It was only a couple years ago that the Giants were in the middle of a Gold Glove drought. Omar Vizquel was their last winner, and Brandon Crawford was a brilliant defender stuck in the voting behind Andrelton Simmons, who was a generational defender. Woe be the Giants, perennially shut out of the Gold Gloves.
Now they have a streak, courtesy of Crawford, who won his third Gold Glove in a row. Voters were able to overlook his worst offensive season since 2012 and focus on the defense, where he was brilliant again. Crawford’s defensive metrics didn’t put him over Addison Russell and Corey Seager, but the third-place finish in SABR’s defensive index didn’t hurt him the new voting procedures, and he certainly passed the eyeball test among the coaches and managers who make up 75 percent of the voting.
Crawford is the first shortstop to win three consecutive Gold Gloves since former Giants legend Jimmy Rollins did it for the Phillies from 2007 to 2009. He’s the first Giants player to win at least three in a row at any position since J.T. Snow dominated the voting from 1997 to 2000.
Every year, I keep telling myself that I’m going to keep a spreadsheet of Crawford’s best plays, with links to the videos. Every year, I forget. Luckily, this guy exists and has a YouTube account:
There are a lot of plays I forgot about, and they made me chortle. Chortle.
Alas, the news isn’t all good for the Giants, who had three winners last year. Joe Panik missed chunks of the season with a concussion, and the SABR defensive index hated him for some bizarre reason (ranking him last in the league, which, waaaait a second), so he wasn’t one of the finalists. Brandon Belt wasn’t nominated because of his injuries, and Buster Posey lost to Tucker “Moonlight” Barnhart, who seems really, really good at what he does by numbers and reputation, but I’m suspicious. You’re on notice, Rawlings.
Posey seemed just as incredible to me, for what it’s worth, which isn’t a lot. But I didn’t watch Barnhart every day, or at all, so I’ll put the torchfork away in its case for now.
Congratulations are in order to Crawford, though, who is already the greatest defensive shortstop that San Francisco has ever seen. While I appreciate that some of you can still stan for a 38-year-old Omar Vizquel, get outta here with that. Crawford is a treat, and we’re lucky to watch him every day.