle’s season, which is historic in a number of ways. I can’t recommend the piece enough.)

As your occasional reminder, Doyle has done this as a rookie playing in the most challenging ballpark in baseball. He should win a Gold Glove this year, and it should not be close.

Ryan McMahon

This would be McMahon’s third nomination, and he’s certainly earned it.

McMahon’s 16 DRS is second only to the 22 of Ke’Bryan Hayes. (It’s been a down year for 10-time winner Nolan Arenado, who has only one DRS in 2023. He said a few weeks ago that he’d experienced a “dead arm” for the first time in the season, which affected his play.) In the NL, Austin Riley is third with 10 DRS.

In terms of UZR, McMahon and Josh Jung tie in leading all third basemen with a 5.2 rating. Manny Machado is second with 4.7.

He’s earned an FRV of 6, which is respectable but pales in comparison to Hayes’ third-basemen-leading 12. McMahon’s 11 OAA tie him with Machado for second among NL third basemen. Again, Hayes leads everyone with 16 OAA.

Although this was another stellar year for McMahon in the hot corner — and 16 DRS is his career best — it’s probably not enough to get him past Hayes, who’s been out-of-this-world good.

Still, this is a year Ryan McMahon should be proud of, and he should again be a finalist.

Ezequiel Tovar

What a terrific season for the Rockies’ rookie shortstop.

Tovar’s 12 DRS are second only to Dansby Swanson’s 15. The third highest in the NL? Willy Adames’ 8. In addition, Tovar is fifth among NL shortstops in terms of UZR with a 1.5 rating. (Francisco Lindor’s 8.4 leads all shortstops with Swanson’s 5.2 next.)

Only Swanson has a higher Def (19.8) to Tovar’s 18.2.

Tovar’s FRV is 12th among all MLB players; among shortstops, he’s third, behind Thairo Estrada and Dansby Swanson (14). He has 15 OAA — again, second only to Swanson, who has 18.

This probably is not enough for Tovar to win a Gold Glove — that will pretty clearly go to Swanson — but he should absolutely be a finalist. Moreover, he’s built a solid foundation for his future.

Closing thoughts

There wasn’t a lot to cheer for in the 2023 Rockies, but the defense of Brenton Doyle, Ryan McMahon, and Ezequiel Tovar always gave fans something to celebrate.

Let’s hope the Gold Glove voters recognize just how good these players were this season.


So about the Guardians . . .

I stumbled onto this on X/Twitter last week and thought it was worth passing along.

I got nothing.

Well, I’ll add this. I regularly have to remind myself that Nolan Jones wasn’t drafted by the Rockies because it just seems like he’s always been part of this organization.

There’s a new Nolan in town. And that’s a good thing.


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