The Los Angeles Dodgers had Max Muncy (first base), AJ Pollock (left field) and Mookie Betts (right field) each fall short for a 2021 Gold Glove Award.
They were bested by St. Louis Cardinals teammates Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill, and the Atlanta Braves’ Adam Duvall, respectively.
Betts had a streak of winning the award snapped at five seasons. Betts did not finish on qualified leader boards for National League right fielders. He played 751.2 innings across 96 games (86 starts) in right field, and also 212 frames in center field.
Among NL right fielders with at least 750 innings, Betts’ 1.9 UZR was fifth-best, though ahead of Yastrzemski and Duvall. Betts’ -1.9 Defense also was superior to that of his fellow finalists. However, Duvall led all NL outfielders with 19 defensive runs saved.
Muncy was a finalist for a Gold Glove for the first time in his career. His 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. Muncy’s seven outs above average led all Major League first basemen; Goldschmidt ranked second in the NL with six.
The three finalists effectively tied with a 99.8% fielding percentage, while Goldschmidt and Muncy committed the fewest errors with two each.
What presumably worked against Muncy were his 101 starts and 901 innings at first base trailing Goldschmidt’s 153 and 1,313.
Tommy Edman (second base), Nolan Arenado (third base) and Harrison Bader (center field) joined Goldschmidt and O’Neill in taking home hardware, making the Cardinals the first team in MLB history with five Gold Glove Award winners in a single season.
Roberts expected Gold Glove Award 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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