Washington Nationals: Handicapping the odds in each award race
By Drew Douglas
The Gold Glove Award goes to the best defensive player at each position in each league. The Nats have had a few winners in the past, as Ryan Zimmerman won the Gold Glove Award among National League third basemen in 2009 and Adam LaRoche won the Gold Glove Award among National League first basemen in 2012.
This season, the Nats have a few candidates to bring the team their first Gold Glove Award in five years.
The Nats’ frontrunner is most likely Anthony Rendon. Rendon plays lockdown defense at the hot corner, making near-impossible plays look routine. He has also mastered his non-traditional sidearm throw, and has become one of the best fielders in the league.
Unfortunately, Nolan Arenado also plays third base. While Rendon is outstanding, Arenado is believed to be just a tiny bit better. Part of this is due to the fact that Arenado is more well-known nationally, but he is also a tremendous third baseman. Rendon is a perennial Gold Glove candidate, but will struggle to win the award with Arenado in front of him.
In addition to Rendon, Michael Taylor and Trea Turner are also in the mix to win a Gold Glove Award.
Taylor was not expected to be an everyday player for the Nats, but Adam Eaton‘s gruesome injury thrust Taylor into a starter’s role. Taylor handled the task tremendously, likely earning himself the starting job next season as well.
While Taylor had a solid season offensively, he is even better defensively. He utilizes his great speed to get to balls that other outfielders can only dream of getting to and has a great arm to gun down baserunners. He makes a highlight reel play seemingly every night and has absolutely played Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field, but will most likely not win the award.
Like Rendon, Taylor is not a well-known player, which will hurt him in the voting. He should garner some votes, but not enough to win the award.
The Nats’ final Gold Glove candidate is shortstop Trea Turner. Turner is one of the fastest players in the league, which he uses to his advantage in the field. He has excellent range and has become one of the better shortstops in the league at making plays to each side.
Turner has also perfected the jump throw in the hole. This is a very difficult play, made famous by Derek Jeter, and Turner makes it look easy. He is a great defensive shortstop, but will likely not win the Gold Glove Award.
Despite being a great defensive shortstop, Turner has a few things working against him. First of all, his speed allows him to get to balls that other fielders would have to dive for. Therefore, he appears to not make as many amazing plays. His speed also allows him to get to more balls, which require difficult throws. Because of this, he will make throwing errors on balls that would get past most shortstops.
The Nats have a few solid Gold Glove candidates in Rendon, Taylor, and Turner, but Rendon is the most likely to win the award.