Sox Reporter

Sox get five Gold Glove finalists, including both catchers

Sox Reporter

It seems a White Sox catcher has a good chance of winning a Gold Glove.

Yasmani Grandal and James McCann were both named finalists for the Gold Glove Award that goes to an American League catcher, honored for their defensive performances during the 2020 season. They were accompanied by Roberto Pérez of the division-rival Cleveland Indians, who won the award last season.

Grandal, signed to the richest free-agent deal in club history last offseason, was expected to bring defensive excellence along with his offensive capabilities. He came to the White Sox rated highly as a pitch-framer with a strong reputation for his work behind the plate, though he has yet to win a Gold Glove in his career. This season could be the one. Fangraphs had Grandal as, statistically, the second best defensive catcher in baseball.

RELATED: Why the Sox need to re-sign McCann — and why it will be hard

McCann, meanwhile, benefitted from an offseason commitment to improving his framing and his overall defense following his All-Star season in 2019. McCann was praised for the work he did with the team's young pitching staff, and that continued in 2020, McCann notably catching Lucas Giolito's no-hitter in August. While he got plenty of attention from White Sox fans for a terrific 2020 at the plate, he is being recognized for his improvements behind the plate, as well, showing only more value as he heads into free agency.

 

Should either win, he would be the first White Sox catcher to win a Gold Glove since Sherm Lollar in 1959.

Additionally, Danny Mendick was named a finalist among AL second basemen. He started 28 of the team's 60 regular-season games at the position, one fewer than Nick Madrigal. Yolmer Sánchez won the Gold Glove Award at the position in 2019.

Yoán Moncada was also named a Gold Glove finalist among AL third basemen. Moncada played the entire season dealing with the aftereffects of his preseason COVID-19 infection, which had a visible impact on his energy levels throughout the year. He described his season as "a daily battle to try to find that strength, that energy to go through the day." No White Sox third baseman has won a Gold Glove since Robin Ventura in 1998.

Luis Robert was named a Gold Glove finalist among AL center fielders, no surprise after a highlight-reel defensive campaign but still an impressive accomplishment for a rookie. Robert showed his much hyped tools in center field all season long, no moment more jaw-dropping than this diving catch he made in early September in Kansas City.

Notably, José Abreu was not a finalist for the award among AL first basemen. The numbers paint a confusing picture of how Abreu's defense is statistically assessed. Fangraphs' defensive metric had him as one of the worst defensive first baseman in baseball, though he ranked among the best in the game in another defensive stat of note, Defensive Runs Saved. Anecdotally, Abreu looked much improved at first base during a season that could very well end in him winning the AL MVP for his offensive accomplishments.

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