Two members of the Oakland A’s won Gold Glove Awards on Sunday, but it’s not quite the same pair we’ve become used to.
Third baseman Matt Chapman won as usual, for the third time in the last four years, and he was joined by somebody new as catcher Sean Murphy earned his first award.
Meanwhile, first baseman Matt Olson was denied what would have been his third nod in four years. He was named as a finalist but didn’t win, marking his second straight year getting snubbed.
Here’s the full AL lineup for 2021; click here to see the NL crew:
- P: Dallas Keuchel, CHW
- C: Sean Murphy, OAK
- 1B: Yuli Gurriel, HOU
- 2B: Marcus Semien, TOR
- SS: Carlos Correa, HOU
- 3B: Matt Chapman, OAK
- LF: Andrew Benintendi, KCR
- CF: Michael A. Taylor, KCR
- RF: Joey Gallo, TEX/NYY
Besides Chapman, the only other repeat winners were Keuchel (fifth win) and Gallo (second straight). In the NL, third baseman Nolan Arenado of the Cardinals won his ninth straight award.
For Chapman, this is one more piece of hardware to add to a growing pile. Not only did he win the Gold Glove in each of 2018 and 2019, he also won the Platinum Glove both years as the top AL defender at any position. The only thing that stopped him in 2020 was an injury that took him off the field. Everybody knows he’s the best, making a game-changing impact with his incredible range and reflexes and arm, and now it’s just a matter of how much gold he can rack up.
For Murphy, this is the culmination of years of potential. Throughout the minors he was touted as an elite defender with Gold Gloves in his future, and now that scouting report has officially come true, in his first full-length six-month MLB season. One area in which he particularly shined was pitch framing, where Statcast put him among the league leaders in creating extra strikes.
In addition to being the first Gold Glove of Murphy’s career, it’s also the first ever for an A’s catcher. Here’s the all-time list of Oakland A’s winners:
- Joe Rudi, OF: 1974-76
- Dwayne Murphy, OF: 1980-85
- Mike Norris, P: 1980-81
- Rickey Henderson, OF: 1981
- Alfredo Griffin, SS: 1985
- Mark McGwire, 1B: 1990
- Eric Chavez, 3B: 2001-06
- Josh Reddick, RF: 2012
- Matt Olson, 1B: 2018-19
- Matt Chapman, 3B: 2018-19, 2021
- Sean Murphy, C: 2021
As for Olson, A’s fans know he’s the best in the league, so it’s a bummer to not see him join his teammates. He was also snubbed last year, when the award was based entirely on one small-sample metric. The stats hurt him again this time around, as although he led winner Yuli Gurriel in both DRS and UZR, Gurriel led in SDI, which is the one that gets a 25% share of the vote alongside the opinions of managers and coaches.
But despite that near miss, Oakland still nabbed two Gold Gloves. Congrats to Chapman and Murphy!
Chapman too but that’s boring now.— Chris Bassitt (@C_Bass419) November 8, 2021
In one final note about defensive honors, the Fielding Bible awards were announced and nobody on the A’s won. Olson was going for his fourth straight win but was edged out by Paul Goldschmidt of the Cardinals, finishing as runner-up comfortably ahead of Gurriel. At third base, Chapman was going for his third win but barely missed behind Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pirates, though he did at least beat Arenado. Murphy was third among catchers in another close race.