These are the best gloves in the AL West
The players with the best hands in baseball often have the best feet.
It’s true. The game’s top defenders have above-average footwork. Their throwing arms are better than most, too. There’s also an active internal clock once the ball is put in play. And don’t forget about natural instincts these players all show on a nightly basis. New advanced metrics have helped confirm what we have seen all along: Some players are just defensive wizards and many of those play in the American League West.
For our AL West notebook this week, our beat reporters identified the player on the clubs they cover with the best glove. Here is what the experts said:
Angels: Andrelton Simmons
Simmons is considered arguably the best defensive shortstop of his era, as he's won four Gold Glove Awards, a Wilson MLB Overall Defensive Player of the Year Award and six Fielding Bible Awards. Simmons has incredible range, sure hands and a strong arm that makes him a complete shortstop. Simmons was limited to 103 games last year because of a severe ankle sprain but was still named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year at shortstop for the sixth time in the past seven years. The Angels have other solid defenders on their club including Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and David Fletcher, but it's tough to top Simmons with his defensive prowess. -- Rhett Bollinger
Astros: Alex Bregman
In addition to being one of the game’s premier offensive players, Bregman is the best defensive third baseman in the AL not named Matt Chapman. A finalist for an AL Gold Glove Award last season, Bregman showed his versatility by making 59 starts at shortstop (in addition to 91 at third) while Carlos Correa was injured. Despite playing so many games at third, Bregman ranked second in the AL in defensive runs saved at third base (behind Chapman). He also ranked third among AL shortstops in fielding percentage (.986) with a minimum of 50 games at the position. -- Brian McTaggart
Athletics: Matt Chapman
With two AL Gold Glove Awards under his belt over his first two full seasons, Matt Olson could probably be the best defensive player on most other clubs in baseball. Ramón Laureano has also been known to make some amazing plays in center field. But those two come behind their teammate at the hot corner in Chapman. The work Chapman has turned in at third base since debuting in 2017 has been nothing short of spectacular.
Like Olson, Chapman has won AL Gold Glove Awards in each of his first two full seasons. But in addition to that hardware, he’s also captured two AL Platinum Glove Awards, which is given out to the league’s best defensive player, regardless of position. Chapman’s defensive wizardry makes him a generational talent who is already drawing comparisons to other legends who have manned third over the years. He gets to show off his range in the spacious foul grounds of the Oakland Coliseum. His arm is also so strong that it allows him to play at a deeper depth than any third baseman around the league.
To get an idea of just how ridiculously good Chapman’s defense is, consider this mind-blowing stat: Since debuting in 2017, Chapman’s 79 DRS, per FanGraphs, leads the Majors. The next closest is Nolan Arenado, with 40. -- Martin Gallegos
Mariners: Evan White
When the Mariners drafted White with a first-round pick out of Kentucky in 2017, they immediately began touting his impressive glovework. And the athletic 24-year-old hasn’t disappointed, showing at every opportunity that he’s an outstanding first baseman and potential Gold Glove-caliber defender. White spent last year at Double-A Arkansas, but he’s penciled in as Seattle’s starting first baseman this season after signing a six-year, $24 million Major League deal in December despite having yet to play in the big leagues.
Some scouts have used John Olerud as a defensive comparison, which is lofty praise. Rawlings selected White as its Minor League Gold Glove first baseman in 2018 after his first full season of pro ball in Class A Advanced Modesto, and White certainly has looked the part in his initial opportunities with the Mariners. -- Greg Johns
Rangers: Ronald Guzmán
The Rangers see the first baseman as a future Gold Glove Award winner. On a team with shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Rougned Odor, Guzman rates as the best glove with soft hands and a smooth, confident approach to playing first base. He is also nicknamed “The Condor” because of his wide “wingspan.” His agile 6-foot-5 frame and his superb glovework allows him to snatch throws high off the mark or in the dirt to save his fellow infielders from a throwing error. He was in a Spring Training battle with Greg Bird to be the Rangers' starting first baseman and still must show he can hit. But Guzman had the edge in the competition because of his glovework. -- T.R. Sullivan