The last Giants player to win a Gold Glove is now 48 years old. That's how old I thought Omar Vizquel was when he won it, but I guess my memories were exaggerated and deceptive, and the point still stands. It's been almost a decade since the Giants have had a player win the Gold Glove, which is the longest drought in baseball. Considering that fact, it was a little discouraging to have the Giants' best defender play the same position as Andrelton Simmons, widely regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops since Ozzie Smith.
However, there's a chance this season. Perhaps a great chance. The good folks at SABR released an update of their Defensive Index rankings for 2015. The news is excellent for Giants players.
If you think this is just a bunch of nerds getting together and making their own defensive numbers ... well, that's not untrue. But there's more to it than that. From SABR's website:
The SABR Defensive Index accounts for approximately 25 percent of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process that was added to the votes from the managers and coaches.
Oh. Oh, my! There's a chance for Crawford after all. We figured he'd get nominated because he's hit so well, but he's actually leading the statistical category that's used to help determine the winner.
It's more than Crawford, though. Here are all the Giants who show up, with their rank in the NL for their respective positions in parentheses.
- Crawford (1st)
- Buster Posey (1st)
- Brandon Belt (1st)
- Matt Duffy (2nd)
Now, Duffy doesn't have a shot because Nolan Arenado is a physics-defying demigod at third base, and Brandon Belt doesn't have the defensive to take down either of the previous two winners (Paul Goldschmidt and Adrian Gonzalez, also on the list of top defenders), but Posey and Crawford have legitimate shots. Yadier Molina has won seven straight Gold Gloves, but Posey will have the support of the statistical 25 percent, at least.
Crawford has the best shot. He has the defensive reputation, and it's felt like he's been eating highlights this season and chasing them with castor oil this season. note fix that simile before publishing For whatever reason, Simmons hasn't been quite as impressive, anecdotally or statistically this season -- though still really freaking impressive -- and there's a strong chance Crawford will win over the coaches and managers who vote on the award.
Allow me to close with a sad reminder that Crawford has never even made the final three for a Gold Glove. That will almost certainly change this year. The only question is if the coaches and managers will agree with the stats.
Also, please join me in rejoicing that Crawford should return to the lineup on Friday. Let's enjoy watching the last couple weeks of this dumb and beautiful season of this dumb and beautiful sport.