Chicago Cubs: NL second base: Javier Baez, DJ LeMahieu, Kolton Wong
I never would have guessed this outcome on the SDI rankings. Wong 12.3, LeMahieu (2 Gold Gloves) 11.9, Baez 0.0. But on fielding percentage, LeMahieu is the only one in the top five at .993. Baez (.984) and Wong (.981) aren’t close.
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In UZR-150, Wong is strongest at 17.6, LeMahieu slides in at 12.5. Baez is a distant 1.7. El Mago could be the sleeper here because there isn’t even a metric for tagging, but I think it’s between Wong and LeMahieu in the end.
NL right field: Jason Heyward, Jon Jay, Nick Markakis
Nick Markakis (2 Gold Gloves) at 3.8 and Jason Heyward (5 Gold Gloves) at 3.2, rank first and second in the SDI rankings, and the floor falls out pretty quickly after that. Jay leads the group in fielding percentage (1.000), with Markakis (.994), and Heyward (.991) following behind.
In UZR-150, Heyward’s 7.8 puts him far ahead of Jay (1.9) and Markakis (1.1). This is a strong group so it’s anyone’s guess.
This seems like one of those instances where the metrics don’t align with the eye test. We hear that criticism constantly from old-school baseball pundits who think there is more to baseball than sabermetrics. We all know what Javier Baez is capable of – can he join his teammates Anthony RIzzo and Jason Heyward with a Gold Glove in his trophy room?
We’ll find out on November 4.