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3 Atlanta Braves Nominated for Gold Gloves in 2024
Austin Riley, who has steadily improved his defense the past few years. He looks like an elite defender at this point in his career and the stats back him up. No real surprise that he was nominated.
Michael Harris II received his first nomination and we expect to see him in contention for years to come. He’s one of the best centerfielders in the game.
Lastly, Eddie Rosario received a nomination in leftfield. I highly doubt anyone would have guessed that one.
Braves Fans Surprised by Eddie Rosario’s Nomination
Rosario appeared to have been taken out of a game earlier this year after a couple of defensive miscues. At one point we jokingly credited Rosario with adding a whole earned run to Spencer Strider‘s ERA. Now, here he is with a Gold Glove nomination.
Metrics Behind Rosario’s Gold Glove Nomination
Rosario finished in the 81st percentile in Outs Above Average (OAA). This is a fairly recent and popular metric used by Baseball Savant. It isn’t the be-all, end-all defensive stat but it often cited as a standalone metric. Regarding outfielders, OAA only measures range based on catch probability.
For more information on defensive metrics check out our Guide to Defensive Metrics and Analytics.
Essentially, how far does the fielder have to run to get the ball? How long was the ball in the air? What percentage of outfielders catch the ball based on those metrics? If 65% of outfielders make the play, then the fielder is credited with the difference (.35) to his OAA score. If he fails to make the play, he loses .65 points.
This doesn’t account for positioning or the arm, which are definitely a big part of the defensive game. That’s why Acuna’s OAA is terrible but his total DRS is not bad.
For his career, Rosario has -6 defensive runs saved as an outfielder. That doesn’t mean he cost his team six runs. It means he was worth two fewer runs saved (not actual runs) than the average players at his position.
As a leftfielder, Rosario has +11 runs saved above average. There’s no doubt, he’s an above-average left fielder. In 2023, he had three defensive runs saved in left. Not exactly setting the world on fire, but better than average.
Not a Lot of Competition for Gold Glove in LF in 2023
Only 10 players had enough innings in left to qualify for the Gold Glove in 2023. A player needs 698 innings at a specific position to qualify for a Gold Glove. I wonder how they settled on that number.
Left field is not exactly a hotbed for premium defenders. That’s where guys like Marcell Ozuna and Evan Gattis go to play the field. Eddie Rosario’s three DRS were actually third in the NL among qualified defenders.
Fangraphs has a stat called DEF, which is fielding runs saved above average and it removes the positional adjustments. For example, if you are three runs better than the average centerfielder, you are leaps and bounds better than the average left fielder. An average major-league CF is way better than an average LF.
If you remove positional adjustments from the equation, only one LF had a positive score and that was Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who isn’t even nominated. Eddie Rosario was worth -1.2 fielding runs.
Rosario also scored negative marks on both Fangraphs and Baseball Savant for his arm. It seems unlikely that he’ll win the Gold Glove but let this serve as a reminder that Rosario provided stable defense in left field. Kyle Schwarber finished last among qualified candidates with -21 DRS.