Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper said in September it would be “an absolute joke” if catcher J.T. Realmuto didn’t ultimately win the National League Gold Glove Award in 2019.
Realmuto passed the first test Thursday, as he was named one of the three finalists for the award. St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina – who has won the award nine times – is a finalist as well, along with San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges.
In his first season with the Phillies, Realmuto was a defensive superstar, throwing out 37 would-be basestealers, while posting 8.0 framing runs above average and 11 defensive runs saved. Not only did Realmuto grade out as the best overall catcher defensively in 2019, but FanGraphs says that he was the best defensive player at any position in baseball.
If Realmuto wins the National League Gold Glove Award for catcher, he’ll become eligible for the Platinum Glove Award, which is given to the top overall defender in the National League and American League. The Platinum Glove Award has a fan voting component, while also taking into account the SABR defensive index.
Harper was also nominated for the Gold Glove Award in right field, joined by Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger and Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward. After posting -16 defensive runs saved and zero outfield assists from right field in 2018 with the Washington Nationals, Harper posted nine defensive runs saved and had 13 outfield assists in 2019. Bellinger, the likely National League MVP, will almost certainly win the award. Still, though, it was a pretty impressive first year in Philadelphia for Harper defensively.
The last Phillies position player to win a Gold Glove Award was Placido Polanco in 2013 at third base.
Meanwhile, RHP Aaron Nola was also nominated for the Gold Glove Award for National League pitchers. St. Louis Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty and Houston Astros RHP Zack Greinke are the other two National League nominees. Greinke was traded to the American League before the July 31 trade deadline, but spent the bulk of his season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s won the award five consecutive times.
The last Phillies pitcher to win the National League Gold Glove Award was Hall of Famer Steve Carlton in 1981.
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