Yesterday, Rawlings announced the AL and NL finalists for their annual Gold Glove awards for each position. There were a lot of deserving candidates, while some were questionable, which made for interesting debates over the last 24 hours. The biggest question to me is: Why is Jackie Bradley Jr. not even considered?
The 27 year old saw his best defensive season of his career in 2017. While not only making numerous highlight catches (the famous Aaron Judge robbery), he even flashed his powerful arm more confidently, and most importantly he was consistent. Don’t get me wrong, Kevin Pillar, Byron Buxton, and Lorenzo Cain all had good defensive seasons, but why is Lorenzo Cain put on this list over Jackie? JBJ ranked third in FanGraphs “Defensive Runs Above Avg.” with a 6.2. He only trailed behind Pillar (8.3) and Buxton (11.8). Cain had a mere 3.8.
During his five-year Major League career, he has only been nominated once. In a vital offseason for him amidst trade and extension rumors, the soon to be free agent just lost a solid piece that would have made him seem more valuable to impending teams. While his offense is streaky at best, the center fielder had a standout season, receiving recognition for his outstanding fielding skills. During last year’s offseason a video went viral of him throwing a ball from home plate in Fenway Park, all the way over the center field wall! A throw that is more than 415 feet!
Hopefully, this shouldn’t deter him from having another stellar defensive (and hopefully offensive) breakout year next season! Wherever he ends up playing, just know that nobody runs on Jackie Bradley Jr.!