Chicago White Sox: The 2021 Gold Glove finalist snubs

Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2021 Rawlings Gold Glove finalists were announced last week and the Chicago White Sox had only one name on the list. That distinction belongs to Dallas Keuchel who is vying for his fifth Gold Glove Award. Keuchel was certainly deserving of the nomination, his 12 defensive runs saved easily led all pitchers. However, some other members of the Chicago White Sox deserved consideration for the Award.

Jose Abreu

Jose Abreu was not known for his defense when he broke into the league in 2014. But he has quietly improved into one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball. Abreu has been working tirelessly on his defense and 2021 was a showcase of just how far he has come.

Abreu is a picking machine at first base. He has mastered the short hop and has shown the ability to dig errant throws out of the dirt. He has also become increasingly quick on his feet the ability to snag hard-hit balls in his general vicinity.

He was tied with Matt Olson for the best fielding percentage amongst first basemen in the American League, posting a .995 mark. Thanks to his strong arm, he ranked 16th in the MLB in double plays and also led all White Sox fielders with a 7.52 range factor.

Some of Abreu’s season highlights on defense include tracking down a pop fly on September 8th by sliding to complete a difficult over-the-shoulder catch. He also hustled and made a sliding effort to preserve Carlos Rodon’s no-hitter back in April. Abreu deserved to have his name in the Gold Glove conversation.

The Chicago White Sox had a few different players play well on the defensive side.

Andrew Vaugh

This one may be a stretch but Vaughn deserves credit for what he accomplished defensively this season. His job was tougher than any of the other three nominees. Andrew Vaugh was playing an entirely new position for most of the year, yet only made two errors! Despite never playing outfield in an organized baseball game before Opening Day, Vaughn still managed to rack up 132 putouts and three outfield assists.

What makes Vaugn’s performance in left field impressive is that he had virtually no experience in the outfield at Cal and had his Gold Glove security next door in centerfield taken away for most of the season. When Luis Robert got injured, Vaughn was asked to cover more ground and play at a higher level. He did both.

By July he had yet to make an error. In early July, he made two standout plays in one game against Detroit. First, he made a leaping catch against the wall that robbed Jonathan Schoop of a three-run homer. Then he made a diving catch to rob Cameron Diaz of extra bases. His efforts landed him at No 3 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays.

On August 5th, he made a superhero-like catch to rob Royal’s third baseman Edward Rivera of a base hit. These are just a few examples of Vaughn’s prowess in left field. Vaughn might not be a Gold Glove outfielder yet but he is well on his way to the White Sox choose to keep him there.

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