On November 3, Gold Glove Awards were given out to those who showed excellence defensively this season. Dodgers’ MVP candidate Cody Bellinger took home the gold glove award for right field in the National League.
This raised the question of which Dodgers can potentially win the award in the future. The Dodgers are known to have an incredible farm system that consistently produces top performers, such as Cody Bellinger.
With so many rookies having displayed their best stuff this 2019 season, there are several contenders that could eventually take home the honors, with the most likely being Alex Verdugo and Will Smith.
Although Verdugo made his debut in 2017, this past year was the most significant year that allowed him the most playing time he has ever seen. He played in 106 games and was able to stand out as a crowd favorite for his efforts with the bat and in the outfield.
Verdugo played all three positions in the outfield, spending most of his time in center field. Although his season was cut short due to injury and was unable to redeem himself in the postseason, his rookie year was a breakout one.
As his career progresses, Verdugo is likely to be a contender for the Gold Glove. His time in the outfield proved he has the agility and patience to make great calls, which will only benefit him the team in the future.
Alex Verdugo’s best position was left field where he had a DRS of 6 and a UZR/150 rating of 37.5 in 128 plus innings. In center, Dugie had a DRS of 3 with a UZR/150 rating of 3.6. In 2020, Pollock will likely man left field leaving center or right field to Verdugo. Depending on where the Dodgers want to play Bellinger.
To no surprise, Will Smith was one of the most memorable parts of this 2019 season with the Dodgers. He was able to come up from OKC and prove he was ready for his time in the big leagues. Smith played in 54 games this season, catching greats like Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
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There is no doubt that he was a natural behind the plate, he was able to pickoff runners and catch those trying to steal. Overall, he was able to have the patience required behind the plate, as he learned from fellow catchers Austin Barnes and Russell Martin.
During spring training last season, he received high-praise from Andrew Friedman. When asked about Smith, Friedman said he could see him winning multiple Gold Gloves in his career. Not bad considering he had yet to play a professional baseball game.
As rumors begin to circle this off-season, there is potential for Justin Turner to leave his home at third base and be moved to first base. If the Dodgers were to go that route and acquire a star hitter, Turner would most likely be moved to first base. If this were to happen, there is no doubt that he will become an excellent defender at first base.
Over the years, Turner has been one of the better defensive third basemen in the National League. He’s probably been robbed of a few thanks to Nolan Arenado. In recent seasons, however, his defense has begun to slip. In 2019, he posted his worst defensive season as a Dodger with a UZR/150 rating of -12.9 at third base. Maybe a switch to first base will give him a better shot.
The Dodgers have been able to produce outstanding players, both defensively and offensively. With the likes of rookies like Will Smith or Alex Verdugo and veterans like Justin Turner, both the team and fans are eager to see where their abilities take them and hopefully they wind up with a few more gold glove winners.