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NL Gold Glove finalists: Carlos Gomez and being snubbed for the award

Carlos Gomez was great in the outfield for the Brewers, as always. Was he snubbed when not named a finalist for the NL center field Gold Glove?

Mike McGinnis

Defense is a tricky thing to judge. With offense and with pitching we can look back at statistics and have a good idea of whether or not a players season was successful. Defensive statistics are not to that point. At this point, the best way to judge defense is, probably, still just to watch players play. I've seen a lot of Carlos Gomez in 2014. Juan Lagares, Denard Span and Billy Hamilton, not quite as much.

Those other three are finalists for the NL center field Gold Glove award. Carlos Gomez, who won the award last year for the first time, is not.

Personally, I think Gomez not being in the top three is the wrong choice. Having seen Gomez for the better part of five years, it's easy as a Brewer fan to identify him as one of the very best defensive players at any position in the major leagues. For years, his defense was the only thing keeping him in lineups. It wasn't until the end of 2012 that he became a force with the bat as well.

I don't have a vote in that kind of thing though. Opposing players and coaches do, though -- they account for 75% of consideration for these finalists. The final 25% comes from statistics and sabermetrics. Which must mean that Denard Span had a lot of support around the league because the stats indicate he shouldn't be among the finalists:

Player UZR/150 OOZ DRS ARM RF/9
Carlos Gomez 7.0 80 2 -0.2 2.57
Juan Lagares 25.3 92 28 3.4 2.85
Billy Hamilton 21.7 77 14 5.4 2.64
Marcell Ozuna 0.8 72 10 4.6 2.52
Denard Span -4.5 85 -3 -1.5 2.65

Statistically, Carlos Gomez should be one of the final three in place of Span. I would argue that Ozuna should be ahead of Span as well. But, I guess the players and coaches felt like Span was so good defensively that he snuck in past Gomez.

Even if Gomez should be a part of the three finalists, it's hard for me to classify it as a snub. There are no bonuses or real accolades for the two finalists that don't win the award. I couldn't even tell you who Gomez beat out last year without looking it up (it was Andrew McCutchen and, hey, Denard Span). And if I'm being honest, I'm not sure Gomez deserves to win.

Lagares is a dynamo in center field. He's almost like a younger Gomez or Endy Chavez -- he's not a great hitter but oh my goodness does he do amazing fantastic things in center field. Like the early part of Gomez's career, that was enough to keep him in the lineup. Hamilton, who became a top prospect as a second baseman, has taken to the outfield fantastically due in large part to his world-class speed.

I think Gomez, Lagares and Hamilton are all solid options for a Gold Glove. I also think those should be the final three. But I won't get too worked up about Gomez not being a part of the finalists just because I think Lagares and Hamilton may deserve it more this year. Lingering injuries slowed Gomez down a little bit, and the other two played great in the outfield in 2014.

So, Gomez was snubbed as far as the finalists go, perhaps. But I'm not going to say he was snubbed for the award. More just a bit surprised that Span beat him out for the final three. Gomez will just have to wait until next year to become a multi-time Gold Glove winner.