MLB awards season is right around the corner, and the Tampa Bay Rays have some good representation across the board.
On Thursday, Rawlings announced the 2021 Gold Glove Award finalists. Three Rays players: Randy Arozarena, Kevin Kiermaier and Joey Wendle, were announced as finalists for this season.
Of the three, this is Arozarena and Wendle’s first finalist nomination, joining KK, a three-time winner, who was nominated for the fifth time in his career.
Kiermaier was a notable Gold Glove snub last season despite leading all center fielders in defensive runs saved (DRS), assists and ultimate zone rating (UZR).
In 2021, he once again was among the best of the best, recording 12 outs above average (OAA), a 7.3 UZR and 13 DRS. At this point, baseball fans and insiders just expect this from Kiermaier as a multi-time Gold Glove Award winner and someone who can cover an incredibly large amount of ground in the outfield.
Arozarena, still considered a rookie in the eyes of MLB for reasons we have no clue why, has been doubted at times for his defense, but there’s no question his worth in the field. He’s made spectacular catches and shown off one of the best arms in the game, finishing amongst the league leaders in assists with five.
Wendle split his time mostly between third base and shortstop, but played most of the season at third, where he received the nomination. He finished top-10 in the American League in OAA with eight and his dominance from the 2020 postseason carried over well.
Several notable omissions from this list include Manny Margot, who led all outfielders in baseball with 17 OAA, Mike Zunino, who kept in tact an ever-evolving pitching staff, and Brett Phillips, who had 11 OAA this season with just over 700 innings played in the field.
Winners will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 8:30 PM on ESPN.