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Galvis, Herrera named Gold Glove finalists

FreddyGalvis-210x300.jpgSome fun award news (probably the only award news) announced today: Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera have been named Rawlings Gold Glove award finalists.

Doesn’t mean they’ll win gold gloves, just that they’re in the running.

Galvis is up against shortstops Addison Russell and Brandon Crawford for the National League honor, while Herrera’s co-finalists are Ender Inciarte and Billy Hamilton.

Galvis had a tremendous year fielding his position. Fangraphs rates him a defensive number of 22 (measuring his defensive value relative to the league average; higher better), which rates him second in the National League to Crawford, slightly ahead of Russell (these are the three best choices). His ultimate zone rating of 14 (how many runs he saved, approximately) is quite a bit below his competition, however. Galvis committed eight errors in 2016, which is low for an everyday shortstop. To compare, Crawford committed 11 errors, and Russell committed 14.

Put good money on Crawford to win it. His numbers overshadow the competition, plus – and maybe more importantly in this stuff – he’s popularly known as a highly skilled defensive player. Galvis just got here. But a great honor, nonetheless. Galvis deserves it.

You may be puzzled, however, to hear about Herrera’s nomination. His nine errors rank first in the National League among all qualified center fielders, but his defensive number of 6.1 is third in the league (to Hamilton and Inciarte), and his UZR of 3.9, also third, also to the same duo.

My take: Center field is a two-horse race between Inciarte and Hamilton (it’s a pick-em), and they just need a third finalist in every position. Of all the rest, Herrera is next.

But look, Herrera isn’t bad. Sure, he’s not great, but he isn’t bad. In just his second year patrolling an outfield position (and the hardest one), and in the major leagues no less, Herrera has improved markedly. He still runs questionable routes and has made a few too many errors, but he covers plenty of ground and limits his big mistakes.

While Herrera is little more than a filler nominee of the award, it’s still merited.

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