While baseball fans are focused on the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals right now, a momentary distraction has been provided by sporting goods company Rawlings as it released a list of three finalists at each position for the American League and National League Rawlings Gold Glove Awards on Friday.
The Gold Glove Award has been given to the best defensive players at their respective positions since 1957, and players take a great deal of pride in being recognized for their contributions in the field.
Here is a look at the AL candidates:
Mark Buehrle, Matt Wieters, Robinson Cano, Adrian Beltre, J.J. Hardy, Alex Gordon, Adam Jones and Josh Reddick are all vying for at least their second consecutive Gold Glove.
Buehrle won one last season in the NL while pitching for the Miami Marlins, but the Toronto Blue Jays southpaw has a long history of winning the award in the AL as he did it three times as a member of the Chicago White Sox.
Also, the Tampa Bay Rays accomplished an impressive feat as the entire infield of James Loney, Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria and Yunel Escobar are finalists to capture Gold Glove Awards.
Perhaps that shouldn't come as a big surprise, though, as the Rays committed just 59 errors during the regular season, which was second only to the Baltimore Orioles' league record of 54.
While the AL largely features the usual suspects, there is a bit more variation when it comes to the NL finalists:
There will be no NL repeat winner from 2012 at pitcher, first base, third base or shortstop, which makes for an interesting voting process.
Did Andrelton Simmons have the greatest defensive season in MLB history in 2013?
One thing that hasn't changed, though, is the dominance of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. The defensive wizard has won five consecutive Gold Gloves, and it is likely that he will add a sixth to his collection.
Also, an intriguing potential first-time winner to watch for is Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Back in August, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs.com suggested that Simmons may have been in the midst of the greatest defensive season in MLB history with 34 defensive runs saved at that point (he finished with a league-leading 41 runs saved).
That opinion is up for debate, but this could very well be the first of many Gold Gloves for Simmons.
The Glove Award winners will be announced on Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2, according to Rawlings.
There is certainly no shortage of deserving contenders to choose from.
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