This week’s respondents are Chad Dotson, Matt Habel, Steve Mancuso, Clay Marshall and Tom Mitsoff.

Our Daily Reds Obsession: Which of the four Reds Gold Glove finalists has the best chance to win? 

Chad: I want to say Tucker Barnhart here, since pretty much every advanced metric rates Barnhart as the best defensive catcher in either league. He also scores well on the “eye test,” catching more would-be base-stealers than any other catcher. He’s a solid choice to win his first Gold Glove … but I’m afraid he won’t win, because his competition is so fierce. Yadier Molina and Buster Posey have won the last nine awards (Molina 8, Posey 1), and Molina still has that formidable neck tattoo that Tucker can’t match.

So I’m going to say Billy Hamilton has the best chance to win. His competition is tough, as well — Atlanta’s Ender Inciarte won the award last year — but this is Hamilton’s fourth time as a finalist, and I’m guessing it’s his turn to win the Gold Glove.

Matt: Unfortunately, I have a feeling they will be 0/4 on Gold Gloves this year. Duvall did well to be a finalist again but will probably not win. Barnhart had a fantastic year but does not have the reputation and will most likely lose out to 8-time winner with neck tats. Votto’s great offensive year ironically helps with his gold glove case, but I fear his poor defensive performance in 2016 holds him back. Playoff appearances by the Cubs and Diamondbacks bolster his competition’s appeal as well. Hamilton makes the most sense but I still fear his time missed due to injury opened the door for the incumbent Inciarte, who played nearly 200 more innings than Billy. However, Inciarte was much more deserving last year, at least according to the metrics, so hopefully the voters placed more value on the numbers this year and reward Billy with his first Gold Glove.

Steve: You can make a reasonable case for any of the four. In LF, Gerardo Parra didn’t play even half a season in left. Marcel Ozuna has a slight edge over Adam Duvall in a few advanced stats, but it’s close. Neither has won a GG before. Duvall has more assists (15 vs. 10) and better range. At catcher, Tucker Barnhart has an edge in advanced stats over Yadi Molina. But until Molina shows decline in his defense, he’ll keep winning. But incumbency isn’t as automatic as it used to be. In CF, Billy Hamilton is clearly ahead of Ender Inciarte in advanced stats. Michael Taylor is ahead of both of them, but played only 940 innings. I could see any of the three winning. At 1B, neither Paul Goldschmidt or Anthony Rizzo is a whiz with the glove, and Joey Votto has an edge in the advanced metrics. Each of the three has won a GG before. I’ll say Votto > Hamilton > Duvall > Barnhart. Votto ahead of Hamilton because a few of the voters let offense leak into their thinking. But I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the four Reds win.

Clay: I fear that starting only 105 games will hurt Tucker Barnhart’s candidacy, and I have a nagging feeling that Billy Hamilton’s late-season injury might once again prevent him from being chosen as well. By leading the league in outfield assists, however, Adam Duvall has a shiny number that even those who can’t easily parse advanced defensive statistics will be able to digest. I also expect Joey Votto to earn a few votes on respect alone for starting all 162 games. It also seems that after a few years of relative collective ignorance, many writers, commentators and tastemakers (for lack of a better term) have come around to appreciate Votto. Hopefully those sentiments will help his cause here, and more importantly, in the MVP vote.

Tom: I have been a member of the Tucker Barnhart Fan Club for years. Joey Votto commented that he believes Barnhart is the best defensive player in the National League, regardless of position. Buster Posey and Yadier Molina have the advantage of being long-time veteran defensive standouts at the position, and that always seems to carry lots of weight. Barnhart had the most runners caught stealing (32) of any major league catcher. Of course, that’s not the only important defensive stat for a catcher, but it is quite noteworthy. Of the Reds’ nominees, I think Billy Hamilton has the best chance. But I think Barnhart is the most deserving.

18 Responses

  1. Shchi Cossack

    I’m in the same camp as most of the editors, Tucker is most deserving but will probably not win simply due to reputation and recognition rather than performance. The GG for CF is a toss up among the three finalists. The GG for 1B becomes more of a defensive award for offensive performance, again a toss up. Duvall may have had the best chance of winning a GG in LF, but his late-season offensive swoon may have wrecked that chance.

    I hope the Reds can walk away with one or two GG awards, but I think a shutout is more likely.

  2. cfd3000

    Votto = Hamilton > Barnhart > Duvall. I think Votto and Hamilton will win. I think Barnhart should win. Barnhart is solid all around, with better advanced stats and the easy caught stealing totals and percentages to justify the pick. But lack of name recognition and toiling in an obscure market for a last place team will likely rob him of the award. Votto has a GG, made a concerted and public effort to improve his defense and then did just that. I think the earlier GG gives voters the reassurance that it’s okay to pick him again and I believe they will. As for Hamilton he’s played better in the past but I think he’ll get the nod more for his body of work than the 2017 performance. Kind of like getting the Oscar but for a middling role, in recognition of all your performances. I think Duvall gets left out because by the time voters get to him they’ll have marked down “Reds” two or three times already and will look elsewhere for their LF vote. So I predict two this year with Barnhart most deserving but empty handed, but starting with 2018 he starts a run of several Gold Gloves in a row. And FWIW I think Votto finally gets his first (overdue) silver slugger award this year.

    • Dave Bell

      It’s just crazy that Votto hasn’t won a Silver Slugger award. Don’t take offense, but I had to look it up because that just couldn’t be true. But it is. Crazy

      • Theresa Legault

        I couldn’t believe that either! If he Votto doesn’t get the Silver Slugger this year, I will be very upset.

  3. WVRedlegs

    All four are deserving, but the top 3 bring home the award.
    1. Billy Hamilton.
    2. Adam Duvall
    3. Joey Votto
    4. Tucker Barnhart
    Votto just being in the conversation shows just how much pride Votto takes in his defense. He said he was going to put in a lot of work over the winter last year and it showed. He had let his defense lapse some the last 2-3 years. I hope the voters reward him for that and not just his offense. Votto is a better picker out of the dirt than Rizzo and Goldschmidt, too. Barnhart may be the most deserving, but he unfortunately will get penalized in the voters’ minds only playing in just over 100 games.
    Four GG finalists with Suarez and Cozart make for a mighty fine defense behind the pitcher. That is 6 solid spots defensively out of 8 positions. A nice selling point to a top-tier starting pitcher obtained by a trade. Or a top-tier free agent or by trade bullpen arm. Only weak links are at 2B and RF. But both of those spots are manned by more offensively minded players.

  4. Old-school

    Joey Votto became a superstar this year. I think he is rewarded.

    • Michael

      Not to nit pick but but he has been a superstar for a while.

      • old-school

        His hitting and stats certainly have been superstar worthy. But, I get a sense Votto elevated his national profile this year such that the media and his peers are now recognizing it.

        – his continued( improved???) excellence,
        – his Ripken-esque 162 game starts.
        – his personality -throwing balls on the roof at Wrigley and interacting with fans, Cozart and the All Star donkey that got national attention, him embracing his super-stardom for fans and media to see and enjoy.
        – Genuine respect for his greatness from his peers and opposing managers- Kris Bryant called him the best player in the game. Maddon called him ungodly and put 4 outfielders to shut him down. (he still got a hit.)
        – the hero homerun.

        It could be wishful thinking, but I think Votto really made some big strides towards a Hall of Fame career and cementing his status as an icon in the game. I hope he gets some hardware.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Just an opinion from the Old Cossack (and we all know what that’s worth!)…

        The only issue with Votto’s reputation and legacy as an elite, HOF-worthy player was his knee and subsequent quad injury, costing him two seasons of peak performance. Those two seasons would have arguably been the two best seasons of his career. He had limited MLB experience prior to the injury and he had limited MLB experience after the injury. A whole bunch of a lot of people chaulked Votto’s career as done when he injured his quad after the knee injury and emphasized that with his age and anticipated age regression. He is just now reestablishing the performance expectations and consistency he had begun to establish before the injury. The talking heads, players, coaches and fans simply have to acknowledge that performance and consistency with his track record reestablished as a routine MVP candidate. We can only imagine what if, if he had not injured his knee!

      • VaRedsFan

        No Michael…Old School had it right to begin with. He became a superstar this year by attacking balls in the strike zone. He was aggressive driving in runs, aggressive early in the counts where he used to watch hittable table pitches go by. His plate discipline didn’t suffer because of it either, like so many people here predicted. He took his passive approach and turned it positive, like the whole world has been clamoring for since his 2010 year. He is now not just a good player on a bad team. He was a Top 5 Great player in all of baseball, on a national level.

      • lwblogger2

        He swung at a little under 3% more pitches in the zone than he did in 2016 (71.4% in 2017, 68.6% in 2016, 68.7% career). That’s a pretty significant jump but still only 3 more swings out of 100 strikes. The eye-test said he seemed to swing at more pitches in the heart of the zone but there’s no data to support that observation. What is very significant from the statistics though is he swung at a lot fewer balls out of the zone this year. His swing rate on pitches out of the zone dropped to a career best 15.8%. He simply didn’t swing at many balls out of the zone. His 2016 had him at 20.8% and his career mark is 22.1%.

  5. Klugo

    Best chance? Probably Votto.
    Most deserving? Billy IMO.

  6. JREIS

    if Hamilton doesn’t win this year then what is the point of having a gold glove award. I mean no offense to Inciarte but it is not even close. not sure whose defensive metrics were better and don’t care.

    bottom of the ninth and your team is leading by one run, and the base are loaded with two outs and a flare is hit to centerfield, who would you rather have in center?

  7. Kyblu50

    How about trading Billy and Scooter to Seattle for one of their top young pitchers and two of their top ten prospects. Rumors have Cano moving to First so they need Scooter for second base. Center field is big so Billy can handle that. They have free agent Jarrod Dyson is leaving who played center field which would play well here and can use Erwin and others to rest him. He bats left.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      You’d need more than Hamilton and Scooter to get a top young pitcher and two top-10 prospects from Seattle or any other team.

      • IndyRedMan

        Billy and Tucker are the best there is defensively! It also makes perfect sense for both parties to trade Billy to the Rockies! They could move Blackmon to a corner OF spot and Billy might lead the league in triples in Coors. GABP is too small to get the most out of Billy’s abilities! He really needs to go because Price will never move him out of leadoff. Art Howe syndrome from Moneyball….can’t keep starting a guy that you traded to Detroit

      • IndyRedMan

        Billy .371 (6 doubles) lifetime in Coors (62 atbats). Small and inaccurate sample size you say? He obv wouldn’t hit .350+, but I would argue that more flares fall in with that enormous outfield and he’s not a good breaking ball hitter either which is much less of a factor in the thin air where breaking balls go to hang!

  8. Preach

    The fact of the matter is that most defensive statistics dont really matter when it comes to the GG. Three things that matter for some unexplainable reason are flash, offensive output, and iron man/feel good stuff. Based on this my guess for the Reds are Billy and Joey.