Dansby Swanson, Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ Named Gold Glove Finalists

The 2023 Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalists were announced live on Twitter Wednesday afternoon and the Cubs saw three players named among the groups of three at each position in the National League. Nico Hoerner is a finalist at second base while Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ are trying to repeat at shortstop and left field, respectively.

To determine the winners, the 30 MLB managers and up to six coaches from each team will vote from a pool of players in their league that does not include players from their own team. These votes comprise 75% of the selection total, with the SABR Defensive Index counting for the remainder. There’s also a utility position this season that will be awarded based on a defensive formula created by Rawlings and SABR.

Swanson seems like a lock to repeat after leading all of MLB with 20 outs above average and finishing first among all shortstops with 18 defensive runs saved. Fans who were watching anxiously as the season wound down may be concerned about a few fumbles in September, but that shouldn’t take away from the overall body of work.

Hoerner finished tied for eighth in MLB among qualified defenders with 14 OAA and was 17th with 11 DRS, but he’s got some stiff competition here. Bryson Stott had 17 OAA and 7 DRS while Ha-Seong Kim was at 7 and 11 in those areas. Kim also played over 400 innings between third and short, which earned him a nod at the utility position and could harm his case here. I think Hoerner takes it home in the end.

If we’re being really honest here, Happ may have been included simply because he’s the reigning Gold Glover in left. The eye test tells us he didn’t have a great season out there and the numbers aren’t very kind. Though Happ’s 2 DRS mark ties him for seventh, his -7 OAA puts him 42nd among all NL left fielders who logged at least 100 innings there this past season.

There’s a lot more to these awards than just the two metrics I’m using, of course, but these are cases in which the numbers tend to sync up with what we saw on the field. Winners will be unveiled on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight on Sunday, November 5 at 7:30pm ET.

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