Since making his MLB debut in June 2013, Yasiel Puig has played a stellar right field for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His awe-inspiring talent and ability to make the difficult appear routine nonetheless did come with some growing pains.
Over recent seasons Puig steadily eliminated his number of mental errors. Throws began to go to the cutoff man when necessary, and he improved on throwing to the correct base, even if it meant sacrificing a run.
This past season, Puig played arguably his best defensively. It garnered him rave reviews from Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi and manager Dave Roberts, among others. There was an expectation Puig would be reward with a Gold Glove Award.
Yet, when the winners were announced Tuesday night, it was Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward who took home a Gold Glove. The award was Heyward’s fourth in a row and fifth of his career.
Shortly after the announcement was made on ESPN, Puig took to Twitter and predicted he would win a Gold Glove Award next season:
No matter what they do or how much they try to keep me from it. I will win a Gold Glove next year, I'm coming back for what I deserve.
— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) November 8, 2017
Heyward and Puig tied with 18 Defensive Runs Saved, while it was Puig who led National League right fielders in Defensive Runs Above Average (5.1) and UZR/150 (15.5). Heyward was second in each category, with 5.1 and 10.3, respectively.
What may have worked against the Dodgers’ right fielder is Gold Glove Awards are voted on by managers and coaches. The final component of the equation is the SABR Defensive Index. The metrics favored Heyward, and he possibly also benefitted from Puig’s reputation that’s rubbed some the wrong way.