The release (and re-release) of Gold Glove nominees and Comeback Player of the Year results leave KC Royals’ fans scratching their heads.
As a follow up to an earlier story, Salvador Perez was rightly nominated for Comeback Player of the Year by the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). After an injury sidelined him all of 2019, Perez rebounded to have his best season ever offensively and made zero errors behind the plate for the KC Royals.
He did have stiff competition as one of the other players identified for the award was not battling an injury but a potentially life-threatening illness. Carlos Carrasco of the Cleveland Indians was diagnosed with cancer during the season last year and he did come back the final month in a relief role.
Carrasco returned to the rotation in 2020 and while only posting a 3-4 record he did strike out 82 in 68 innings, recording a 2.91 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.21. His walk rate doubled from the prior year was the highest in his career, one of the few negatives of the campaign.
Perez recorded a higher WAR than Carrasco, 1.9 to 1.6, but missing three weeks of action with an eye injury may have cost him here. Congrats to both players on a fine season and we are glad Carrasco beat his battle with cancer.
Lopez almost snubbed for Gold Glove at 2B
Note: As this article was being written Rawlings revealed they made a mistake on the graphic and Lopez really is a finalist. Or someone realized what a huge error they made in leaving off the highest-ranked defender and went into cover mode. You be the judge.
I am not sure what is a bigger crime. The Chicago White Sox Danny Mendick being nominated with only 25 games started at second base or the Pale Hose having two catchers as finalists at the catcher position.
As bad as Nicky Lopez was at the plate in 2020 he was just as good, if not better, in the field. He ranked first in defensive runs saved (DRS) at second base, had a fielding percentage (.991) that was ten points above the league average, and according to the Fielding Bible had a +4 in range.
Cesar Hernandez ranked third overall in DRS even while making four errors in 210 chances. Jonathan Schoop only committed one error but did not rank in the top-10 of DRS, while Mendick placed sixth in that category.
Mendick, however, had 70 fewer opportunities at the position than Schoop and 130 less than Hernandez and Lopez. I am not sure what Rawlings was basing this off of but it would seem a good benchmark would be you play at least 70% of your innings at the position. Mendick played in 33 games total.
While we are picking on the White Sox we will mention that both James McCann and Yasmani Grandal were nominated for a Gold Glove at catcher. Both players played roughly 50% of their games at that position.
It appears Rawlings went straight to the DRS leaderboard and picked the top players except for the third NL Gold Glove candidate, which is Wilson Contreras who is way down the rankings. There were other AL catchers who should have been nominated instead of two from Chicago. Sean Murphy, Salvy, and Mitch Garver all have strong resumes this year.
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In a perfect universe, Lopez should be the winner this year. Let’s hope someone gives the announcer the right envelope when the recipient is revealed.