It’s been a long time coming, but 2018 is finally the year that Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon deserves a gold glove.
He’s been one of the most consistent all-around players in the National League since he made his Washington Nationals debut in 2013. Now in 2018, Anthony Rendon fully deserves his first gold glove award.
Throughout his career, he’s been the subject of some tough competition in that area. Nolan Arenado has been an all-world defender at the position since 2013, winning the gold glove every year since then.
But 2018 could finally be the year that his dominance is broken over the award with Rendon having a strong season. While Nats fans could make a pretty good verbal case for that, the stats back up that notion too.
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At the most basic level, the Nats’ third baseman has the highest fielding percentage among qualified NL third baseman at .980 and has made the fewest errors with only six. Compare that to Arenado, his likely closest competitor, who has a .966 percentage and 14 errors.
This then translates to an Ultimate Zone Rating, which is FanGraphs’ way of combining a player’s effectiveness on double plays, their range, and their lack of errors. Rendon has a UZR of 5.4 which leads David Bote with 5.1 and Nolan Arenado at 4.1 among those at the hot corner in the NL.
Unfortunately, the area where Rendon falls down on defense is his lack of the truly spectacular plays in the field, which is where others steal a march.
According to FanGraphs, on plays with under a 40% chance of being made, Rendon is merely 4 for 30. Meanwhile, Arenado is 11 of 65 and Johan Camargo was 5 for 27 on those plays, which generally indicates your “Web Gem” type plays.
This then gets reflected in some of the other defensive metrics. One of the key ones is actually involved in the gold glove selection process, as 25 percent of the vote is calculated based on the SABR Defensive Index.
During their last update on August 19th, Rendon wasn’t fairing so well on this board. He was rated at 1.1, which is seventh in the NL behind the likes of Arenado, Camargo, while the leader in that list is Travis Shaw.
But by definition, the award’s criteria is that it’s awarded to a player who “represents overall fielding excellence, and it is not an award based solely on fielding metrics and statistics, nor does it factor offensive production”.
“Overall fielding excellence” seems to lend to the opinion that being able to make all of the plays required with a high efficiency, should be valued over making more spectacular plays at the cost of efficiency. So by that logic, Anthony Rendon will be a deserved gold glove award winner in 2018.
Washington Nationals fans will make the case for Anthony Rendon until the cows come home. Hopefully, his silent nature won’t hold him back from a possible gold glove this year, or in the future.