Colorado Rockies: Why Ryan McMahon will (probably) be robbed of his first Gold Glove Award

On Thursday, Rawlings announced the National League (and American League) Gold Glove Finalists for the 2021 season, and the Colorado Rockies only had one representative: Ryan McMahon.

He was a finalist for third base, the position he played roughly 70 percent of the time in 2021 with second base accounting for the other 30 percent (with the exception of three innings at shortstop).

Why will Colorado Rockies infielder Ryan McMahon be robbed of a Gold Glove Award?

If you watched nearly any game he played in, you saw that Ryan McMahon was deserving of a Gold Glove Award.

But that doesn’t mean that he will win one. As with most things in baseball, you have to balance the stats with what you see, especially with other players and teams since you can’t watch every play of more than 2,400 games per season.

At third base, here are the Defensive Runs Saved leaders in the NL at third base per FanGraphs

  1. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh (16 DRS)
  2. Austin Riley, Atlanta (13 DRS)
  3. Ryan McMahon, Colorado (12 DRS)
  4. Nolan Arenado, St. Louis (6 DRS)
  5. Manny Machado, San Diego (6 DRS)

Do you want to guess who the three finalists are for the position? McMahon, Arenado, and Machado (3-5). There’s a legitimate reason why Hayes was not chosen (he didn’t have enough innings played to qualify) but Riley was left off the list completely.

This helps and hurts McMahon. It helps McMahon with the fact that the voters (each NL manager and six of his coaches have votes but they cannot vote for their own players) removed someone that was *technically* ahead of him in Riley (more on that technicality later).

But it also hurts him in the fact that the voters went with more veteran guys and the mindset of “oh, this guy has been an elite defender for years so he’s got my vote” and not do the research. Frankly, a lack of research is the reason why Riley isn’t a finalist.

A case in point of not doing research was presented earlier this season.

Ruben Amaro, Jr., the former GM of the Philadelphia Phillies as well as a former first base coach (aka a person that voted on Gold Glove Awards) for the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets from 2016 through 2018, was a color commentator for the Phillies on TV when they were at Coors Field in April.

Amaro, Jr. quipped that McMahon “isn’t a good defender” but they “have to have his bat in the lineup” so they have to “deal” with his defense.

After the series, we wrote an entire article (that was more than 2800 words, including Amaro, Jr.’s quotes) on the shortcomings of their broadcasts that weekend.

Colorado Rockies fans know that Nolan Arenado is a great defender … but he did not have a great year compared to his standards. Machado has long been a good defender both at shortstop and at third (he won two Gold Gloves at shortstop). But of the three, McMahon is the clear winner.

McMahon being the winner is even more clear when you consider that he had 9 DRS at second base … in just 368.1 innings played there. That puts him first in the National League. The next highest players in DRS are Adam Frazier (7 DRS), Kolten Wong (6), and Tommy Edman (6). Frazier wasn’t nominated but Wong and Edman were.

Ozzie Albies was the other finalist. He had had one (1) DRS. He played second base more than 3.5 times the amount that McMahon did in 2021 … and McMahon had 9 DRS there.

Especially when you consider overall play between third and second base, it’s clear that McMahon is deserving of the Gold Glove and, realistically, he should win a Platinum Glove Award or should be in serious consideration (he’s tied with Pittsburgh catcher Jacob Stallings at 21 DRS for the NL and MLB lead) but McMahon should be given the upper hand since he did it at two positions.

Don’t hold your breath on that happening as, because of a lack of research and his track record, Nolan Arenado will probably win the NL Gold Glove Award and probably the Platinum Glove Award too. If it’s McMahon for one or both, we will more than happy to say that we were wrong.