The San Francisco Giants were the best defensive team in all of baseball for 2016. Now, they walk away with a few gold gloves to show for that.
Today, it was announced that catcher Buster Posey, Joe Panik, and Brandon Crawford have picked up Gold Glove awards for their 2016 seasons. It is Posey and Panik’s first, and Crawford’s second Gold Glove. Crawford previously won the award in the 2015 season, where he beat out Andrelton Simmons. The San Francisco Giants have always prided themselves on defense and it has finally garnered some national recognition. The last time the Giants had more than three Gold Glove winners was in 1994. In 1993 they had four gold glove winners.
For Buster, it really wasn’t close. Posey lead all catchers in defensive runs saved, with 23. He also did a fantastic job of earning his pitchers strikes when they probably weren’t. He was clearly the best catcher in the NL this season and frankly all of baseball. We wrote about his case for the Gold Glove this season and you can find that here.
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As for “The Crawnik,” there wasn’t a better middle infield combo this season. Both Crawford and Panik were lights out all season long. Both had high UZR and Defensive Runs Saved. Crawford took the most chances in the NL at SS, and Panik had the least amount of errors in NL Second Basemen.
These three results show that coaches and managers (the people who vote for the GG Awards), are finally going away from the simple “Fielding Percentage and Errors” as a judge for defensive ability. Instead, they’re looking at UZR, Defensive WAR, and Defensive Runs Saved. A win for sabermetrics for sure.
As we look to 2017, maybe Brandon Belt will get a nomination. He deserved one in 2015, but had a slightly down year this season.