Mariners’ shortstop J.P. Crawford and first baseman Evan White win their first Gold Glove awards


When a baseball is thrown in opposition to a stucco wall with an above-average quantity of velocity, it produces a boring thud that can echo off the encircling outside constructions and permeate all through the constructing like a distant artillery report or building work.

Again earlier than COVID-19 interrupted and altered life, when baseball was within the midst of its common spring coaching, which was really solely 8 ½ months and never 8 ½ years in the past, these thuds could possibly be heard on a near-daily foundation on the Mariners’ advanced in Peoria, Arizona. They produced a disjointed beat that ultimately turned rhythmic to these within the space.

Who was accountable for this cacophony within the early morning and late afternoon?

On many days, you’d discover both J.P. Crawford or Evan White alone within the concrete space between the sphere and the clubhouse firing a baseball in opposition to the wall, getting in correct fielding place to area the bouncing baseball on its return and perfecting that footwork of fielding it cleanly and positioning their toes to make an correct throw. Throw, thud, area, get in place and repeat — again and again — until it turned muscle reminiscence.

It’s seems to be a repetitive, mind-numbing drill created for Little Leaguers to study the basics not huge leaguers.

However it’s additionally how Gold Gloves are received.

These hours of observe paid off Tuesday, as Crawford and White earned baseball’s highest defensive honor, being chosen for the American League Gold Glove at their respective positions — shortstop and first base.

They’re the primary Mariners to win the award since Kyle Seager received the Gold Glove at third base in 2014. And based mostly on their expertise and dedication to their protection, this received’t be the one time both participant takes house the award.

“We might be higher defensively this yr,” supervisor Scott Servais declared emphatically on the group’s pre-spring coaching luncheon in January.

A giant motive for that confidence was the expectation of getting a full season of the much-improved Crawford at shortstop and White at first base.

“These guys are going to win a number of Gold Glove awards,” Servais mentioned throughout spring coaching.

On the infield’s most prestigious place, Crawford beat out Houston’s Carlos Correa and Detroit’s Niko Goodrum. He turns into simply the second Mariners shortstop to win a Gold Glove award becoming a member of Omar Vizquel (1993).

Crawford, 25, completed the 2020 season ranked second within the American League in defensive runs saved with six. Correa led the AL with eight defensive runs saved. Crawford lead AL shortstops with 62 out-of-zone performs and his 4.9 defensive runs above common was second to Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor. He had a 2.5 final zone ranking (UZR), which additionally ranked second to Lindor (5.8).

He additionally ranked within the following classes amongst American League shortstops: assists (2nd, 145), putouts (Third, 73), outs above common (Third, 4) and runs prevented (T-Third, three). He’s the Mariners’ finest defensive shortstop since Brendan Ryan.

White, 24, beat out reigning Gold Glove winner Matt Olson of the A’s and Yuli Gurriel of the Astros.

He led American League first basemen in defensive runs saved (DRS) with seven, rating forward of Olson, the White Sox’s José Abreu and Cleveland’s Carlos Santana, who all had 5.

White additionally led AL first basemen with seven “scoops” — a metric that measures outs saved from wayward throws — forward of Santana (six). He led AL first basemen with 11 out-of-zone performs, rating forward of Olson (10) and Gurriel (10).

In keeping with FanGraphs, his 2.2 UZR was second finest amongst AL first basemen, trailing solely Olson (2.5). All three finalists had .998 fielding percentages that have been determined by share factors. All of them dedicated only one error. White ended the season with 49 consecutive video games with out an error, efficiently changing every of his 363 whole possibilities (333 putouts, 30 assists) over that span. In keeping with Baseball Savant, he tied for probably the most runs prevented (two) amongst AL first basemen with Abreu and Olson, whereas rating tied for second in outs above common with two, one behind Olson.

White’s defensive exploits turned virtually legendary earlier than he reached the massive leagues. It began whereas he was a primary baseman on the College of Kentucky, the place a number of beginner scouts mentioned he might have been an elite defensive third baseman and strong shortstop if threw right-handed. He was such a very good runner and so instinctive that some groups projected him as an outfielder.

However the Mariners by no means thought of him for every other place aside from first base, the place he’s evoked comparisons to prime fielding first basemen like John Olerud, J.T. Snow, Mark Grace and Keith Hernandez. He received a minor league Gold Glove award in 2018, however a MLB Gold Glove award has somewhat extra status.

The choice course of for finalists this season was barely completely different because of the 60-game season.

From Rawlings: “Because of the compressed 2020 season, the Award {qualifications} have been amended to rely solely on the SABR Defensive Index, which attracts on and aggregates two sorts of present defensive metrics: these derived from batted ball location-based knowledge and people collected from play-by-play accounts. SDI makes use of MLBAM’s Statcast, Sports activities Info Options knowledge, and STATS, LLC knowledge in addition to conventional statistics with superior evaluation. For 2020 Award consideration, pitchers will need to have pitched no less than 50 innings, catchers will need to have performed in no less than 29 video games and infielders/outfielders will need to have accomplished no less than 265 defensive innings. Every participant qualifies on the place he has performed at most (SDI is just for play at certified place).”

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