Braves’ Fried wins first Gold Glove award

Braves left-hander Max Fried won the National League Gold Glove for pitchers Tuesday evening. It was the first Gold Glove of Fried’s career.

The Gold Gloves were determined strictly off defensive metrics (SABR Defensive Index) instead of usual manager and coaches voting this season. Fried beat out Cubs starters Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills for the honor.

Fried, one of baseball’s best pick-off artists, is the first Braves pitcher to win a Gold Glove since Mike Hampton in 2003. The 26-year-old is the fourth Gold Glove pitcher in Braves history, joining Phil Niekro (five times), Greg Maddux (10 times) and Hampton. The award capped off a breakthrough season in which Fried posted a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts.

“I am incredibly honored to win the Gold Glove award,” Fried said via press release. “We take great pride in our defense and I could not have won this award without my teammates in the field behind me.”

The southpaw led the majors with five defensive runs saved in 56 innings. His four pickoffs were tied for the major-league lead. Fried committed only one error.

Shortstop Dansby Swanson and center fielder Ronald Acuna were also among the finalists at their positions. Neither has won a Gold Glove.

Chicago’s Javier Baez won the shortstop honor over Swanson and Miami’s Miguel Rojas. Swanson had a superb defensive season, leading shortstops with 10 defensive runs saved, turning 39 double plays and posted a .991 fielding percentage. He’ll likely be in the Gold Glove conversation for years to come.

Acuna, who made 30 starts in center field across 46 games, was beaten out by the Padres' Trent Grisham. The Dodgers' Cody Bellinger was the other finalist. Grisham led the trio in fWAR and runs saved.

Swanson was trying to become the Braves' first Gold Glove shortstop since Andrelton Simmons in 2013-14. Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis are the franchise’s most recent Gold Glove outfielders (2018).

The Braves had one Gold Glove winner this season after having none in 2019. They had a franchise-record three in 2018.