Not to the surprise of White Sox fans everywhere, Adam Engel has been named a Gold Glove American League finalist at center field.
White Sox fans have known of Engel’s speed, range, and good hands in center field, but now he has the chance to be recognized nationally.
There’s little doubt that his fancy web gems and robbing of three home runs in one week played a role in his nomination.
He shares this distinction with Mike Trout and Jackie Bradley Jr. He is the ChiSox only finalist named this year, which makes sense given how much the team struggled defensively. Our own Kristen Bentley made a strong case for Engel winning this award earlier this month.
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As far as the award goes, Engel may not win it over the more famous Mike Trout and Jackie Bradley Jr., but he has a chance. Engel led American League center fielders in putouts in 2018 – no small accomplishment. He finished below Bradley and Trout in outfield assists due to his arm strength.
Fortunately, arm strength isn’t as important for a center fielder as getting to the ball is and Engel is very adept that. He also has a knack for making flashy plays – including the several robbed home runs.
Now it’s fairly possible Trout may be given an advantage due to his obviously superior offensive skills – and the fact that MLB writers might want to add a Gold Glove to the list of accomplishments to the super-superstar player. (Believe it or not, Trout actually has not won a Gold Glove – yet).
However, Engel is the better defender. Unfortunately for ChiSox fans, Bradley may be the favorite to win the award given that he led all AL centerfielders in total zone runs. But Engel finished ahead of him in range-factor-per-nine-innings, putting Engel ahead of everyone except Delino Deshields. It is unclear of this moment who exactly will win the award, but Engel is certainly worthy of the consideration.
Engel’s superior defensive play, but poor offensive production pulls into question his future as a White Sox starting player. But winning a Gold Glove would boost his recognition as a great outfielder and solidify the fact that he deserves a spot on a major league roster, regardless of what specific role he is in.