Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons and right fielder Jason Heyward are among three finalists at their positions for National League Gold Gloves, while Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman didn’t make the field of three finalists at first base.
Finalists were announced Friday, and the Gold Glove winners at each position in the National and American leagues will be announced Tuesday during a special, one-hour edition of Baseball Tonight on ESPN2 beginning at 8 p.m.
Heyward won his first Gold Glove in 2012 and could become the first Brave to win the award in consecutive years since center fielder Andruw Jones won 10 in a row through 2007. The other right-field finalists are Jay Bruce of the Reds and Gerardo Parra of the Diamondbacks.
Many believe Simmons will win the first of what could be many Gold Gloves for the Curacao native, who set a major league record with an estimated 41 defensive runs saved in his first full season. Simmons had a 5.4 Defensive WAR that matched infielder Terry Turner’s score with the 1906 Cleveland Naps as the highest ever calculated, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Simmons is up against Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who won Gold Gloves in 2010 and 2011, and Ian Desmond of the Nationals.
The Braves had multiple Gold Glove winners only once in the past nine seasons, when outfielders Jones and Jeff Francoeur won awards in 2007.
Many believed Freeman had a good shot at least to be a first-base finalist, but he was passed over in favor of Paul Goldschmidit (Diamondbacks), Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers) and Anthony Rizzo (Cubs).
The Rawling Gold Glove awards are voted on by major league managers and up to six coaches from each team. Managers and coaches are not permitted to vote for players from their own teams.
For the first time in the 57-year history of the award, a sabermetric statistical component also was added to the selection process this season, as part of a new collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). The SABR Defensive Index made up about one-fourth of the overall selection total, according to Rawlings, while voting by managers and coaches continued to comprise the majority of the total.