The Gold Glove finalists were announced on Thursday, with Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier as a notable omission.
Award season began on Thursday. The finalists for the Gold Glove award were announced, with three players at each position per league, with the exception of second base in the AL, which had four candidates. The hope was that Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier would be able to defend his title, having taken home the Gold Glove in 2019.
Instead, he was left off the list of finalists. One of the trio of Luis Robert, Ramon Laureano, and Byron Buxton will take the award home, with Buxton the only former winner of that list.
One can almost understand why Kiermaier did not make the finals. He appeared in just 49 games, 46 of which were in center. His occasional injuries, and missed time, tend to make him overlooked throughout the game.
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But there is no disputing his excellence in the outfield when he was able to play. Kiermaier saved four runs in center, showing off his usual impressive range and failing to make an error all year. His six assists from center led all American League center fielders despite his playing just 46 games in the field.
In fairness, Kiermaier was not the only notable defensive stalwart to be left off this list. Andrelton Simmons and Matt Chapman were both unable to crack the list of finalists at their positions either. Of course, both players also dealt with injuries throughout the abbreviated season, diminishing their ability to make an impact.
In the end, Kiermaier has more important hardware to focus on. The Rays are set to continue their quest for their first title on Friday night, with Kiermaier providing his stellar defense in center. Even if he does not have a chance to defend his Gold Glove, he can get something even more important.
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was a notable snub when the 2020 Gold Glove finalists were announced. But he has something more important to play for currently.