Kevin Kiermaier had one of the greatest defensive seasons in baseball history this past season, so he's the obvious choice to win a gold glove award. How good was he?
According to Fangraphs, Kiermaier had a 30.0 Ultimate Zone Rating, seven points higher than the next outfielder, and 15 points higher than the next nominee for the award. Kiermaier also had 42 Defensive Runs Saves, which is exactly two times as many as Kevin Pillar and eight times as many as Mike Trout, whose nomination over Lorenzo Cain as the third nominee is a joke.
Joining him in being nominated is Evan Longoria, who will by vying for his third career gold glove, though not the favorite Kiermaier is for the award.
The only Rays outfielder to ever win the Rawlings award was Carl Crawford in 2010. Outlaw would become the second.
Kiermaier and Longoria will be competing against two other players at their positions, as is typical of the process. Adrian Beltre (four-time winner) and Manny Machado (one-time winner) were nominated for third base; meanwhile, as mentioned above Kevin Pillar and Mike Trout were nominated for center field.
Here are the parameters for winning the award
Major League managers and coaches, voting only within their league and unable to vote for players on their own teams, account for 75 percent of the selection process. The other 25 percent goes to the sabermetrics community. - MLB.com
Kiermaier has the sabemetrics vote locked down as he led by large amounts in the various statistics. Kiermaier displayed his stellar speed, amazing arm, and glorious glove throughout the season making awe-inspiring plays almost every night.
Evan Longoria nomination gives him his third opportunity to win the award as he took home Gold Gloves in 2009 and 2010 and he was also nominated in 2013. Longoria doesn't have quite as many high reel plays as Kiermaier, but he remained steady and consistent over at the hot corner as he only made nine errors over the almost 1300 innings this season compared to the 19 by Machado and 17 by Beltre.
Longoria also had the highest fielding percentage among major league third baseman at .976%, compared to the .961% by Machado and .956% by Beltre. The sabercommunity might not be kind to Longoria though as he ranked seventh in UZR behind both of the other candidates, while he also had a negative DRS which doesn't bode well considering both Beltre and Machado were among the best.
At 7pm on November 10th, the Gold Glove winners will be announced on ESPN. Put your money on Kevin Kiermaier.