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Cubs’ seven Gold Glove finalists most in NL

3 years agoAndy Martinez

In his end of the year press conference, Theo Epstein was quick to point out the Cubs’ “really sound defense” as a strength of the team.

It turns out the rest of the league also took notice of the stout defensive prowess of the team. The Gold Glove Award finalists were announced Thursday afternoon and the Cubs had a league-best 7 players named finalists.

Alec Mills and Kyle Hendricks are two of the three finalists for the Gold Glove Award at pitcher. Willson Contreras is a finalist at catcher, Anthony Rizzo at first base, Nico Hoerner at second base, Javy Báez at shortstop and Jason Heyward at right field are the other finalists.

Hendricks had a 1.000 fielding percentage with 7 putouts — tied for the most in the National League, an NL-best 13 assists and 3 defensive runs saved. Mills also had a 1.00 fielding percentage and had 4 putouts, 12 assists and 3 defensive runs saved. Mills and Hendricks were tied at the top of the leaderboard in defensive runs saved in the NL. The Braves’ Max Fried is the third finalist. Neither Mills or Hendricks have won a Gold Glove Award.

Rizzo led NL first basemen in defensive runs saved (3) and assists (44) and was tied with Freddie Freeman and fellow finalist Paul Goldschmidt for the best fielding percentage among NL first basemen with a .998 fielding percentage. Rizzo ranked second in putouts with 418, behind Freeman (427). The Giants’ Brandon Belt is the other finalist. Rizzo has won 2 straight Gold Gloves and 3 Gold Gloves overall and a platinum glove in 2016.

Jason Heyward finished with a 1.000 fielding percentage, only he and the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon had a perfect fielding percentage among qualified right fielders in the NL. Heyward had 98 putouts and 2 assists. Heyward is a five-time Gold Glove winner but hasn’t won the award since 2017. There were four finalists for the NL Gold Glove Award in right field with Blackmon, the Diamondbacks’ Kole Calhoun and the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts the other finalists.

Among qualified shortstops in the NL, Báez ranked second in defensive runs saved (7) and assists (159). Báez had 86 putouts, had a .968 fielding percentage and was a part of 32 double plays. Miguel Rojas of the Marlins and the Braves’ Dansby Swanson are the other finalists. If he wins, it would be Báez’ first Gold Glove.

Contreras had 311 putouts, 13 assists and nabbed 9 would-be-base-stealers behind the plate. The Reds’ Tucker Barnhart and the Pirates’ Jacob Stallings are the other finalists. Contreras is seeking his first Gold Glove.Hoerner played 208 innings at second base, platooning with Jason Kipnis. Hoerner had 5 defensive runs saved, 27 putouts and 58 assists at second base. The Pirates’ Adam Frazier and the Cardinals’ Kolten Wong are the other finalists.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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