For the second year in a row, Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado were each awarded a Platinum Glove. Gold Glove Award winners were announced last week; from among them, one player in each league is selected as the best overall defensive player for the Platinum Glove.
For Chapman, it’s his second Platinum Glove. For Arenado, it’s his third, having also won it in 2017 alongside the Twins Byron Buxton.
Chapman, 26, was rated as 18 runs above average according to Baseball Reference. That contributed heavily to his 6.7 WAR and helped the Athletics claim the first of the two AL Wild Card slots.
Arenado, 28, also has seven Gold Gloves to his name. Baseball Reference only pegged him at nine runs above average. FanGraphs’ UZR was kinder to him, putting him at 10.3 for the second-best mark among third basemen behind Chapman (14.8).
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.