Whether something can be called a tradition after just two years is debatable, but after last year I’m once again going to be handing out The Grabbies to best defensive player at each position in either league. Obviously these are completely subjective picks and while I’ll look at some defensive metrics I’d rather trust reports from people who are watching the games and what I’ve seen myself.
Catcher – Yadier Molina
We start with probably the easiest choice of all. I suspect I wasn’t the only one to who once believe that Ivan Rodriguez was the best defensive catcher I’d seen, but I’m now convinced that Molina has surpassed him.
First Base – Adrian Gonzalez
Joey Votto is a good defensive first baseman and Freddie Freeman has also been impressive but Adrian Gonzalez became, to my mind, the NL’s best defensive first baseman the day he was traded from the Red Sox. I’m not trying to measure defensive value accumulated or anything like that so Gonzalez is more than worthy of the nod here.
Second Base – Brandon Phillips
A repeat win for the Reds second baseman. Darwin Barney has some eye-popping defensive numbers but there appears to be some questions over whether he accumulated them more through the way the Cubs set up defensively than any particularly outstanding work on his part. Barney is solid enough but I still view Phillips as the better defender.
Third Base – David Wright
Chase Headley won the Gold Glove at third base, a pick that seems perfectly reasonable, but I have Wright just shading him. On pure defensive tools Ryan Zimmerman should run away with this, however his throwing rickets are an issue.
Shortstop – Brandon Crawford
Crawford’s glove, range and arm are all excellent. They’re also going to have to remain excellent because his .248/.304/.349 batting line is about as good as his offense is going to get.
Left Field – Martin Prado
Not the strongest of fields at the position for the NL. Prado takes it over the Gold Glove winner Carlos Gonzalez.
Centre Field – Michael Bourn
I’m a big fan of Drew Stubbs’ defensive work and I think Andrew McCutchen is a far better centre fielder than the metrics seem to credit him for, however Bourn’s excellent work in the field should seem him well rewarded as a free agent this winter.
Right Field – Jason Heyward
Heyward’s collection of tools make him almost the prototypical right fielder and his selection here completes a clean sweep of Braves outfielders taking home ‘awards’. Carlos Beltran also deserves a mention here for his continued excellence.