When an award representing overall fielding excellence, voted on by the manager and six (6) coaches for each Major League Baseball team, doesn’t go to the best overall defensive player in baseball in 2023, what do you say?
In the case of Blue Jays rotation stalwart Chris Bassitt, you point out the absurdity of the results to defend your guy! And rightfully so. This is a man who pitched 7.2 innings of four-hit shutout ball with eight strikeouts against his former Mets colleagues in June, before flying to Toronto to be with his wife Jessica, who was in labor, expecting their second child.
Nicknamed “Hound”, Bassitt always has his teammates backs, and they love him for it. In this latest example of him standing up for his teammates, he pointed out that Jays outfielder Daulton Varsho was snubbed in the Gold Glove vote where he was a finalist for left field, despite leading baseball in total defensive runs saved above average (DRS), with 29. The next seven position players behind him on the DRS ranking all won Gold Gloves!
Guardians LF Steven Kwan won the award for a second consecutive year in the American League after leading MLB left fielders in DRS (16) and Statcast’s outs above average (9). By comparison, Varsho had a DRS in left field of 11, and an OAA of 1.
But that ignores the fact that he split time between LF (96 games, 817.2 innings) and centre field (59 games, 462 innings), where he tied for the AL lead with teammate Kevin Kiermaier at a DRS of 18, and had an OAA of 10 to rank sixth among AL centre fielders.
Given Varsho’s combined DRS of +29 in the outfield, it seems unfair he wasn’t recognized for his overall fielding excellence like the next seven position players behind him. Apparently all of those innings played in CF resulted in him falling through the cracks? Or as Bassitt called it, “pure stupidity only baseball can pull off.”
In his reply to the question, “Who was the biggest Gold Glove snub?” Bassitt responded “Varsho and its not even close.”
The only plausible explanation for the snub comes from the rules on player qualification and voting. Note the following rules that disadvantaged Varsho:
As a result Varsho’s 817.2 innings played in left field trailed Kwan’s 1352 innings in left; and, because Varsho played more innings in LF than CF (462 innings), he qualified as a finalist in LF, not CF.
- The Rawlings Gold Glove Award® represents overall fielding excellence, and it is not an award based solely on fielding metrics and statistics, nor does it factor in offensive production.
- Only the manager and six (6) coaches for each Major League Baseball team vote, for a total of seven (7) votes per team.
- Managers and coaches cannot vote for their own players and can only vote for players in their own League, i.e. Jays coaches who saw his defensive exploits couldn’t vote for Varsho.
- Managers and coaches cast votes for players at particular positions, not in general terms; i.e. qualified LF instead of three general OF.
Daulton Varsho clearly slipped through the cracks for a Gold Glove award in 2023. With Kevin Kiermaier a free agent, perhaps Varsho will play all of his innings in CF next year, which would allow MLB to rectify what was clearly an undeserved snub this year. As Bassitt said, “its not even close.’