Rawlings revealed the 2020 Gold Glove Award finalists on Thursday, with a whopping seven Cubs nominated, including catcher Willson Contreras.
One player who isn’t a finalist is Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, and the nine-time winner is none too pleased about the apparent snub. The longtime St. Louis backstop voiced his thoughts on Instagram. Here’s a translation of his message, and the original — written in Spanish — can be found here.
Molina, 38, trails Reds Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for second-most Gold Gloves by a catcher all-time, with Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez first with 13. He suggested the league doesn't want him to tie Bench's total, but the fact is the award is based entirely on SABR’s Defensive Index this year (more here).
In non-pandemic seasons, coaches’ votes are also factored in. Considering teams only played those in their region this season, having coaches vote for players they potentially never saw in person wouldn’t make a ton of sense.
Molina had a good season, throwing out 45 percent of attempted base stealers (first in NL). But he trailed Contreras, Tucker Barnhart and the Pirates' Jacob Stallings — the NL's other catcher finalists — in FanGraph's framing metric, tying Contreras in Defensive Runs Saved while trailing Barnhart and Stallings.
Contreras led all NL catchers in FanGraphs' "Def" metric, measuring a player's defensive value relative to league average. Molina trailed him, Barnhart and Stallings.
Meanwhile, here's Contreras' reaction to his own nomination, posted around the same time as Molina's.
At Cubs Convention in 2018, Contreras said he wanted to be the best catcher in baseball, like Molina and the Giants' Buster Posey. Molina responded with an Instagram post telling Contreras to "respect the ranks."
If Contreras adds a Gold Glove to his mantle this year, he will be one step closer to his goal.