Back in July, we presented the initial results of the Society of American Baseball’s (SABR) Defensive Index rankings (SDI).
As we mentioned back then, according to SABR, these rankings account for roughly 25 percent of the selection process used in determining each season’s Gold Glove winners, which were announced last week.
The Defensive Index is compiled from different fielding metrics and incorporates a myriad of categories (for a more detailed explanation, please click here).
This year’s SDI rankings confirm that catcher Manny Pina was, to say the least, a revelation. Entering this season, Pina, who turned 30 in June, had played all of 38 major-league games with 98 plate appearances and in the minors he was known more for his bat than his glove.
In 2017, Pina proved he was adept at both.
At the plate, Pina had a respectable slash line of .279/.327/.424. Behind the dish, Pina was stellar. He finished with an SDI of 8.9, which was third among National League catchers, ninth overall among all players in the circuit and 17th in the major leagues.
Pina wasn’t up for a Gold Glove, however. Only one Milwaukee player was — pitcher Zach Davies. Davies finished tied for fourth in SDI among NL pitchers at 3.5 … which was higher than Gold Glove winner Zack Greinke (2.9).
Jimmy Nelson was the only other Brewers pitcher to qualify for the Gold Glove and he was at a -1.6, which was a big improvement over his -3.2 in 2016.
Judging by SDI, Milwaukee’s left side of the infield is very strong.
Shortstop Orlando Arcia might be competing for Gold Gloves one day. He finished with a 5.6 SDI, third among NL shortstops, seventh overall among MLB shortstops and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, higher than Gold Glove winner Brandon Crawford (4.8).
At third base, Travis Shaw ranked fifth at his position in the NL at 3.4.
Hernan Perez plays all over the place for Milwaukee, but qualified at left field, where he placed third in the NL with a 3.4 SDI, which was also sixth best among MLB left fielders.
First baseman Eric Thames was the only other Brewers player to come in with a positive SDI at 0.3. Jesus Aguilar had a 1.5 SDI when we checked in over the summer, but he didn’t qualify for the Gold Glove and isn’t listed in the final season results.
At second base, both Jonathan Villar (-4.0) and Neil Walker (-5.8) both were in the negatives, although Walker spent much of the year with the Mets and we don’t know his SDI splits while with New York and Milwaukee.
Domingo Santana had a great year hitting, but finished with a -6.9 SDI, which was worst among all major-league right fielders (he and Toronto’s Jose Bautista, who had a -6.1, were the only qualifiers at that position below -3.8).
Keon Broxton had the worst SDI on the Brewers at -7.2 … but that actually was one of the better totals among NL Central center fielders. While no one from the Cubs qualified and Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton had a 5.7, Broxton was ahead of St. Louis’ Dexter Fowler (-7.8) and Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen (-8.1). All three were well ahead of San Francisco center fielder Denard Span, who had a major-league worst SDI among outfielders at -12.7.