Rawlings announced the annual Gold Glove Award finalists for the 2020 MLB season on Thursday, and it was the first time since 2017 that A’s third baseman Matt Chapman was left off the AL third base list.
Despite first baseman Matt Olson and center fielder Ramón Laureano being finalists at their respective positions, it felt strange without Chapman, a two-time Platinum and Gold Glove Award winner, even mentioned.
“Yeah, that is pretty weird,” Olson said on Thursday. “I think we all know if he played a full year he’d have been -- if not the winner, then a finalist. I couldn’t see honestly anybody doing better than him -- it’s not a knock to other people. It’s a tip the cap to him. We know the special things he can do and obviously, the injury cut it a little short, but he’ll be back doing the same thing next year.”
Chapman had season-ending surgery after sustaining a right hip strain in mid-September. And despite accumulating five errors in 37 games, it still felt odd for him not to be a finalist.
“I think everybody should be shocked,” Laureano said. “I don’t know how they go about it, how they nominate people, I have zero clue. I’m disappointed, to be honest with you. I’ve seen players play 60 percent of the season and still win a Gold Glove and I don’t know why at 60 games they don’t nominate the best defensive player in the entire universe.”
Just to save you the Google search, the SABR Defensive Index (SDI) was used to select the winners of the Gold Glove and Platinum Glove Awards this season.
Since it was a shortened 60-game season in 2020, the qualifications, according to the SABR website, have been amended this year to rely “solely on the SDI,” and positional players must have played in least 265 defensive innings. Chapman played in 304 1/3 innings this season.
However, since it was based completely on the numbers, perhaps if it were any other season, Chapman could have been nominated simply based on his reputation.
Olson, who could win his third consecutive Gold Glove, said this season wasn’t different than any other, as far as his defensive game and prep was concerned.
“I felt like I was going out there and doing the same thing, I take a lot in the defense," Olson said. "I think you guys know that by now, and I kind of hold myself to this standard, and I want to be in the conversation of this every year."
Despite the coronavirus restrictions, Olson said practicing grounders and other aspects of the defensive game were easier to take care of.
Laureano showed he was capable of having a dominating defensive season, even while being mic’d up by ESPN ... during a playoff game. He said receiving the nomination was rewarding.
“It’s awesome," Laureano said. "It’s a goal of mine every year. I feel pretty proud of it, and yeah, it’s something that I’ve been working pretty hard on every single day.”
Laureano said he had been working since spring training to enhance his confidence in the field, working with coaches on routes, but even looking up to the other outfielders like Tampa Bay Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier and Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
Laureano also noticed runners had done their homework and weren't running on him when the ball was hit to him, so he didn't spend much time working on his throwing.
“This year, I saw that they weren’t running at all,” Laureano said. “They were literally giving up from the first step going from first to third. I saw that a lot this year on ground balls that I thought they were actually going to third for sure.”
A lot of them didn’t, which was smart on their part.
The official winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 3 on ESPN at 4 p.m. PT.