Tigers have three Gold Glove finalists (but not Iglesias)

Slugger J.D. Martinez has a chance to win his first Gold Glove. Jose Iglesias does not. Yoenis Cespedes, meanwhile, could be a first-time Gold Glove winner as a one-time Tiger.

The 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalists list was released Thursday, and it includes three Tigers — well, two, plus one former Tiger. It does not include Iglesias, whose highlight plays seemingly made his case but whose metrics apparently left him short.

Major League managers and coaches, voting only within their league and unable to vote for players on their own teams, account for 75 percent of the selection process. The other 25 percent goes to the sabermetrics community.
The winners will be revealed Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Ian Kinsler was selected as a finalist for the second consecutive year as he seeks his first career Gold Glove, having lost out to Dustin Pedroia last year. Pedroia is again among the finalists along with Seattle’s Robinson Cano.

Kinsler again dominated in Defensive Runs Saved with 19, one off of his total last season but six better than any Major League second baseman this year according to Fangraphs. Though his error total jumped from nine to 13, his 6.7 Ultimate Zone Rating was best in the American League.


Martinez’s defensive improvement was a revelation this season, the next stage of his development after establishing himself as a big-league slugger last year. His Ultimate Zone Rating jumped from minus-1.6 in 2014 to 7.7 this season, second-best among AL right fielders behind fellow finalist Kole Calhoun. His four Defensive Runs Saved marked his first time in positive territory for a season.

Martinez’s 15 outfield assists ranked second in the American League, while his .993 fielding percentage led all AL right fielders.

Cespedes, known for his strong throws to bases, has been a regular among finalists but never won. Despite a season split between the Tigers and Mets thanks to a deal at the July trade deadline, the athletic left fielder racked up enough statistics over four months in Detroit to stay in the running.

Cespedes threw for nine assists over 99 games in Detroit’s left field, while racking up a 15 UZR and 11 Defensive Runs Saved.

No Tigers outfielder has won a Gold Glove since Mickey Stanley in 1973 Gary Pettis in 1989. For that matter, no Tiger has won a Gold Glove at any position since second baseman Placido Polanco in 2009. If that streak ends this season, it won’t be by Iglesias.

While Detroit’s athletic young shortstop had an impressive amount of video evidence, from acrobatic plays in the field to a strong arm and quick release with the snap of a wrist, the metrics didn’t support him. His 2.3 UZR placed him fourth among AL shortstops behind Didi Gregorius, Alcides Escobar and J.J. Hardy. His DRS, meanwhile, was minus-3.

Gregorius and Escobar made the finalists list along with Xander Bogaerts, who had a lower UZR but was break-even in Defensive Runs Saved.


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