CHICAGO — Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert won a Gold Glove Award in his rookie season.
Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez finally won his first Gold Glove in his seventh season of excelling in the infield.
And Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo took home his fourth award as the National and American League winners were announced Tuesday night.
Four other Sox players — catchers Yasmani Grandal and James McCann, second baseman Danny Mendick and third baseman Yoan Moncada — were Gold Glove finalists, as were five other Cubs: pitchers Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills, catcher Willson Contreras, second baseman Nico Hoerner and right fielder Jason Heyward.
Robert is the first Sox rookie to win the award and the fifth Sox outfielder, joining Ken Berry (1970), Tommie Agee (1966), Jim Landis (1961-64) and Minnie Minoso (1957, ’60).
“I have always dreamed of winning a Gold Glove, so this is a dream come true,” Robert said in a statement. “I joked around this season with (infielder) Yolmer Sanchez about the possibility of winning it one day and being a Gold Glover like him.”
Sanchez won the Gold Glove at second base for the Sox in 2019.
“I felt happy with my defense, but I know I can do more and be better,” Robert’s statement continued. “I have to thank (coach) Daryl Boston because he helped me adjust to the big leagues and taught me to take better advantage of my defensive skills. This award is a motivation for me.”
Baez, who moved between several infield positions during his first five seasons, said he appreciated settling in at shortstop on a full-time basis in 2019.
“It’s a different feeling when you have that commitment to that position,” Baez said on ESPN’s awards show Tuesday night.
This marks the first season the Cubs have had multiple Gold Glove winners since 2016, when Rizzo and right fielder Jason Heyward earned the honor. The Cubs have won at least one Gold Glove in five consecutive seasons. Heyward, a five-time winner, won in 2016 and 2017, and Rizzo won in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Baez is the first Cubs shortstop to win a Gold Glove since Don Kessinger in 1970. He beat out fellow finalists Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves and Miguel Rojas of the Miami Marlins.
Baez committed eight errors in 56 games, but because of the truncated 60-game season, qualifications were limited to two types of defensive metrics: those from batted ball location-based data and those gathered from play-by-play accounts, including information from MLB Advanced Media’s Statcast, Sports Information Solutions and STATS LLC.
The batted ball location-based metrics, which evaluate the degree to which a fielder makes plays in specific zones on the diamond, received 70% of the weight in determining the best defender at each position. Baez was credited with seven defensive runs saved and had an SDI rating of 6.0.
“I go for my defense, and people recognize me for my defense,” he said.
The heavily tattooed Baez didn’t hesitate when asked if he would get more ink to commemorate the award.
“I’m pretty sure I will somewhere,” he said. “I don’t have much space now. Hopefully I get more (awards).”
Dating to 2018 spring training, Baez had his eyes on winning a Gold Glove.
“I’ll try to be healthy the whole year again and try to get that Gold Glove I want because obviously a lot of people notice me because of my defense,” he said at the time.
Baez won the Fielding Bible Multi-Position Award in 2016, 2017 and 2018 before taking over the full-time shortstop duties from Addison Russell near the end of the 2018 season. He earned the Fielding Bible Award at shortstop last week.
He joins Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians as the only Puerto Rican-born shortstops to win a Gold Glove.
Rizzo is one of three Cubs first basemen to earn a Gold Glove with fellow four-time winner Mark Grace (1992-93, 1995-96) and Derrek Lee (2005, 2007).
“To win a Gold Glove is something I’ll never take for granted,” said Rizzo, whose SDI rating of 3.5 easily outdistanced Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals (1.6) and Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants (0.7).
Robert, who is one of three finalists for AL Rookie of the Year, sometimes showed his range by stepping in front of left fielder Eloy Jimenez to make a catch. He had a .994 fielding percentage, committed one error in 154 chances, led all AL outfielders in total chances and ranked sixth in the league overall in defensive WAR (1.0).
He tied for second in the majors in outs above average (seven), according to MLB Statcast, and his SABR Defensive Index was 5.6.
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