Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar will be denied Gold Glove once again this year
Like it or not, the reality of it is that Toronto Blue Jays defensive specialist Kevin Pillar will once again fall short in the Gold Glove voting for a third season in a row, finishing as a bridesmaid to the eventual winner Byron Buxton.
As Blue Jays fan we have come to appreciate the affectionately named “Superman” for his injury-defying highlight reel web gems on the daily. In a season where two-time winner Kevin Kiermaier was not nominated, you would assume Pillar would be the obvious favourite for the award.
Unfortunately for Pillar, speedster Byron Buxton has better defensive metrics than Pillar in 2017 and will more than likely snatch the award from Pillar’s grasp. The only saving grace for Pillar may be if the voters acknowledge his two previous second-place finishes and anoint him the top defender on his past performances.
Statistically, Buxton had 24 Defensive Runs Saved compared to Pillar’s 15 and Lorenzo Cain‘s 5 runs saved in 2017. Kiermaier actually had 22 but missed two months of the season due to a hairline fracture in his hip and he presumably did not have the necessary 698 innings through the Rays 138th contest to qualify for the honour.
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The Twins centerfielder also had a 9.9 UZR rating which measures Ultimate Zone Rating in runs above average. Pillar compiled a 6.0 UZR a significant drop from the 21.4 rating he accumulated in 2016. The third nominee Cain had a 1.6 rating while Kiermaier was only slightly better at 2.8.
In Pillar’s favour the outfielder only made 1 error coupled with 316 putouts and 8 outfield assists while Buxton was tagged for 5 errors and 389 putouts with 6 assists last season.
Although many tend not to put much weight into fielding percentage as in year’s past, there may still be some traditional baseball minds with a voting ballot. Pillar had a .997 fielding percentage in 325 total chances compared with Buxton who defended at a .988 percentage in 400 chances.
This is essentially a two-horse race between Pillar and Buxton while Cain was the throw-in to round out the necessary nominees seeing Kiermaier did not qualify. The results will be unveiled on November 07th as ESPN airs the winner’s announcement.
The National League nominees are Billy Hamilton, Michael Taylor and Ender Inciarte respectively while Blue Jays 2013 winner R.A. Dickey is also nominated with the pitcher in the National League. Pillar’s teammate Marcus Stroman also is a finalist for the first time in his major league career.
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Defensive Highlights begin at the 2:18 mark in the below video.
Hopefully, a third time is a charm for Pillar to finally corral the top honour and add the Gold Glove to his trophy case but unfortunately, it appears he may be the bridesmaid once again at the “Golden Wedding”.