One of the Marlins biggest improvements in 2014 involved their defense. After thoroughly struggling in 2013, the Fish took a major step forward. Much of that growth surrounded a few young players that are coming into their own in the field.
Earlier today, 3 Marlins were honored with Gold Glove nominations that recognized their significant talent in the field. One of the more surprising nominations were actually the Marlins star right fielder, Giancarlo Stanton.
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Stanton’s defense is often overlooked thanks to his mammoth home runs, but there is little denying that he has one of the better arms in all of baseball. That knowledge coupled with his highlight real plays this year certainly helped to raise his profile.
Interestingly enough, 2014 wasn’t even Stanton’s best defensive year according to the stats. His fielding percentage was a stellar .982, although it was bettered in 2010 (.983). He only made 6 errors this year, and had 7 assists.
Even the advanced metrics suggest that the nomination is a few years late. Fangraphs rated Stanton’s UZR as a 1.6 with 0 as a baseline. This was a large improvement over last year’s -7.8, but 2012 saw Stanton post a 9.1, certainly one of his top seasons. His defensive runs saved improved by 14 runs year over year.
I don’t forsee Stanton winning the award, but nonetheless it is certainly an honor to be recognized in this manner. Christian Yelich, and Adeiny Hechavarria were the other Marlins that were nominated for the award.
Sep 21, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich can
Yelich was recognized in his first full season, a season that saw him post a 9.9 UZR to go along with a .993 fielding percentage. He had 6 outfield assists and had 10 defensive runs saved. I think that Yelich has the best chance of the 3 Marlins to win the Gold Glove, but I don’t think they will give it to him quite yet. Look for him in a couple of years to take home the hardware.
Hechavarria was also honored with a nomination. Hech was nominated after a 2014 season that was almost identical to 2013. The shortstop had 1 less error than last year (14) and bettered his UZR by 0.2 (-8.8). Unfortunately the advanced stats are still not a fan of Hechavarria, and Adeiny also has to deal with Andrelton Simmons who won last year, and is my pick to win it again this year.
It is encouraging to see Hech improving, and hopefully he can win one of these in the near future. Who are your picks to win the Gold Gloves this year? Let us know in the comments below.