For three years Adeiny Hechavarria has been flashing the leather and raising eyebrows across the league. His athleticism and range is something to marvel at. However, for the last two years, Andrelton Simmons has been that bit better in the eyes of the Gold Glove selection committee.
The Marlins, unsurprisingly, are backing their man. Once again the Cuban has put up astounding numbers on defense, but, since he was placed on the DL on September second, Simmons has passed Hechavarria in two crucial sets of statistics. Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and innings played are integral factors in deciding who receives the award after the season comes to an end, and Simmons is leading the way.
This means that Hechavarria will more than likely play the role of bridesmaid for the third year running unless the committee feels that he has done enough over a shorter span to prove that he can play at or above Simmons' level. Even if he isn't handed the trophy later this year, 2015 has seen Hechavarria evolve into the more complete player the Marlins envisioned back in 2012.
With five home runs on the season, he has displayed more power and production to help balance a sometimes top-heavy Miami lineup. Although Hechavarria was batting over .300 for most of April and May, ending 2015 with a .281 average sets a career mark, and it is nothing to scoff at. All in all, the statistics he is producing are trending in the right direction, and he could be about to have himself a well-earned payday.
He has worked in unison with middle-infield and double-play partner Dee Gordon all season, and the duo may well be the best defensive pairing in all of baseball. Gordon has a very good shot at winning the Gold Glove at second base, as well as the batting, hits, and stolen base titles. Gordon and Hechavarria have defied expectations in their own ways and have provided a bright spot in a disappointing season for the Marlins.
In the past, the Marlins organization has tried to win with pitching and defense. With these two players up the middle of the diamond, the Fish are halfway there. This club has a chance to be competitive with very few changes this off-season to the starting lineup, and a lot of it has to do with Hechavarria and Gordon. Two Gold Glove caliber players with offensive upside have landed in Miami, and they could be here to stay if the Fish get their way.