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Elephant Rumblings: Sean Murphy named 2022 Gold Glove finalist

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MLB: New York Mets at Oakland Athletics Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

Earlier this week, I asked AN community members to vote for the A’s best players of 2022. At this point, the results seem clear enough to make a timely announcement of the the Athletics Nation Gold Glove winner: Sean Murphy takes the honors by near-unanimous consensus.

To punctuate his worthiness, Murphy was named a Rawlings Gold Glove finalist yesterday. Matt Kawahara at the San Francisco Chronicle noted that last year, the A’s star catcher became the first Oakland Athletics catcher to win the award, and now he has a chance for a repeat win.

The only other A’s to receive an AN GG nomination were shortstop Nick Allen and center fielder Cristian Pache. Both rookies have been lauded for their excellent defense. Pache certainly made some fine plays, but seems to need more time to settle in at the Coliseum. He also didn’t meet the innings qualifications for Rawlings Gold Glove consideration, though that wouldn’t necessarily preclude him from taking honors here at AN.

Allen was looking pretty spectacular at shortstop by late in the season, and he might even be in the MLB Gold Glove conversation this year had he met the innings qualifications for the award; alas, he played only 100 games in the big leagues in 2022, and many of his appearances were at second base while Elvis Andrus had the shortstop spot locked down. If Allen’s bat can justify starting him at shortstop every day next season, he should be a formidable Gold Glove candidate.

Comparing the defensive performance of players at different positions can be tricky: Ultimate Zone Ratings aren’t even used for catchers. MLB awards Gold Gloves for each position along with just one Platinum Glove for the best overall defender in each league. In that sense, it might be appropriate to call ours the AN Platinum Glove award.

But beyond the fact that Murph was the only AN GG nominee who met Rawlings Gold Glove player qualifications, he also had the fourth highest Defensive Runs Above Average (18.3) in MLB this season according to Fangraphs compared to 8.6 for Allen and 3.0 for Pache.

Catcher is a key defensive position, and Sean Murphy is one of the best damn catchers in baseball, plain and simple. He got my vote along with almost everyone else’s. I hope he’s still in Oakland come spring.

The Rawlings Gold Glove winners will be announced on November 1st, and Murphy is up against Jose Trevino of the Yankees and Cal Raleigh of the Mariners for the honor. Fingers crossed that Murph will get the repeat nod!

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