The quest for number nine has gotten a step closer for Yadier Molina, as the St. Louis Cardinals catcher has been announced as a finalist for a Rawlings Gold Glove award.
Almost since the time he was not announced as the winner last year, Molina made it clear that reclaiming the award was a goal of his for 2017.
“I know I can win the Gold Glove,” reiterated Molina during the press conference for his contract extension at the beginning of this season.
And while last year’s winner, Buster Posey, is again a finalist this season, Molina may face his stiffest competition from Tucker Barnhardt.
The Cincinnati Reds catcher threw out 32 of 73 would-be base stealers compared to the 24 of 67 thrown out by Molina. And Barnhart ranks 5th amongst all players with a 2.15 WAR.
But there is no exact science and Molina’s 1125.2 innings behind the plate are nearly two hundred innings more than Barnhart (926.1) and nearly three hundred more than Posey (826.1).
In terms of the SABR Defensive Index, which accounts for approximately 25% of the vote, the latest update from August 27th showed Yasmani Grandal led the National League with a 7.6 SDI followed by Barnhardt (7.4), Manny Pina (5.2), and Molina (3.4). Buster Posey ranked 6th with a 2.4 rating.
And going by the odds calculated by MyTopSportsBook.com, Molina’s only 7/2 to claim the 2017 NL Gold Glove for catchers. The site has Posey and Barnhart at 11/7 odds–a 38.9% chance each as Posey is the incumbent and more established name, yet Barnhart has the better stats.
However, the largest pool of voters is made up of each of the MLB managers and up to six coaches on his staff. They cannot vote for players from their own team. Reputation and what the teams saw on the field can play even more than numbers on pitch framing and other assorted stats.
And with the additional amount of innings and level at which Molina performed in those innings caught, that could result in a greater appreciation from the coaching base than the what any index, stats, or odds may forecast.
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