The Reds felt they were among the best defensive teams in the National League in 2017, and on Thursday, they were given validation for that assertion.First baseman Joey Votto, left fielder Adam Duvall, center fielder Billy Hamilton and catcher Tucker Barnhart were named Rawlings NL Gold Glove Award finalists. Each
The Reds felt they were among the best defensive teams in the National League in 2017, and on Thursday, they were given validation for that assertion.
First baseman Joey Votto, left fielder Adam Duvall, center fielder Billy Hamilton and catcher Tucker Barnhart were named Rawlings NL Gold Glove Award finalists. Each player is one of three nominees at his respective position for the prestigious award that recognizes the best defensive player at each position for each league. The four nominations are an NL high for any club.
The winners will be unveiled on Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
"I think we've got legitimate candidates here to win the award," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "The four guys who have been acknowledged in the final vote is really good, and I'm excited. But I would really like to see us get acknowledged beyond getting into the finalists and actually win some awards."
• All-time NL Gold Glove Award winners
This is the fourth straight year Hamilton has been nominated, though he has yet to win. In 2017, Hamilton converted three five-star catches, rated by Statcast™ as the most elite such outfield plays, those with a catch probability of 25 percent or less. The MLB high on such plays was seven by Braves center fielder and fellow finalist Ender Inciarte. The Nationals' Michael Taylor, the other finalist, also converted three five-star catches.
For Votto, Thursday's nomination was recognition for what has been a season-long goal of improving defensively. That objective was part of the reason he skipped playing in the World Baseball Classic.
"I felt like that little window, whether it was a week, three weeks, however long, that window is the most important time in Spring Training to prep," Votto said. "Had I been locked in on meaningful games, I wouldn't have been able to put in the work that I felt was valuable, paired up with the offseason work that I did. I felt like the goal was accomplished."
Votto, whose .324/.424/.600 line with 36 homers and 100 RBIs on offense are near mirror figures to what he posted when winning the 2010 NL MVP Award, is likely to be among the finalists for this year's MVP against the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton and Nolan Arenado, among others. Votto is also likely to be a finalist for the NL Silver Slugger Award at first base, which he has never won. For the Gold Glove, he is up against two-time winner Goldschmidt and reigning Platinum Glove winner Anthony Rizzo.
Barnhart, the fourth-year Reds catcher, led the NL with a 44 percent caught-stealing rate and posted an average pop time to second base of 2.01 seconds on such attempts, above the MLB average. Buster Posey, who won his first Gold Glove Award last season, and Yadier Molina, who won the previous eight, are the other finalists.
"If I were fortunate enough to win a Gold Glove, it would be like the No. 1 honor for me," Barnhart said. "It's what I am as a player, a defense-first guy. To me, it would be extremely special."
Duvall is a finalist for the second straight year. He led the Majors with 15 outfield assists and ranked 13th with nine outs above average, per Statcast™. The other left-field finalists are the Rockies' Gerardo Parra and the Marlins' Marcell Ozuna.
This year's Gold Glove Awards represent just one way the game's top performers will be recognized. Voting is underway now for the Esurance MLB Awards, which annually honor MLB's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process. MLB Awards season will culminate on Friday, Nov. 17, when winners are announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com starting at 8 p.m. ET.
• Cast your vote for Best Defensive Player, more in 2017 Esurance MLB Awards
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.