Rawlings released its 2023 Gold Glove finalists on Wednesday and, to no one’s surprise, Pittsburgh Pirates’ third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes was among the three hot corner nominees for the National League.
Building off a strong 2022 season, Hayes continued to dominate at third base.
In 1,037 innings, he tallied 21 defensive runs saved (DRS), which led NL third basemen and was fourth among all MLB players, and 17 outs above average (OAA).
Meanwhile, last year’s winner Nolan Arenado finished with a mere one defensive run saved.
That’s not the only impressive thing about Hayes’ season. He improved his fielding percentage — .972 to .984 — and sliced his error count in half from 12 to six. He also ranks in the 97th percentile in fielding run value and 99th in range, according to Baseball Savant.
But Pirates fans already knew about his next-level range and defensive value after he pulled off a video game-like double play in April.
Talk among fans speculates that the reason Hayes has yet to win a Gold Glove Award is due to mediocre offensive numbers, especially in 2022, with some even citing Arenado last year. This year, however, things were different.
With the exception of a .309 on-base percentage which is slightly lower than last season, Hayes improved just about every offensive stat he could. The biggest difference was his improvement in OPS, which soared from .659 to .762 this year.
That, of course, was aided by a career-high 15 home runs and 61 RBI.
If true that offensive numbers factor into Gold Glove voting (which it shouldn’t for obvious reasons), Hayes has a strong chance at bringing home the hardware this offseason. But he’s got some strong competition in Atlanta’s Austin Riley and Colorado’s Ryan McMahon.
Gold Glove winners will be announced Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m.