2021 marked the first time in a decade that the Colorado Rockies did not have a single Gold Glove award winner. Ryan McMahon came close as a finalist at third base but was notably beat out by former Rockie Nolan Arenado. McMahon isn’t likely to contend for a positional award again this year, but the Rockies may have a new candidate in 2022 over at second base in Brendan Rodgers.
You may look at Rodgers’s .981 fielding percentage and think that immediately should keep him out of consideration. After all, he leads all second basemen in the National League with 10 errors at the position. Errors have been a glaring problem for the team this year and no infielder has been immune to its devastating touch. However, it turns out that half of those errors came during a single month.
After playing a clean April, things took a downward slide during the month of May. On May 13, Rodgers committed his first error of the season when he booted a groundball from Bobby Witt Jr. of the Kansas City Royals. The play ended up extending the inning and allowing two unearned runs to score in the inning. The play must have rattled something because just four days later, Rodgers would commit two errors in a game on May 17 against the San Francisco Giants. Both errors that day resulted in runs being scored, and again four days later, he would make another error. He made one final error on May 29, giving him a total of five for the month, but things got better after that.
After making errors in back-to-back games to start June, Rodgers didn’t make another error until July 25 and has just two errors in August. In total, his errors are evenly split between fielding and throwing errors. Sure it’s a lot, but if you isolate the month of May as an exception and not the standard, Rodgers has been a fantastic defender all around, and more advanced metrics help support his case.
Advanced defensive metrics play a critical role in deciding Gold Glove awards. Numerous stats contribute to pinpointing what makes a premier defender. A deeper look shows that Rodgers is one of the best second-basemen this season.
Entering Saturday’s game, Rodgers was second in the NL in innings played at second base (953 1⁄3). He also leads the NL in putouts (187), assists (332), and double plays (82). So he is fielding the position fairly consistent and reliably, but it’s how he plays it that is getting intriguing. Entering Sunday, Rodgers leads all second basemen with 14 defensive runs saved and has an ultimate zone rating of 4.7 which is still the best in the NL. His range ranks second among qualified defenders at second (1.0) and his Def according to FanGraphs is 2.7 which is still among the top five in the NL.
We have been able to see the factors of those advanced stats manifested in spectacular plays that Rodgers has been making all season as he continues to learn the position at the big league level, plays like the one below.
It may seem strange to talk about a defensive award for a team that has struggled defensively throughout the 2022 season, but as I looked through the stats concerning Rodgers’ play on the season, it appears to me that he is worthy of the award. His competition around the league may look more desirable, such as Jake Cronenworth who may be better in some aspects and a little cleaner than Rodgers. 2021’s winner Tommy Edman may have an outside chance despite splitting time between shortstop and second base this season but has been absolutely phenomenal at second base despite playing half the innings of Rodgers and Cronenworth.
When all is said and done after the season, it doesn’t seem out of the question that Brendan Rodgers is worthy of consideration for a Gold Glove award and if he doesn’t win it this year, signs are indicating he isn’t too far off from pulling it off.
★ ★ ★
Antonio Senzatela’s ACL injury is bad stroke of luck for a team that already struggles with its pitching depth. So, heading into the offseason, the Rockies will have to address many holes and assess what needs to be done in order to make an effort to compete in 2023. Top level prospects aren’t quick ready for the big leagues, so trades and free agent signings may have to come to fruition in order to have a contingency for Senzatela’s rehab and return to the mound next season. It’s just another piece in the puzzle the team will need to figure out.
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On The Farm
In his first rehab start with the Isotopes, Chad Kuhl turned in a solid outing. Kuhl tossed five scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out six. He did struggle with command a little bit, issuing four free passes, but it was a positive sign as he looks to return to the Rockies rotation soon. Alan Trejo had a big night at the plate, tallying four hits and driving in five runs thanks to a pair of home runs, including a grand slam in the eighth inning.
A pair of three-run innings was all the Yard Goats needed to come out on top of a game where offense had a real challenge to get things going. Hartford scored three runs in second and sixth innings of the game, thank mainly to a three-run homer by Daniel Montano in the second and Tyler Hill’s two RBI in the sixth. Will Ethridge tossed four scoreless innings in his second Double-A start, allowing just two hits and issuing a pair of walks. Tony Locey gave up two runs in two innings, while Stephen Jones gave up two runs in the ninth innings. Austin Kitchen also threw two perfect innings in his relief outing.
Case Williams suffered his first loss in Spokane after giving up five runs on seven hits, but did manage to strike out eight in six innings of work. Despite out hitting Tri-City 13-9, Spokane struggled to make a dent when it had the opportunity. Five Spokane players have two-hit nights, including Hunter Goodman who launched his seventh home run with the Indians. By all accounts with the team comparisons on the night, Spokane should have won it, but Tri-City made the hits count when they needed them too to take home the win.
McCade Brown delivered a quality start, allowing three runs over six innings and wracking up six punch outs, as the Fresno offense soundly defeated the Rawhide pitching staff. Through the first four innings of the game, Fresno was held to just one run and trailed by one run heading into the fifth. The Grizzlies would then take the lead with two added runs, before exploding for five runs in the sixth. Two more runs in the seventh was backed up by solid relief pitching to secure the win. AJ Lewis led the offensive charge with a grand slam in the sixth for his third home run of the year, as he drove in four runs on the night. Juan Brito and Cuba Bess also had two-hit nights, with all but one Fresno starter registering a hit.
★ ★ ★
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