We already went over the American League Gold Glove winners, so now it’s the National League’s turn.
Again, things were a little different this year. In addition to three finalists at each defensive position, we also had one winner from each outfield position for the first time.
Courtesy of the Associated Press, here are your 2011 NL Gold Glove winners:
C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals (fourth Gold Glove)
1B – Joey Votto, Reds (first Gold Glove)
2B – Brandon Phillips, Reds (third Gold Glove)
SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (second Gold Glove)
3B – Placido Polanco, Phillies (third Gold Glove)
LF – Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks (first Gold Glove)
CF – Matt Kemp, Dodgers (second Gold Glove)
RF – Andre Ethier, Dodgers (first Gold Glove)
P – Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (first Gold Glove)
Kemp, Ethier and Kershaw are the first trio of Dodgers to win the award in the same season. Kemp previously won the Gold Glove in 2009 while Ethier and Kershaw are both first-time winners. Again, I’m not going to waste too much time railing against the voting process, but Ethier sticks out like a sore thumb on this list. Justin Upton, who was announced as a Fielding Bible award winner on Monday, wasn’t even one of the finalists for right field. Oh well.
On the bright side, there aren’t too many other complaints here. Yadier Molina was a no-brainer behind the plate, becoming the first NL catcher to win the Gold Glove in four consecutive seasons since Charles Johnson from 1995-1998. While not a household name, Arizona’s Gerardo Parra was a tremendous pick for left field. Kudos for getting that one right. Polanco was pretty much a lock to win at a watered-down third base position, despite appearing in just 122 games this season. He joins Darin Erstad as the only players to win Gold Gloves at two positions.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: