Award season is here, and the Orioles' Santander is a Gold Glove finalist - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Award season is here, and the Orioles’ Santander is a Gold Glove finalist

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

It’s been a year of recognition for Orioles’ rightfielder Anthony Santander. Even though he missed the final 23 games of the 2020 season because of an oblique injury, Santander was voted Most Valuable Oriole. On Thursday, he was named one of three finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove.

Santander’s American League right field competition is New York’s Clint Frazier and Texas’ Joey Gallo.

According to BaseballReference.com, Santander had a .7 Defensive WAR. Santander played 35 games in right field, one in left and was the designated hitter in one.

In 2019, Santander made two errors, one fielding and one throwing. He started 50 games in right field, 40 in left and 24 in center. This year, Santander made three errors, all throwing, and was generally lauded for his improved defense.

According to FanGraphs, Santander had eight defensive runs saved in right, three more than in 2019.

The Gold Glove winners will be announced on November 3rd on ESPN at 7 p.m.

This year, the calculations won’t include votes from managers and coaches. It will be based solely on the SABR Defensive Index.

According to SABR, “The SDI draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts, including data from MLBAM’s Statcast, Sports Information Solutions, and STATS, LLC.”

In September, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde campaigned for Cedric Mullins to receive recognition for his play in center field.

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“I’m going to go on record here and say you have start considering Cedric Mullins a Gold Glover,” Hyde said. “He’s played Gold Glove-type defense this whole entire season. I can’t remember a play … he didn’t make. He’s made so many great plays and, not only that, but run-saving plays, big plays in big spots. He makes the tough play look easy. Some of those plays on balls over his head that he just glides and gets to, those are really difficult plays that a lot of guys don’t get to.

“I knew he was a good defender. I saw him a little bit last year. I [saw] him in spring training, but this has opened my eyes. This is an elite center fielder that should be in the Gold Glove consideration.”

Mullins, who started 36 games in center, was not a finalist. According to FanGraphs, Mullins had no defensive runs saved.

Interestingly, two of the American League East’s most prominent defensive centerfielders, Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. and Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier, were not finalists, either. Bradley won the Gold Glove in 2018, and Kiermaier, last year.

Bradley questioned his exclusion on Twitter. “I just don’t understand, and I have yet to have anyone from any analytics department explain to me how they ‘calculate’ the ‘numbers’ or better yet how can you physically improve on them as a player.”

The “Fielding Bible,” another widely followed award, lists Gallo as its right field favorite. It ranks Santander ahead of Frazier.

The Orioles have an impressive Gold Glove history. Brooks Robinson won 16 straight awards at third base from 1960-1975. Centerfielder Paul Blair won eight in the outfield, in 1967 and from 1969-1975. At that time, outfield Gold Gloves were not given for specific positions.

Blair was the only Oriole outfielder to win a Gold Glove until Adam Jones won four, in 2009 and from 2012-2014. Nick Markakis won in 2011 and 2014. Outfield positions were first recognized in 2011.

Manny Machado was the last Oriole to win a Gold Glove, at third base in 2015.

Award time: Despite the shortened 2020 season, a full plate of awards will be handed out.

Former Oriole Nelson Cruz won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award in the annual Player’s Choice awards from the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The four major award winners will be announced from November 9-12.

Originally, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, whose members vote on the awards, had agreed that they’d be announced in conjunction with the annual general managers meetings in Las Vegas but, because of the pandemic, that’s been scuttled for at least this year.

The Orioles’ Ryan Mountcastle is expected to get some support for Rookie of the Year. Seattle outfielder Kyle Lewis is the favorite to win.

If Mountcastle doesn’t win, he and Tampa Bay outfielder Randy Arozarena are still eligible in 2021.

Pitcher Gregg Olson was the last Oriole to win the award in 1980. John Means came in second last year.

No Oriole is expected to be a finalist for the Manager of the Year, Cy Young or Most Valuable Player.

Buck Showalter won the Manager of the Year in 2014. Cal Ripken Jr. was the last Orioles MVP in 1991, and Steve Stone, who set a club record of 25 wins, was the last Orioles Cy Young winner.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. The Cartoon Bird

    October 23, 2020 at 7:19 am

    With Hays in LF, Mullins in CF, and Santander in RF, the Orioles might have their best defensive alignment going forward.

    • Bhoffman1

      October 23, 2020 at 11:04 am

      Mountcastle will be playing left next year and Manicini on first hopefully. We may still have to endure Davis on first too occasionally

    • Bhoffman1

      October 23, 2020 at 11:06 am

      And Diaz will arrive sometime next year.

    • dlgruber1

      October 23, 2020 at 5:11 pm

      Bhoff I’m just curious as you seem to be very knowledgeable about what’s happening with the O’s. I heard almost nothing about Diaz from the alternate site this past season. What makes you feel so certain he’ll be in their plans for next season? It would be nice if the main guy they got for Machado would become a regular but I certainly haven’t heard a word about him as far as his performance goes at all.

    • Bhoffman1

      October 24, 2020 at 4:38 pm

      You heard nothing because you weren’t listening when Elias spoke about how great he’s looked or when his teammate Dean Kremer said he’s a five tool player and the ball explodes off his bat.

  2. In The Triangle

    October 23, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Great article. Thanks.

    After reading this article I have a much, much better understanding of the phrase “small sample size”.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 23, 2020 at 10:38 am

      Thank you, Triangle.

  3. Orial

    October 23, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Very interesting that Santander’s up for that award. More interesting is his comoetition–Gallo I assumed was a DH type and Frazier a part-time player. Back to Santander–thought he had flaws coming in on the ball(he and Alberto let a few drop in because of hesitancy),not quick to the gaps. But I guess I’m wrong–which is good. As far as a Mullins,Hays,Santander OF yes it looks good until Diaz,Kjerstad,Jarrett etc. arrive. So we’ll see. Just refreshing to be going in the right direction is the main thing.

    • Bancells Moustache

      October 23, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Surprised me as well. I knew Santander had a nice season but that was mainly at the plate. He never struck me as exceptional with the leather, in fact the talk about him coming into this season was that he was a potential liability out there.

  4. CalsPals

    October 23, 2020 at 8:43 am

    I would assume Mancini & Mountcastle will be in the mix as OFers…go O’s…

  5. willmiranda

    October 23, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Had Mountcastle started the season, I believe he would now be the favorite. His eligibility for
    next year is meaningless, except that undecided voters this year might be disinclined to vote for
    him since another candidate would not have a chance next year. Plus, voters next year might
    prefer not to vote for a red-shirt rookie.

    • ClayDal

      October 23, 2020 at 11:31 am

      As long as Mountcastle is eligible, it shouldn’t affect how the writers vote. If he deserves ROY, he will get it. Ichiro was ROY in 2001 and was 28. And I’m not sure about this, Rich could clear this up. Don’t the baseball writers rotate the end of season awards every year? So this years voters wouldn’t necessarily be the same voters next year.

      • willmiranda

        October 23, 2020 at 1:49 pm

        I agree, Clay, that if Mountcastle plays like a 28-year-old Ichiro, he will have a good shot at ROY. I also agree that biases and sentiments shouldn’t affect the way people vote. But “shoulds” are not always realities. I don’t want to make too much of this, but I believe that if Mountcastle had played the full season at the level he played half a season, he would win now and that a certain present is preferable to a potential future. Still, he may get it this year. After all, Santander’s up for a gold glove on a partial season.

      • Rich Dubroff

        October 23, 2020 at 3:30 pm

        John, you are correct. It’s customary for voters to not have the same assignment in consecutive years.

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 23, 2020 at 11:14 am

    I don’t know what the heck the rest of y’all were watching but let’s get real.

    I love Anthony. Love the guy. I’ve been saying for quite some time, going back to his rule 5 year and Bowie, that this guy has the look of a star player. Nobody that reads this site can tell me otherwise, but ….

    A gold glove candidate? Really? Puhleeeeeeeeze. It’s come to this? If it’s down to him, Frazier and Joey Gallo, all I can say is how far the bar has sunk since the days of Clemente, Dawson, Winfield and Valentine! Maybe Mookie being is Lala land helps as well, but frankly, it’s laughable.

    I don’t know spit about what the metrics say, but I know a player when I see one, and despite being in the bag for Tony, frankly, defensively this guy couldn’t hold the jock of one Nicky Markakis. Remember kids, you can only make errors if you get to the ball. Maybe it’s due to a lack of competition in right, but this guy isn’t a gold glover. And neither are Gallo and Frazier.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 23, 2020 at 11:20 am

      I should add… great read today Rich. You got me all fired up.

      • Bancells Moustache

        October 23, 2020 at 11:59 am

        I’ll be perfectly frank, I think I am a fairly astute observer of the game of baseball and I don’t know that I cold tell you the difference between a Gold Glove rightfielder and an average one. It’s not like Shortstop or Catcher. Outside of the occasional Dave Parker gunning down Brian Downing at the plate, can a person really tell the difference in 60 games with the naked eye?

        • Rich Dubroff

          October 23, 2020 at 3:33 pm

          Steve, awards voting is always subjective, and fielding voting, of which the Baseball Writers are not a part, is extremely subjective. As I wrote, there’s no voting for the Gold Gloves this year. It’s purely done by the metrics, which can also be subjective.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          October 23, 2020 at 6:02 pm

          BanMo .. the example you give … Parking gunning down Downing … I don’t remember specifically, but I get the point. However the arm is only part of the defensive equation. Maybe there isn’t a whole lot of difference in today’s AL players, but certainly you can see a difference between a Mookie Betts going & getting ’em vs. an Anthony Santander? I’m old enough to remember seeing Clemente roam what used to be vast the right fields of some of the older ball parks and how much ground he covered. Winfield likewise. And the others I listed certainly would, and did cover more ground than Santander does. I don’t remember those guys shying away from the wall like Anthony does either. I’m certainly not the most astute observer of the game, but I do think I can tell the difference between an average player, and one that I think of as Gold Glover

          Maybe it’s just a lack of great defensive right fielders this year, I dunno, but I DO know right field is where you tell the last kid picked on your team to go stand. Maybe it’s that simple this year? I’ve seen great defensive players in right field before, and those 3 ain’t great.

          • willmiranda

            October 24, 2020 at 11:05 am

            Boog, would you accept Al Kaline and Dewey Evans on your list?

          • Bancells Moustache

            October 24, 2020 at 12:48 pm

            Boog, the guys you are talking about are Hall of Famers. If the bar for a Gold Glove is “plays like Clemente”, gonna be awful tough to give one out every year.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            October 25, 2020 at 8:41 pm

            Dawson and Valentine weren’t. Markakis isn’t. How about guys like Dewey Evans which WillMiranda brought up? (sorry Will, I don’t remember seeing Kaline)

            There are others that aren’t HOF that were way better than Santander. My point is, Santander and the other 2 finalists really aren’t that good defensively, and yet, they’re up for Gold Gloves?

      • Rich Dubroff

        October 23, 2020 at 3:30 pm

        Thank you, Ken. Happy to get you going.

    • dlgruber1

      October 23, 2020 at 5:24 pm

      I’m sure I’m just showing my age now but I’m SO sick and tired of metrics taking over baseball. It’s because of metrics young fans will never again see a Palmer, Seaver or Gibson, guys who threw complete games regularly. They probably won’t ever see a a Rod Carew or Tony Gwynn, guts who just hit line drives all over the field and could not be pitched to or defended. All they’ll see is pitchers throwing as hard as they can and hitters swinging for the fences no matter what the situation is in the game, be it the 1st inning or the 9th. Now apparently the Gold Glove will be awarded because of metrics. Tony Gwynn, thru sheer hard work and a commitment to become the best all around player he could possibly be, won 5 Gold Gloves. My guess is the metrics wouldn’t have even considered him for one. Yet it appears Clint Frazier or Joey Gallo may share the same honor as Gwynn. Something is seriously wrong with that. Thanks for letting me rant.

    • CalsPals

      October 23, 2020 at 5:37 pm

      Totally agree, how far have they fallen, I like Santander but NEVER would’ve used his name in a sentence with gold glove on it, GG winners make all the plays they should, some they shouldn’t & are spectacular with others, don’t see it…go O’s…

  7. Rob IsraOsFan

    October 23, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    In my book, Gold Glove outfielders are those who make the homerun-robbing over-the-fence grabs look easy, the ones who make shoestring scoops with their eyes closed. I think of the super athletes, the Kenny Loftons, Griffey Jrs., Jim Edmonds, and Ichiros.

    Defensively, the Santanders of the world are a dime a dozen, and definitely not worthy of even being considered a Gold Glove finalist.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 23, 2020 at 6:04 pm

      I agree with your assessment Rob, but I have to point out that all 4 of the outfielders you mentioned played center field … not right field.

    • Rob IsraOsFan

      October 24, 2020 at 4:14 am

      Thanks BRR. I agree with your distinction between CF and RF (although Ichiro did play more than 80 percent of his ML career in right).

      But yes, the bar has been significantly lowered with this year’s nomination.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 24, 2020 at 10:15 am

        I stand corrected sir.

    • CalsPals

      October 24, 2020 at 8:16 am

      At one time were the GG outfielders voted on like the all star game, top three get the award, or have they always had a GG for each position…asking for a friend…go O’s…

    • Rob IsraOsFan

      October 24, 2020 at 8:59 am

      Rich wrote above that “Outfield positions were first recognized in 2011.”

      So I assume that prior to 2011, GGs were given to three outfielders (in each league) regardless of their specific position (LF/CF/RF).

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 24, 2020 at 9:24 am

      You are correct, Rob.

    • CalsPals

      October 24, 2020 at 10:54 am

      Thx fellas…go O’s…

  8. WorldlyView

    October 23, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    I want to nominate Elias for a new award category as the [fill in the blank] GM.

    • CalsPals

      October 23, 2020 at 5:39 pm

      LMAO…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 23, 2020 at 6:07 pm

      [Best Hair]

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