The Phillies defense was one of the biggest team improvements of 2019. In 2018, the team was 29th in fielding percentage and errors committed. In 2019, the Phillies improved to 15th in errors committed and 12th in fielding percentage.
That improvement has yielded 3 Rawlings Gold Glove finalists for the Phillies.
We all knew that JT Realmuto would be here. His defense was the highlight of his first year with the Phillies. Had he not been named as a finalist, there might have been riots in South Philadelphia.
That pop time, the arm strength, that wink.
All are things of beauty. His 47% caught stealing percentage was the highest in all of baseball. To put that into perspective, 35% is considered a good mark for a catcher.
It would come as a surprise to all of Philadelphia if Realmuto doesn’t with the Gold Glove for NL catchers. He is going up against Yadier Molina and Austin Hedges. Both are great defensive catchers in their own right.
Bryce Harper’s nomination came at no shock… to Phillies fans.
It’s true. Look over the Twitterverse and you’ll find people actually angry that Bryce Harper is a GG nominee. Te cold hard fact is that Harper led all National League outfielders in outfield assists with 13. Hunter Renfroe also recorded 13 outfield assists and is nominated for the left-field GG award (even though he played more RF than LF).
Watch those videos and tell me Harper doesn’t belong as a finalist.
Harper will be opposed by possible MVP Cody Bellinger and Jason Heyward. Heyward is a 5X Rawlings Gold Glove winner, but will not be the favorite as he’s regressed in recent years. From 2012-2017, he recorded at least 1.2 defensive bWAR.
The last nominee was an actual surprise. Aaron Nola will go against Jack Flaherty and Zack Greinke for the NL GG for pitchers.
Zack Greinke has 5 Gold Gloves already, but he has 2 things going against him. 1) He had a .981 fielding percentage with the Diamondbacks. 2) He was traded to the Astros on July 31st.
Both Nola and Flaherty were errorless in 2019. Nola has the edge in defensive runs saved (5-3) over Flaherty. It’s looking like Nola will have a solid shot at this.
Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Alec Kostival graduated from La Salle University with a degree in communication with a focus in mass media and journalism. He covered high school sports for the Chestnut Hill Local. He has interned with the Reading Fightin Phils and the Philadelphia Eagles.