The 2018 Defensive Player of the Year Awards were unveiled on Wednesday evening on MLB Network. The award, created in 2012, determines winners “using a formula that combines traditional defensive stats with advanced metrics, as well as the data logged by the baseball experts working for the scouting service Inside Edge,” according to MLB. The award started out splitting the leagues similar to Gold Gloves, but has been unified since 2014.
Best Overall Defensive Player: Matt Chapman, Athletics
Defensive Team of the Year: Arizona Diamondbacks
Most of these players, with the exception of Zunino and Kiermaier, were also 2018 Gold Glove Award winners as well, which isn’t surprising. Chapman over Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, both for the position-specific award and for the “Best Overall Defensive Player” award, might be controversial. Chapman, however, played reeeeeally good defense at third base, it just went under the radar since he plays for the Athletics.
For the D-Backs, it’s the second time they earned the “Defensive Team of the Year” award.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.