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Evaluating the Marlins' Gold Glove candidates

The Miami Marlins have three Gold Glove finalists for the National League side. Let's evaluate the club's three candidates and take a look at their chances at the award.

Stephen Dunn

Earlier today, we found out three of the Miami Marlins' finest defenders on the roster have been named as Gold Glove finalists by the people at Rawlings. The Fish have three finalists in left fielder Christian Yelich, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Miami has not won a Gold Glove since 2012 when Mark Buehrle took yet another crown, but before that a Marlins position player had not won the award since 2005, when Luis Castillo and Mike Lowell both took home hardware. This year, the Fish have at least a good chance to get one award home.

The Gold Glove award is now determined by a two-part system. Seventy-five percent of the voting is done by managers in the way it has always been determined, but since 2012, the award has also been determined by a sabermetric component akin to the Fielding Bible awards. How well do the Marlins fare in these aspects? Let's take a look at the three candidates and their competitors.

Left Field
Player, 2014 Innings UZR DRS FRAA Reputation
Christian Yelich 1182 +13 +14 -3 Above average
Starling Marte 943 2/3 +2 +8 -8 Excellent
Justin Upton 1319 2/3 -1 +3 -1 Above average

All three outfielders have a decent reputation defensively, but Marte's tops the group as an athletic, hyped outfielder with flashy skills. Essentially, Marte is what Upton was once, before the league got to know him better. Yelich appears misplaced among these guys, especially since he has a clear and evident lacking tool in his arm. But Yelich's numbers were the best among the three this year, and there is not a clear cut winner at the position. None of these players have won an award before, so incumbency will not factor in. Upton is the most well-known player, but he does not have a stellar overall reputation around the league, defensive or otherwise.

Chances are the award will go to one of the two newer players. With reputation taking a stronger position than the fielding metrics right now, I would put Marte as the likely winner, but Yelich taking the award would be no surprise. This represents Miami's best chance at the title.

Expected chance: 40 percent

Right Field
Player, 2014 Innings UZR DRS FRAA Reputation
Giancarlo Stanton 1262 1/3 +2 +8 +11 Average
Jason Heyward 1317 +24 +30 +26 Excellent
Gerardo Parra 921 +1 +3 +1 Excellent

Stanton has had a fantastic 2014 season, and part of the reason for that was a return to his strong defensive play from a few years back. A year away from leg injuries seems to have helped in that regard. But Stanton stands almost no chance to win this award. His reputation around the league is probably closer to average than Gold Glove, and the two other competitors are boasting stellar reputations in comparison. Furthermore, one of those players, Jason Heyward, is putting up a defensive run for the ages in right field according to the metrics. Beyond that, Heyward has won a Gold Glove before, back in 2012, which gives him the incumbency advantage.

Stanton's odds of winning this one are very slim at this point. He will likely finish a distant second or third, with Parra getting similar recognition.

Expected chance: 2.5 percent

Player, 2014 Innings UZR DRS FRAA Reputation
Adeiny Hechavarria 1294 2/3 -9 -3 +8 Excellent
Andrelton Simmons 1277 +15 +24 +10 Excellent
Zack Cozart 1274 1/3 +12 +19 +7 Excellent

Flash owns the shortstop position, and all three players listed here have excellent reputations in the defensive department because they make flashy, seemingly impossible plays. The difference is that two of them appear to make easy plays as often as they should as well, while that may be Hechavarria's problem. According to Inside Edge Scouting, Hech converted 97.3 percent of play expected to be made 90 to 100 percent of the time. This was below the National League average and ahead of only three other shortstops (Brandon Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, and Starlin Castro). Cozart and Simmons were second and third on the list.

Simmons won last year's award in a seeming landslide, and there is no reason to suspect he would not do the same this year. Cozart has an equally poor chance of winning the award despite potentially being the right candidate, but incumbency is a strong tool, and Simmons is just a delight to watch. As for Hechavarria's year, but being considered for the Gold Glove is a step in the right direction and another sign of potentially being a truly above average shortstop. Just wish Jhonny Peralta got some love for the award as well.

Expected chance: 2.5 percent