Major League Baseball had a fantastic year of defensive highlights as a whole and it was further evident with a significant amount of first-time Gold Glove Award winners.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had finalists in Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and David Peralta.
Since the inaugural Gold Glove Awards were handed out in 1957, the most first-time winners stands at 14, which was set in 2022. In 2023, 13 first-time winners were named, with a few rookies taking home hardware.
The Texas Rangers led the American League with three Gold Glove winners (five finalists), and the Chicago Cubs had three as well to pace the National League.
Heading into the official announcement, the Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays each had five finalists, the most by any MLB club.
Gold Glove winners were determined by a combination of voting from MLB managers, coaches, as well as the SABR Defensive Index. All 30 managers, and up to six coaches from each organization cast a vote from a pool of players in their respective league, excluding players from their own team.
Manager and coaches votes counted for 75% of the vote total, with the SABR Defensive Index making up the remaining 25%.
The Dodgers were shut out from all Gold Glove Awards categories, as Betts, Freeman and Peralta missed out in their respective categories. For Betts, that was right field in addition to the utility position.
This season, Peralta finished with just -3 outs above average (OAA), which placed him in the 24th percentile of left fielders and ranked 21st in the NL. Among left fielders with at least 100 innings played, Peralta ranked 47th of 94 with a -1 fielding run value.
Meanwhile, the veteran outfielder graded out better by non-Statcast defensive metrics. Peralta finished with seven defensive runs saved (DRS) and an ultimate zone rating per 150 innings (UZR/150) of 13 in left field.
Betts had a terrific year at multiple positions. Having previously won six Gold Glove Awards in right field, he’s one of three players who were nominated at two positions.
During his 107 games played in right field, Betts recorded eight assists, had three defensive runs saved and did not commit an error. Betts finished the season with -1 outs above average (OAA) in right field and totaled -1 run prevented.
Betts also played 70 games at second base and 16 as a shortstop. He was the only player in 2023 to have positive defensive runs saved at both an infield position and in the outfield while playing at least 400 innings at each.
Freeman figured to be a long shot to win a Gold Glove this year due to not grading out well in multiple defensive metrics.
2023 Gold Glove Award winners
Pitcher: José Berríos, Toronto Blue Jays
Catcher: Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers
First base: Nathaniel Lowe, Texas Rangers
Second base: Andrés Giménez, Cleveland Guardians
Third base: Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays
Shortstop: Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees
Left field: Steven Kwan, Cleveland Guardians
Center field:Kevin Kiermaier, Toronto Blue Jays
Right field: Adolis García, Texas Rangers
Utility: Mauricio Dubón, Houston Astros
Pitcher: Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies
Catcher: Gabriel Moreno, Arizona Diamondbacks
First base: Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks
Second base: Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs
Third base: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates
Shortstop: Dansby Swanson, Chicago Cubs
Left field: Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs
Center field: Brenton Doyle, Colorado Rockies
Right field: Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
Utility: Ha-Seong Kim, San Diego Padres
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