When Evan White (winner of the American League’s Golden Glove last year at first base) suffered a hip injury in mid-May, the Seattle Mariners were forced to find a usable replacement in the bag to fill for the rest. of the season. To the surprise of many, infielder Ty France blew expectations when he received the reins at first base and finished the year as a bona fide Gold Glove contender.
France, primarily a third baseman, second baseman and DH, resumed full-time first baseman on May 24, then never gave it up. During the season, France led all qualifying AL first baseman to the Gold Glove with a defensive percentage of .999; mistakes are not common at first base, but for a player who has scored 915 innings at the post, just one mistake is certainly impressive.
France’s advanced metrics to first goal this season were also outstanding: France led all AL first baseman with an ultimate zone score (UZR) of 3.0 and finished second in saved defensive runs ( DRS) with 5.
The main contenders in the AL Gold Glove first base race are Ty France, Matt Olson and Nathaniel Lowe, but France should have the advantage due to standard and advanced stats.
Olson of Oakland Athletics holds the AL lead among first baseman with 6 DRS, but is far behind France with a UZR of just 1.4. Lowe of the Texas Rangers led the AL first baseman with 14 double plays started, but his DRS and UZR are both in negative territory.
Due to Lowe’s below-average advanced metrics, the race is likely to be in France and Olson – and it’s a close race. The two share second place among AL’s first baseman in double games started (with 13), and Olson holds the DRS lead by one over France, but Olson’s six errors (awarded, in ~ 400 more innings) and the UZR comparison of 1.4 to that of France 3.0, should give France the advantage.
NOT ONCE in MLB history has a team had a Gold Glove first baseman two years in a row, but the two winners were different players. If France wins the Gold Glove on November 2 following Evan White’s victory a year earlier, we will witness an unprecedented moment.