As expected, Cody Bellinger won a 2019 Gold Glove Award for his stellar defensive play in right field. He’s the first Los Angeles Dodgers player to earn the award since Zack Greinke completed a two-year stretch in 2015; he and Adrian Gonzalez both won in 2014.
Bellinger was previously the Dodgers’ first finalist since Yasiel Puig in 2017. He was pitted against Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs’ Jason Heyward.
Bellinger led all qualified National League right fielders this season with a 4.8 Defensive Rating and 19 Defensive Runs Saved. Next on the list was Harper with a 3.2 Def. and 9 DRS.
Bellinger additionally held the advantage in UZR/150 at 15.3 compared to 11, though Harper edged Bellinger in UZR (11 to 10.5).
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has long considered Bellinger a Gold-Glove caliber defender, as back in Spring Training he forecasted it was a possibility at either first base or in the outfield.
Bellinger began the 2019 year by primarily playing right field, but a shoulder injury led to spending more time at first base. He finished the season — including the playoffs — as the Dodgers’ everyday center fielder.
To qualify for consideration for a particular position, an infielder and outfielder must have played in the field for at least 713 total innings through his team’s 142nd game. That amounts to playing in the field for approximately 7.5 innings per game in approximately 67% of his team’s games by that point.
All infielders and outfielders with at least 713 total innings played qualify at the specific position where he played the most innings.
Bellinger logged 911.1 innings in right field, 230 at first base, and 170.2 in center field. Prior to being named a Gold Glove winner, he earned a pair of Fielding Bible Awards; one was in right field and the other recognized Bellinger’s “multi-positional excellence.”
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award originated in 1957, but it wasn’t until 2011 that three players were named finalists at each position. A Gold Glove Award represents overall fielding excellence, and it is not an award based solely on fielding metrics and statistics, nor does it factor offensive production.
Every MLB manager and up to six members of his coaching staff are permitted to vote, though they are not allowed to do so for their own players. The coach/manager votes account for 75% of the formula, and the SABR Defensive Index make up the remaining 25%.