Braves boast five Gold Glove finalists

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, center fielder Ender Inciarte, right fielder Nick Markakis, starter Julio Teheran and left fielder Adam Duvall are finalists for the 2018 National League Gold Glove awards, Rawlings Sports announced Thursday.

The Gold Glove is awarded to the individual considered to have the best overall defensive performance in his league at his position.

Braves tied the Red Sox for most finalists in majors with five. Freeman led NL first basemen in defensive runs saved (12).

Inciarte is going for his third consecutive Gold Glove. Last year he became the franchise’s first back-to-back winner since shortstop Andrelton Simmons in 2013-14. The last Braves outfielder to claim as many consecutive was Andruw Jones, who won 10 in a row from 1998-2007.

Freeman joins Cincinnati’s Joey Votto and Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo as the top three. Freeman has oft-generated awe from his teammates for his stretches and grabs at first.

Rizzo won a Gold Glove in 2016, while Votto collected the honor in 2011. The Braves haven’t had a first baseman win the honor.

It also would be Teheran’s first Gold Glove. He’s joined by San Diego’s Clayton Richard and Arizona’s Zack Greinke, who has won the past four awards.

The Braves haven’t had a pitcher win a Gold Glove since Mike Hampton in 2003. Hall of Famer Greg Maddux claimed the honor 18 times, 10 of which came with the Braves.

Markakis is coming off his first All-Star season. He’s won two Gold Gloves before in 2011 and 2014. He was also a finalist with the Braves in 2016.

He’s joined by Jason Heyward and Jon Jay. Heyward, a former Brave, has claimed the past four. He won Gold Gloves in 2012 and 2014 with the Braves.

Duvall’s inclusion is more because of his time with the Reds. The Braves acquired him before the trade deadline, and he appeared in the field in only 14 games for the Braves. Lauded for his defense, this would be Duvall’s first Gold Glove.

Neither shortstop Dansby Swanson nor second baseman Ozzie Albies made the cut. This season, manager Brian Snitker repeatedly praised Albies as one of the best second basemen, if not the best, in the NL.

The NL second-base finalists were Javy Baez, DJ LeMahieu and Kolten Wong. It was considered among the stronger groups in baseball.

Swanson could be considered a surprise after he had arguably the best defensive season on the club. His game-ending throw in Arizona might’ve been the team’s best of the year.

But Swanson will have to wait another year in the Gold Glove pursuit. Brandon Crawford, Nick Ahmed and Freddy Galvis are shortstop finalists.

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