The annual Platinum Glove Awards were handed out to the top defenders in each league this weekend. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado collected his third career Platinum Glove for the National League, while Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman took home honors for the American League.
The award itself was created in 2011 to recognize a pair of premier defensive players among the current pool of Gold Glove winners. In 2018, that pool included AL standouts Matt Olson, Ian Kinsler, Andrelton Simmons, Alex Gordon, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Salvador Pérez, and Dallas Keuchel, as well as NL nominees Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, DJ LeMahieu, Nick Ahmed, Corey Dickerson, Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, Yadier Molina, and Zach Greinke. Since 2013, the two Platinum Glove winners have been determined by a combination of fan voting and input from the SABR Defensive Index, though this proved a flawed system in years past.
This year, however, there’s little fault to be found with the selections. Both Arenado and Chapman looked exceptional at the hot corner in 2018; according to FanGraphs, 25-year-old Chapman polished off his sophomore campaign in the majors with 6.5 fWAR and 29 defensive runs saved, a league-leading mark among all AL and NL players at any position. (He has a mind-boggling highlight reel to back up those numbers, too.)
Arenado, meanwhile, held his own in the NL with a career-high 5.7 fWAR and five defensive runs saved. Like the rest of the league’s top defenders, though, he couldn’t hold a candle to Chapman’s infield wizardry and was edged out of a fourth straight Fielding Bible Award when the A’s third baseman laid claim to the hardware earlier this week.