Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has been named a finalist for the 2017 AL Gold Glove award for the third base position.
The 2017 season was somewhat of a down season for Machado, easily his worst that he’s had offensively, as he ended the season slashing .259/.310/.471. The average and OBP numbers were career lows for him.
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A fair bit of that was very bad luck though, as his batted ball stats all looked pretty normal. His hard-hit rate was a career-high 39.5% and his HR/FB rate was a pretty normal (for him) 15.1%.
Everything looked pretty normal except for one thing – his BABIP. In the first half of the season, Machado was slashing .230/.296/.445, and his BABIP sat at .239. Once his BABIP normalized to .290 in the second half, he slashed .290/.326/.500, much more like the Manny Machado we’ve all come to know and love.
It’s not a surprise to see Machado nominated for a Gold Glove award, he’s won two of them, including a Platinum Glove award in his brief five-year career with the Baltimore Orioles so far. He’s also a three-time All-Star to go along with that.
Machado certainly had his highlight-worthy plays this year, and the whole world got to see just how talented the 25-year-old is in the World Baseball Classic, including this amazing diving play:
And this grab that shows off just how excellent Machado’s range and arm really are:
And, of course, there are any number of highlights we could show during Machado’s season with the Baltimore Orioles this year, he’s certainly had plenty, but this is one of my personal favorites:
What’s amazing to me about that play is that that’s an oddly-hit ball. You don’t see balls bounce up that high off the ground too often, and for Machado to not only field that cleanly, but to then fire it to Chris Davis at first base for the out is amazing.
But as used to Gold Glove Manny as Baltimore Orioles fans are, he actually had a relatively down year in the field. His fielding percentage was .967 at third base this year, lower than last year (though not as low as it was in 2015 when he won a Gold Glove).
The worst stat though, and the one that I think hurts his chances at winning the Gold Glove the most this year is his defensive runs saved, which was just six this year. in 2013 and 2015, the years he won his two Gold Gloves, his defensive runs saved was 35 and 14 respectively.
Compare that to Evan Longoria’s 11 defensive runs saved and that might prevent Machado from winning his third Gold Glove (though Jose Ramirez’s defensive runs saved is zero, so perhaps Machado has a shot).
Regardless of whether he wins the award or not, it’s awesome to see Machado continue to get the recognition he deserves as one of the best fielding third basemen in the American League.