Four Giants named Gold Glove finalists
Crawford, Posey, Duffy and Belt up for defensive award
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants received a chance to match their biggest Gold Glove haul in history, though common sense suggests that turning this quadruple play won't happen.
Four Giants were named finalists for the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, a Major League-high number of candidates equaled by two-time American League champion Kansas City. The Giants' finalists are shortstop Brandon Crawford, third baseman Matt Duffy, catcher Buster Posey and first baseman Brandon Belt.
No Giant has won a Gold Glove since shortstop Omar Vizquel in 2006. Mike Matheny was the team's last catcher to earn the distinction in 2005. J.T. Snow, in 2000, took home San Francisco's last Gold Glove at first base. And no Giants third baseman has captured the honor since Matt Williams in 1994.
Moreover, each member of San Francisco's slick-fielding quartet faces imposing competition.
Based on his election to the National League All-Star team this year through the players' vote, Crawford appears to have burst into promimence. Gold Glove voting is handled by big league managers and coaches (75 percent) and members of the sabermetrics community (25 percent). But evolution often occurs slowly in Gold Glove voting due to a player's lingering reputation. Hence, Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons, winner of the previous two NL Gold Gloves at shortstop and finalist again this year, remains a strong choice to repeat. Miami's Adeiny Hechavarria is the other shortstop finalist.
Speaking after the regular-season finale, Crawford admitted that his mind occasionally wandered in the direction of the Gold Glove.
"I've thought about it a time or two," he said with a faint smile. "It obviously would be a big honor, but it's not up to me. I would love it if I got it."
Simmons, Hechavarria and Crawford ranked 1-2-3 in FanGraphs.com's total defensive metrics.
Posey also faces formidable opposition, most notably in St. Louis' Yadier Molina, who has won seven consecutive Gold Gloves. Washington's Wilson Ramos is the other finalist. Posey, who started 103 games at catcher and 37 at first base, feels more comfortable behind the plate, though speculation persists that he'll ultimately move to first.
"I definitely still enjoy catching," Posey said. "That's the spot [where] I want to be."
At third, Duffy has virtually no chance of beating out Colorado's Nolan Arenado. Cincinnati's Todd Frazier is also a finalist. Nevertheless, receiving a finalist's share of votes represents a triumph for Duffy, who appeared in just five professional games at third before this year.
"I've become a big Matt Duffy fan, watching him in the last few months," Posey said.
Belt led all NL first basemen with a .9974 fielding percentage. But the other two finalists are former Gold Glove winners -- Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt and Los Angeles' Adrian Gonzalez.