Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Max Muncy, AJ Pollock and Mookie Betts were named 2021 Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalists for the National League at first base, left field and right field, respectively.
Muncy is joined in the category by the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman and St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt. Pollock is up against Tyler O’Neill of the Cardinals, and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ David Peralta.
The San Francisco Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski, and Adam Duvall of the Atlanta Braves are also up for a Gold Glove in right field.
Gold Glove Award winners will be announced Sunday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 p.m. PT on ESPN.
Last season the Dodgers were represented by Cody Bellinger and Betts as finalists. The latter of whom went on to win a fifth consecutive Gold Glove. The Dodgers collectively placed third in the inaugural National League Team Gold Glove Award.
This marks the first time in Muncy’s career he’s been in the running for the top defensive honor at his position. Meanwhile, as a member of the Diamondbacks, Pollock won a Gold Glove in center field for the 2015 season.
Muncy’s 2.9 UZR was second only to Goldschmidt (3.5) among qualified NL first basemen. However, Muncy’s 6.3 UZR/150 far and away led players at the position, with Goldschmidt a distant second at 3.2.
The Dodgers’ first baseman also had the best defense mark at -4.9, compared to -7.8 for Goldschmidt and Freeman’s -12.6. Furthermore, Muncy’s seven outs above average led all Major League first basemen; Goldschmidt ranked second in the NL with six.
The three finalists are effectively tied with a 99.8% fielding percentage, while Goldschmidt and Muncy committed the fewest errors with two each.
Pollock does not rank on the left field leader boards, but he did log 806 innings over 103 games (92 starts) at the position this season.
Among players with at least 800 innings spent in left field, Pollock is sixth with a -1.3 UZR. O’Neill is first at 6.7. What Pollock does have working in his favor is a perfect fielding percentage to go along with four assists, which is tied for third-most.
Like Pollock, Betts also does not appear on qualified leader boards for NL players at his position. He played 751.2 innings across 96 games (86 starts) in right field, and also played 212 frames in center field.
Among NL right fielders with at least 750 innings, Betts’ 1.9 UZR is fifth-best, though ahead of Yastrzemski and Duvall. Betts’ -1.9 Def is also superior to that of his fellow finalists.
Roberts predicted Gold Glove recognition for Muncy
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts regularly sings his players’ praises, but he was particularly complimentary of Muncy throughout the season.
“Not to make excuses for last year — obviously just a weird year — but this is who he is. I see him as a plus-defender at first base, Gold-Glove caliber, which he’s showing this year,” Roberts said.
“He catches the baseball, he saves a lot of runs and outs, the range has been very good, his first-step reaction time is very good. I look at my eyes and look at the metrics, he’s clearly head and shoulders above everyone.”
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