Friday newsletter time: Semien’s defense is recognized, but were other Rangers snubbed?
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Marcus Semien has been selected as one of three finalists for the American League Gold Glove at second base.
He’s the reigning AL Gold Glove winner after his terrific all-around 2021 season with Toronto, but at one point late in this season he wasn’t sure if he would repeat. He finished third in the league fielding percentage (.989) and second in defensive runs saved behind fellow finalist Andres Gimenez.
Semien also fared well in the SABR Defensive Index, which accounts for 25 percent in the selection process.
The numbers say Semien is a deserving finalist.
Adolis Garcia, though, was not a finalist in right field, where his numbers don’t meet the eye test. He saved only two runs there, according to FanGraphs, whereas the top three in defensive runs saved (Kyle Tucker, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Max Kepler) are the three finalists.
Garcia had 10 outfield assists, tied second in the AL for all outfielders. Eight of those came in right field, where he logged 750 innings. Be he had another 427 in center field.
The split time might have cost him again this season as it did in 2021, when he played mostly center field until Joey Gallo was traded. Garcia exceled at both positions, but was not a finalist at either spot.
Another factor was the SABR index, which gave Garcia -0.4 rating. That doesn’t match the eye test.
Catcher Jonah Heim had a case, too. He was sixth in FanGraphs defensive runs saved and fourth in total defensive value, and second in MLB Statcast catcher framing runs. But SABR didn’t like Heim all that much, ranking him 10th. He wasn’t among the leaders in throwing out runners, though that is usually caused by a pitcher’s slow delivery.
There aren’t nine AL catchers better than Heim.
Jose Trevino, Sean Murphy and Cal Raleigh finished 1-2-3 in total catching defense, and are the three finalists. Trevino, the former Rangers catcher, should win the award.
Taveras’ winter off
Leody Taveras has been a regular in the Dominican Winter League the past few seasons, or as regular as a player in his late teens and early 20s can be. He played every day last season for Aguilas.
But he will not play this winter after what rates as the most labor intensive season of his career. He played 148 games between Triple A Round Rock and the big leagues (99), and in September started to feel it taking a toll.
That isn’t necessarily why Taveras struggled down the stretch, but his goal for the offseason is to get stronger and in better shape for a full big-league season. He should be the Opening Day center fielder.
He makes a difference on defense, and one way to help a team’s pitching is to field as many high-caliber defensive players as possible. An outfield with Taveras and Garcia will help. An outfield of Taveras, Garcia and Bubba Thompson would help a lot.
Taveras, despite is late swoon, also showed well offensively. It’s relative with him after a suspect 2021 season offensively, but his .261 average 21 extra-base hits in 314 at-bats is a good starting point. He needs to strike out less, but who doesn’t these days?
And, as needs to be pointed out, he is still incredibly young and learning. Taveras learned a great deal this season, and how he applies it early next season will be a storyline to follow.
Card of the Week
The Do It For Durrett annual event was last Friday, and the Wilsons did not walk away empty-handed.
Michael Wang, a friend of Rangers Today, gave my son a complete giveaway card set of the 2021 High A Hickory squad. The best of card is of Justin Foscue, and Blaine Crim’s is pretty sharp.
In terms of timeliness, though, this one stood out.
It’s the 2021 Hickory Crawdads card of right-hander Nick Starr.
Starr pitched well down the stretch the season for Double A Frisco and was on the mound when the RoughRiders captured the Texas League title. He had about two weeks off before joining the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League, where he tossed another scoreless inning Thursday.
His ERA after five games/seven innings is a tidy 0.00.
Starr’s batterymate, Cody Freeman, is scheduled to be the guest for the new episode of the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast.
Hopping into the weekend like … . Enjoy.
Sproing, Sproing, Sproing pic.twitter.com/3Ia7ep9Hr9
— Heckin Good Dogs (@HeckinGoodDogs) October 20, 2022
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org