Today, Rawlings announced finalists for the Gold Glove Awards and Cody Bellinger has been nominated as one of the three right fielders up for the award. This is a well-deserved nomination for Bellinger who has an argument as the best defensive outfielder this past season.
— Rawlings Sports (@RawlingsSports) October 24, 2019
Bellinger bounced around the field in 2019, playing the majority of his innings in right field (911.1), playing some center field (170 2/3 innings), and playing first base (230 innings). Overall, he combined his defensive output for a whopping 26 defensive runs saved. Bellinger, nominated in right field, got the bulk of those DRS there, amassing 19 in total. Bellinger’s 26 DRS would place him as the best defensive non-catcher in the game in front of notorious Gold Glove caliber center fielders Lorenzo Cain and Victor Robles. Bellinger also contributed seven outs above average (OAA), which placed him tied for 14th among qualified outfielders. In an MVP-type season, Bellinger not only was incredible on the offensive side of the ball, but was also outstanding defensively.
Prior to 2019, many around the league discussed Harper’s defensive deficiencies, but this year saw some big time improvement. In 2018, Harper was worth a grand total of -26 DRS. Yes, you read that right. That’s a negative sign. This season, he put up a respectable 9 DRS, which puts him 23rd among all position players. He contributed just 1 OAA, to place him 50th in that category. Simply put, a good defensive season, but not enough to top what Bellinger did in 2019.
Jason Heyward of the Chicago Cubs has won five Gold Gloves already, including one where many people believed that Yasiel Puig should have won. This season, Heyward was forced to bounce around the outfield. In center field, he was actually worth -3 DRS, but in right field — his natural position — he amassed 7 DRS. For OAA, he had a total of 8. If Bellinger had played all of his defensive innings in right field, he would have topped Heyward with ease.
What are Cody’s Chances?
Overall, this seems to be a slam dunk for Cody Bellinger. If he does not win the Gold Glove in right field, you will have every right to be upset. Don’t be surprised though, as Rawlings likes to pick reputations over actual production on occasion.