Bulls

Peavy, Pierzynski named Gold Glove finalists

927205.png

Peavy, Pierzynski named Gold Glove finalists

A.J. Pierzynski and Jake Peavy were tabbed as Gold Glove finalists in advance of Tuesday, when the award winners are revealed. Gold Glove awards are voted on by each major-league manager and up to six of his coaches, so Pierzynski's play behind the plate and Peavy's on the mound impressed more than a few staffs around the league.

Mark Buehrle, who won the last three AL Gold Gloves for starting pitchers while with the White Sox, is a finalist in the National League. Before Buehrle, the last White Sox player to garner a Gold Glove was Robin Ventura, who won his fifth and final honor in 1998.

No other White Sox players made the final cut, but here's how the Gold Glove finalists stack up against the top defensive performers in the AL, as rated by UZR.

First base (Gold Glove): Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Mark Teixeira
First base (UZR): Adrian Gonzalez (14.5), Mark Teixeira (10.5), Albert Pujols (5.9)

Second base (Gold Glove): Dustin Ackley, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia
Second base (UZR): Dustin Pedroia (10.0), Robinson Cano (9.7), Dustin Ackley (6.7)

Third base (Gold Glove): Adrian Beltre, Brandon Inge, Mike Moustakas
Third base (UZR): Mike Moustakas (16.8), Brandon Inge (11.1), Adrian Beltre (10.7)

Shortstop (Gold Glove): Elvis Andrus, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Ryan
Shortstop (UZR): Brendan Ryan (14.7), J.J. Hardy (11.3), Jhonny Peralta (9.9)

Left field (Gold Glove): Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, David Murphy
Left field (UZR): Alex Gordon (14.1), Desmond Jennings (10.7), David Murphy (9.4)

Center field (Gold Glove): Austin Jackson, Adam Jones, Mike Trout
Center field (UZR): Mike Trout (10.6), Denard Span (8.5), Austin Jackson (4.1)

Right field (Gold Glove): Shin-Soo Choo, Jeff Francouer, Josh Reddick
Right field (UZR): Josh Reddick (17.7), Ben Revere (15.8), Ichiro (12.7)

UZR doesn't do catcher defense, but there are some fairly decent catcher rankings done yearly by Matt Klaassen. The Gold Glove top four, against his top four (excluding sparingly-used backups)

Gold Glove: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Wieters
Klaassen: Matt Wieters (12.5), Bobby Wilson (4.9), Alex Avila (3.5), Jeff Mathis (3.5)

Pierzynski rates near the bottom at -3.6 runs, although Tyler Flowers was rated to have saved 2.9 runs with his play behind the plate.

27 Days to Opening Night: Lauri Markkanen's best rookie Game Score

27 Days to Opening Night: Lauri Markkanen's best rookie Game Score

The performance matched the venue.

Lauri Markkanen made quite the impression in his first game at Madison Square Garden, tallying 33 points (a career-best), 10 rebounds, eight 3-pointers and a pair of steals.

Markkanen made 10 of 22 from the field and went 8-for-15 from beyond the arc. He also made all five of his free throws and threw a hammer down on Enes Kanter.

It was arguably his best game of the year, and Basketball Reference’s Game Score agreed. We’ll safely assume he tops that at some time this season.

Previous Countdown to Opening Night posts:

38. Bobby Portis' career-high in points

37. Michael Jordan's career-best PPG in 1987

36. Lauri Markkanen's 3-point FG% as a rookie

35. Michael Jordan's PPG in 1988, his first MVP season

34. Wendell Carter

33. Scottie Pippen

32. Kris Dunn

31. Michael Jordan's 50-point games

30. Michael Jordan's career scoring average

29. Teams afraid of Zach LaVine putting them on a poster

28. Bulls' over-under win total in Las Vegas

Change of plans? Adam Boqvist could start season with Blackhawks

adam_boqvist_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Change of plans? Adam Boqvist could start season with Blackhawks

That was quick. 

Hours after we wrote how Adam Boqvist has been flying under the radar this training camp because his NHL timeline could still be 2-3 years away — something even he admitted after the Blackhawks drafted him No. 8 overall in June — he put on a strong showing in his second preseason game on Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings playing on the top pairing and leading the team in ice time (22:15). 

His offensive skill is evident. So is his general skating ability. What really stood out was how he defended, particularly a 1-on-1 rush against the speedy Andreas Athanasiou.

This is the play that got Blackhawks fans excited. This is a player who has the ability to speed up his timeline if he takes advantage of this next year of development, which won’t begin in London on Friday after coach Joel Quenneville told reporters following Thursday’s contest that his debut with the Knights in the OHL is being put on hold because they want a longer look at him.

In fact, Quenneville didn’t rule out the possibility of Boqvist making the Blackhawks straight out of camp.

"I think as we've gone through camp and see him play through the games, we're watching him," Quenneville said. "We've been pleased with him. It's almost like, when you come to camp, we want to watch these guys. They make those decisions for us with how they play and it's been a positive one."

But that doesn’t mean he’d necessarily stick around for the full season.

Because he’s 18 years of age, Boqvist is eligible to play in up to nine games before getting sent to his respective junior team without burning the first year of his entry-level deal. He’s a slide candidate next year as well. It’s what the Blackhawks did with Ryan Hartman, who appeared in five games in 2014-15 and three games in 2015-16 before securing a full-time spot in 2016-17. That's the likely scenario if it were to reach that point.

It's hard to imagine the Blackhawks breaking in each of their top-two defensive prospects in Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist at the same time. And for Boqvist, you certainly don't want to waste any years of his entry-level contract when he could be using that time to truly develop so he could hit the ground running when he does enter the league on a full-time basis.

Perhaps the back injury to Connor Murphy, who is expected to be out until December, allowed the Blackhawks to view Boqvist's situation in a wider lense. Or maybe this was the plan all along.

Regardless, the Blackhawks may get a glimpse of the future quicker than they thought and it’s added a little excitement to training camp and the anticipation of Opening Day.