Mookie Betts might win two Gold Glove Awards this season. He is in the top three finishers in the National League for both right field and the relatively new utility position. Betts is one of three Dodgers to finish in the top three at their positions for a Gold Glove Award, along with first baseman Freddie Freeman and left fielder David Peralta.
The winners of the Gold Glove Awards will be announced on Sunday, November 5 on ESPN beginning at 4:30 p.m. PT.
Betts has won a Gold Glove in right field in six of the last seven seasons, four with the Red Sox and two with the Dodgers. In the one year in that stretch that Betts didn’t win, in 2021, he was among the top three finishers at the position in the NL.
This year, Betts only started 77 games in right field, though he did finish most games there, totaling 701⅔ innings at the position. In his five full seasons winning a Gold Glove (2016-19, 2022), Betts averaged 1,211 innings in right field, never fewer than 1,001 innings in one season. In 2021, when he didn’t win the Gold Glove (Adam Duvall did), Betts was injured for part of the year and started 25 games in center field, totaling 751⅔ innings in right field.
In 2023, Betts did not spend time on the injured list but did play second base regularly, essentially starting at the position against nearly all right-handed pitchers after the All-Star break, allowing the Dodgers to start left-handed hitters in all three outfield spots. But Betts proved adept with the glove at second base, finishing with seven Defensive Runs Saved despite playing only 485 innings there, roughly a third of the season.
Betts was rated at minus-one Outs Above Average at second base, a plus-six at Total Zone Rating, and scored 0.6 Defensive Runs Prevented at Baseball Prospectus.
Playing right field and second base, plus 12 starts and 98 defensive innings, also earned Betts a nod at the utility spot, a position added to the Gold Glove Awards in 2022 to recognize multi-position players.
Betts’ competition for the utility spot is Ha-Seong Kim of the Padres, who is also a finalist at second base, as well as Cardinals infielder/outfielder Tommy Edman.
In right field, the top three National League finishers are Betts, Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres, and Lane Thomas of the Nationals.
Gold Glove Awards are determined by a combination of voting and statistics. Managers and up to six coaches from every major league team account for 75 percent of the weight, and those folks can’t vote on players for players on their own team. The other 25 percent is the SABR Defensive Index, which is comprised of six different data sources, and “aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts, including data from MLBAM’s Statcast, Sports Info Solutions, and STATS Perform.”
Freeman joins the D-backs Christian Walker and Carlos Santana of the Pirates and Brewers as top-three finishers at first base in the National League. Freeman won a Gold Glove in 2018 with Atlanta — tying with then-Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo — and was also a top-three finisher in the National League in 2012 and 2021.
Defensive stats vary on Freeman, who is rated at three Outs Above Average and three Total Zone Rating, but also a minus-eight Defensive Runs Saved.
The last Dodgers first baseman to win a Gold Glove Award was Adrián González in 2014.
This is the third straight year Peralta is a top-three finisher in left field in the National League, including in 2022 when he spent the final two months of the season in the American League with the Rays. Peralta won a Gold Glove Award in left field with the D-backs in 2019.
Peralta had seven Defensive Runs Saved and a 13 Total Zone Rating in left field (the latter second only to Lourdes Gurriel at the position in the NL), but was also at minus-three Outs Above Average.
Ian Happ of the Cubs and Eddie Rosario of the Braves are the other top-three finishers in left field in the NL. The last Dodgers left fielder to win a Gold Glove Award was Dusty Baker in 1981.
With the caveat that the SABR Defensive Index (SDI) accounts for only a quarter of the decision process, and that SABR won’t update its final SDI stats until after the award winners are announced, here is how these Dodgers stacked up by SDI at their various positions as of August 13 (the late update):
Carlos Santana 6.5
Christian Walker 4.2
Freddie Freeman -2.6
David Peralta 2.2
Eddie Rosario 0.2
Ian Happ 0.0
Fernando Tatis Jr. 16.0
Mookie Betts 1.0
Lane Thomas 0.9
The utility position wasn’t listed, but Ha-Seong Kim is the only one of the three players listed among the top-25 overall fielders in the National League, with his 8.3 SDI number that also led second basemen in the league.