You’ve seen the headlines and the happy tweets already, but congratulations to Yolmer Sánchez for winning his first career Gold Glove, as the best defensive second baseman in the American League.
Sánchez seemingly well outpaced his fellow finalists, Houston’s José Altuve and New York’s DJ LeMathieu. The clubhouse prankster well outpaced LeMathieu in a key (yet at 25% still minor, as manager and coaches’ “gut feeling” still comprise the balance of the awards) component of the Gold Gloves, SABR’s Defensive Index: Altuve score a mere 0.5, LeMathieu 7.7, Sánchez 12.4.
It makes you wonder whether the nerds get to tweak any of these awards, because for as fine a defensive season as Yolmer had, his profile (for anything but antics) is by far the lowest among the finalists. Perhaps he kept it close enough that the dominating Defensive Index finish eked him past the profiles of LeMathieu (Yankee, batting title finalist) and Altuve (adorable megamite MVP).
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Sánchez started very slow defensively out of the gate. To wit:
To Yolmer’s credit (and Scott Merkin’s, who hustled this announcement well last night on Twitter), he was digging the win in typically Sánchezian fashion:
A very happy Sanchez on winning the Gold Glove: "It means a lot. I always love to play defense. I always dream to have a Gold Glove, especially at this level. It’s a real honor. I’m just happy."— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 4, 2019
Sanchez: "I like to make a play in the hole or dive for a ball. Make crazy double plays. I’m just happy when I play defense. That’s what I love to do. I like to hit, but my favorite part is to play defense."— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 4, 2019
Sanchez said for the first few days at least, he's going to keep the Gold Glove by his bed. Then he laughed.— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 4, 2019
And now, the highlight reel: