October 27, 2016
If it feels like it’s been a long time since Phillies players were in the running for the major award hardware Major League Baseball doles out each November, it has.
It’s been five years since Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels all finished in the top five of National League Cy Young Award voting. It’s been just as long (also 2011) since the Phillies had any players finish in the top 10 of MVP voting: Halladay and Ryan Howard finished 9th and 10, respectively.
The Phillies won’t be breaking into those awards races in 2016, but two of their players have a chance for a prestigious honor: shortstop Freddy Galvis and center fielder Odubel Herrera were named finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award at their positions.
Rawlings unveiled three finalists at the nine positions in each league on Thursday. The Gold Glove winners will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
The Phillies have not had a Gold Glove winner since 2012 when Jimmy Rollins won the fourth of his career at shortstop. The last time the Phillies had multiple winners? In 2009, Rollins and Shane Victorino (also a four-time Gold Glove winner) received the award.
Galvis, in his second year since taking over from Rollins as the Phillies everyday shortstop, was hardly a surprise to end up as a finalist in 2016.
Galvis made eight errors in 156 games this season. Among major league shortstops that made at least 130 starts, only two had fewer errors than Galvis: Detroit’s Jose Iglesias (five) and the New York Mets’ Asdrubal Cabrera (seven).
According to the metric DEF utilized by fangraphs.com, which measures a player’s defensive value relative to league average, Galvis was one of the top five defenders in all of baseball, regardless of position.
But the two players he’s up against for the 2016 National League Gold Glove – San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford (the reigning champ) and Chicago’s Addison Russell – rate highly on that same DEF list.
The 26-year-old Galvis, who was well-known for his sterling defense back when he was a teenager coming up through the Phillies farm system, had two separate 40-plus game errorless streaks in the 2016 season: from April 9 to May 28 (44 games) and from July 22 to Sept. 17 (51 games).
Along with being sturdy at the most demanding position in the infield, Galvis was also a nearly-nightly highlight machine.
Freddy bails out Howard pic.twitter.com/LEcLKwcof2— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) June 25, 2016
Herrera’s name ending up among the three National League finalists in center field – with Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton and Atlanta’s Ender Inciarte –is a little more surprising. A converted infielder, Herrera struggled early in his second season as an everyday outfielder. Herrera was tied with Texas’s Ian Desmond (also a converted infielder) for the most errors among major league center fielders in 2016, with nine.
But Herrera, who will always be known for his defense exploits at Wrigley Field to help preserve Cole Hamels' no-hitter in 2015, also graded out well according to fangraphs.com among major league center fielders.
The 24-year-old Herrera, made just two errors in his final 90 games this season. Half of his errors in 2016 (four) came during his first 44 games of the season (before May 24).
There had been some speculation that Herrera could be moved to a corner outfield spot in 2017, with top center field prospect Roman Quinn breaking into the big leagues last month. But with Quinn’s durability a concern, the Phillies are likely to have Herrera continue to get reps in center this coming spring.
According to a MLB.com story from a year ago, major league managers and coaches within their league (unable to vote for their own teams) account for 75 percent of the vote while the other 25 percent goes to the sabermetrics community.