The Kansas City Royals are back in the World Series, and they are halfway to the four wins they'll need for their first title since 1985. One of the big reasons for their recent run of success is their defense, and that excellence has been acknowledged for the second consecutive year.
The 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalists were announced on Thursday morning, and the Royals led the American League with four nominees.
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Kansas City, which leads the New York Mets, 2-0, in the best-of-seven Fall Classic that resumes play Friday at Citi Field (7:30 p.m. ET airtime on FOX, game time 8 p.m.), features first baseman Eric Hosmer, left fielder Alex Gordon and catcher Salvador Perez, who are all defending Gold Glove Award winners, along with shortstop Alcides Escobar, in the list of finalists.
The National League-champion Mets are currently starting two Gold Glove Award finalists, although one -- left fielder Yoenis Cespedes -- earned his 2015 nod for the Tigers, with whom he spent most of the season before being traded to New York. Right fielder Curtis Granderson is New York's other finalist.
Last year's World Series champion, the San Francisco Giants, led the NL with four finalists this year: first baseman Brandon Belt, shortstop Brandon Crawford, third baseman Matt Duffy and catcher Buster Posey.
Major League managers and coaches, voting only within their league and unable to vote for players on their own teams, account for 75 percent of the selection process. The other 25 percent goes to the sabermetrics community.
The winners will be revealed Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
In addition to Perez, Hosmer and Gordon, Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel is a defending Gold Glove Award winner who has also made the cut as a finalist in 2015.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager, Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy and center fielder Adam Jones and right fielder Nick Markakis, who was with the Orioles in 2014 and is now with Atlanta, are defending Gold Glove Award winners who are not AL finalists this year.
The NL finalists are full of defending Gold Glove Award winners.
Pitcher Zack Greinke of the Dodgers, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who has won this honor for seven consecutive seasons, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Colorado second baseman DJ LeMahieu and third baseman Nolan Arenado are finalists once again, as are Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich and Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward, who won this award last year while with the Braves. Center fielder Juan Lagares of the Mets is the only 2014 NL winner who is not a finalist this year.
In the AL, the resurgence of the Blue Jays was reflected with three Gold Glove finalists: pitcher Mark Buehrle, catcher Russell Martin and first-time finalist Kevin Pillar, who earned the nod for his stellar work in center field. The team that finished second to the Blue Jays in the AL East also had three finalists. Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, shortstop Didi Gregorius and left fielder Brett Gardner made the cut for 2015.
The other two AL teams with three finalists apiece were the Tigers, with Cespedes, second baseman Ian Kinsler and right fielder J.D. Martinez, and the Astros, with Keuchel, second baseman Jose Altuve and catcher Jason Castro.
In the NL, the Marlins, Reds and Pirates checked in with three finalists apiece. Yelich was a finalist once again in left, as was shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria for the second straight year. Second baseman Dee Gordon was named a finalist after his first season with the Marlins.
Cincinnati finalists were former Gold Glove Award winner Brandon Phillips at second base, along with center fielder Billy Hamilton and third baseman Todd Frazier. The Pirates' trio of finalists is comprised of center fielder Andrew McCutchen, pitcher Gerrit Cole and left fielder Starling Marte.
Molina is the leader among this season's finalists with seven Gold Gloves, tied for third in history among catchers with Bob Boone behind Ivan Rodriguez (13) and Johnny Bench (10).
Here is the complete list of finalists:
Pitcher: Mark Buehrle (Blue Jays), Sonny Gray (A's), Dallas Keuchel (Astros)
Catcher: Jason Castro (Astros), Russell Martin (Blue Jays), Salvador Perez (Royals)
First base: Eric Hosmer (Royals), Mike Napoli (Rangers), Mark Teixeira (Yankees)
Second base: Jose Altuve (Astros), Brian Dozier (Twins), Ian Kinsler (Tigers)
Third base: Adrian Beltre (Rangers), Evan Longoria (Rays), Manny Machado (Orioles)
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox), Alcides Escobar (Royals), Didi Gregorius (Yankees)
Left field: Yoenis Cespedes (formerly Tigers), Brett Gardner (Yankees), Alex Gordon (Royals)
Center field: Kevin Kiermaier (Rays), Kevin Pillar (Blue Jays), Mike Trout (Angels)
Right field: Kole Calhoun (Angels), J.D. Martinez (Tigers), Josh Reddick (A's)
Pitcher: Jake Arrieta (Cubs), Gerrit Cole (Pirates), Zack Greinke (Dodgers)
Catcher: Yadier Molina (Cardinals), Buster Posey (Giants), Wilson Ramos (Nationals)
First base: Brandon Belt (Giants), Paul Goldschmidt (D-backs), Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers)
Second base: Dee Gordon (Marlins), DJ LeMahieu (Rockies), Brandon Phillips (Reds)
Third base: Nolan Arenado (Rockies), Matt Duffy (Giants), Todd Frazier (Reds)
Shortstop: Brandon Crawford (Giants), Adeiny Hechavarria (Marlins), Andrelton Simmons (Braves)
Left field: Starling Marte (Pirates), Justin Upton (Padres), Christian Yelich (Marlins)
Center field: Billy Hamilton (Reds), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), A.J. Pollock (D-backs)
Right field: Curtis Granderson (Mets), Bryce Harper (Nationals), Jason Heyward (Cardinals)
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.