With so many talented shortstops, it would have been mildly surprising to see Kyle Farmer's name in the discussion for a Rawling's Gold Glove Award. But a deeper dive into the stats suggests that perhaps the Cincinnati Reds shortstop was snubbed.
Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants, Francisco Lindor of the New York Mets, and Kevin Newman of the Pittsburgh Pirates were named finalist among the NL shortstops for the award earlier today.
Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer should have been a Gold Glove finalist.
Make no mistake, all three players are deserving of the honor, but Kyle Farmer is right in that mix as well. Depending on what metric you prefer, Farmer could have easily been among the three finalist.
Let's go with everyone's favorite metric courtesy of Baseball Savant - Outs Above Average (OAA). Farmer accounted for 5 OAA while fielding his position in 2021.
The 5 OAA was good enough for fifth in the National League behind Lindor (20 OAA), Nick Ahmed (19 OAA), Crawford (15 OAA), and Sergio Alcántara (6 OAA).
Another popular advanced metric, courtesy of FanGraphs, is Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). Farmer's 1 DRS is good enough for seventh in the National League behind Newman and Trevor Story (9 DRS), Crawford (6 DRS), and Lindor, Ahmed, and Miguel Rojas (4 DRS).
Okay, so the advanced metrics, which everyone seems to love nowadays, don't tip the scales in Kyle Farmer's direction. However, some of the standard statistics reveal that Farmer more than held his own against the best in the league.
Farmer had one fielding error on the season. One in 121 games at the most difficult defensive position this side of catcher. Miguel Rojas, who was responsible for 4 defensive runs saved, led the league with 8 fielding errors.
Farmer's 5 total errors were the second fewest in the NL behind only Newman who had only 3. When it comes to throwing errors, Farmer was responsible for 4 errant tosses.
Trevor Story, who led the league with 9 DRS, committed 11 throwing errors and 14 errors total. Francisco Lindor committed 10 errors on the season.
While many consider this stat outdated, when it comes to fielding percentage, only Kevin Newman's .993 was better than Kyle Farmer's .988.
Davey Concepcion's best season was in 1977 when he won a Gold Glove with a .986 fielding percentage. Barry Larkin's best defensive season saw him post a .988 fielding percentage in 2004.
I'm not going to beat up on the honorees too much. As we've seen, Brandon Crawford, Francisco Lindor, and Adam Frazier are all deserving of being named a finalist for the Rawling's Gold Glove.
I'd suggest, however, that Kyle Farmer is just as deserving. While I don't think Farmer did enough to actually win the award, he certainly did enough to be mentioned among the elite defenders at the position.