The Twins’ Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier were awarded Gold Gloves, baseball’s most prestigious defensive awards, in voting by league managers an coaches announced Tuesday.
It’s the first time since Joe Mauer won as a catcher in 2010 that any Minnesota player earned a Gold Glove, and the first time in a decade, since Torii Hunter and Johan Santana were honored in their final season here, that a pair of Twins won in the same year.
“For Byron, it’s recognition of what we all saw this year, the emergence of an elite defender,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “And for Brian to be recognized, I’m really happy for him. There have been a lot of great second baseman out there, so it hasn’t been easy for him to jump up and be recognized as someone who can make the high-end plays with anybody.”
Buck's highlights �� pic.twitter.com/joaHTfHkJU— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) November 8, 2017
Buxton’s trophy was not unexpected, given that most analytic metrics rate him as one of the game’s top defenders. FanGraphs’ analytics estimated that Buxton saved 24 runs this season, with no other outfielder racking up more than 15.
The honor for Dozier was more unexpected, given that the other two finalists, Detroit’s Ian Kinsler and Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, have won before.
Defensive metrics aren’t as kind to Dozier, rating him in the middle of AL second basemen, but the fifth-year veteran clearly made an impression in the league’s dugouts.
Dozier's highlights �� pic.twitter.com/pdvYLx3aLw— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) November 8, 2017
The Twins had promoted Mauer for the defensive honor, too, citing his strong season at first base that rated, according to FanGraphs, as the best in the league. But Mauer was not among the three finalists — Cleveland’s Carlos Santana, Boston’s Mitch Moreland and Eric Hosmer of Kansas City, who won the honor for the fourth time in his career.