PHILADELPHIA -- J.T. Realmuto's strong right arm earned him his first Gold Glove.
Rawlings announced Sunday night that Realmuto won the National League’s Gold Glove at catcher. He edged Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Padres catcher Austin Hedges to become the first Phillies catcher to win a Gold Glove since Mike Lieberthal in 1999 and the third catcher in franchise history to win one. Bob Boone won two of his seven Gold Gloves with Philadelphia (1978 and ’79).
Realmuto is the first Phillies player to win a Gold Glove since Jimmy Rollins won at shortstop in 2012.
Realmuto, 28, finished the season as the highest-rated defender in baseball at 27.8 DEF (Defensive Runs Above Average), according to FanGraphs. He threw out 37 of 86 basestealers (43 percent), 15 more than any other catcher. He ranked fifth among NL catchers in Runs Extra Strikes (eight), a Statcast framing metric. He had the fastest pop time (1.88 seconds) among all catchers. His max effort throws averaged 88.4 mph, which were the fastest in baseball (minimum 15 attempts to second base).
“I’ve never had a Gold Glove and that’s something I’ve definitely always wanted in my career, especially at the catching position it’s really hard to get, so it would mean a lot to me,” Realmuto said late in the season. “Cross my fingers on that one.”
Realmuto’s first season with the Phillies was a success, which is why the club is expected to sign him to a multiyear contract extension before next season. He finished with 5.7 WAR, seventh among NL position players and 15th in baseball.
As one of the NL’s nine Gold Glove winners, Realmuto is now eligible for the Platinum Glove Award, which is given to the best defensive player from each league. Voting for the award, which was established in 2011, is open at Rawlings.com and will continue until 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday. The two league winners will be announced on Friday.
Bryce Harper and Aaron Nola were finalists for Gold Gloves at right fielder and pitcher, respectively. The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger won in right field and Zack Greinke, who started the season with the D-backs, won at pitcher. The Phillies have not had an outfielder win a Gold Glove since Shane Victorino in 2010. They have not had a pitcher win one since Steve Carlton in 1981.