Back in July, we presented the initial results of the Society of American Baseball’s (SABR) Defensive Index rankings (SDI).
As we mentioned back then, according to SABR, these rankings account for roughly 25 percent of the selection process used in determining each season’s Gold Glove winners, which were announced last week.
The Defensive Index is compiled from different fielding metrics and incorporates a myriad of categories (for a more detailed explanation, please click here).
This might not come as a surprise, especially since Milwaukee had four Gold Glove finalists, but the Brewers had a very strong defensive team according to the SDI.
None of those four captured a Gold Glove, but perhaps Travis Shaw should have. Yes, Shaw was moved to second base after the arrival of Mike Moustakas, but he led all National League third baseman with a 6.0 rating — a full point higher than Colorado’s Nolan Arenado, who was awarded the Gold Glove. Only one American League third baseman had a better SDI than Shaw, Oakland’s Matt Chapman, who had a ridiculous 21.9, the best among all players (on the flip side, Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar had the worst rating — an abysmal -21.1).
Milwaukee’s other two Gold Glove finalists were outfielders. Lorenzo Cain finished fourth among NL center fielders with a 6.4 SDI. Christian Yelich was a finalist for right field, but because he played only 75 games there he was not listed among the qualifiers (he played 90 games in left field and came in with a -0.3 rating there).
The Brewers’ other outfielder, Ryan Braun, doesn’t get the pub as Cain or Yelich for his defense, but he finished fourth among NL outfielders with a 3.2 SDI.
And for those who want to criticize the defense of Jesus Aguilar (hey, we’ve seen it nationally), he finished fifth among NL first basemen with a 3.0 SDI. Known for his defense, shortstop Orlando Arcia had a 3.8 SDI, sixth among NL shortstops, perhaps hindered somewhat by his stay in Triple-A.
The Brewers were even strong at pitcher where Chase Anderson and trade deadline acquisition Gio Gonzalez both were at 1.2. Jhouys Chacin was the only other Milwaukee pitcher to qualify and he rated out at a 0.0.
Milwaukee had no one qualify in right field (but, again, Yelich was a Gold Glove finalist) and Mike Moustakas wasn’t on the Brewers long enough to be qualify, but he had a 2.2 SDI with Kansas City. Putting Shaw or even Jonathan Schoop (who had a 2.9 SDI with Baltimore) at second base … and, well, that’s one heck of a defense all around the diamond.
To view all the final ratings, click here.
Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns