Cleveland’s reputation for strong defensive baseball continues as two Guardians have been awarded American League Gold Gloves in 2023. Second baseman Andres Gimenez and left-fielder Steven Kwan were announced as award winners on Sunday evening. Both Guardians players are receiving this distinction for the second year in a row.

The accolades contribute to a recent tradition of Guardians ballplayers being recognized for their strong glove-work. Kwan and Gimenez were accompanied by both center-fielder Myles Straw and starting pitcher Shane Bieber last year, as Cleveland won a league leading 4 Gold Gloves last season. This year, Cleveland was one of four teams to have two Gold Glove winners, while the Chicago Cubs and World Series-winning Texas Rangers each had three Gold Glove recipients.

Gimenez beat out the Rangers’ Marcus Semien and Houston Astro Mauricio Dubon to take home the trophy at second base. He led all American League second basemen with 18 Outs Above Average and flashed the strongest arm in the league at the position as well. Gimenez showed soft hands and strong range throughout the season, especially in the second half of the year where he put his highlight reel potential on display as well. He could be a potential candidate for the Platinum Glove, given to the best individual fielder in the entire league.

Kwan surpassed the Blue Jays’ Daulton Varsho and Baltimore Oriole Austin Hays in order to take home a second consecutive Gold Glove for left field. Kwan was far and away the best left-fielder in baseball based on Statcast Outs Above Average, scoring 9 OAA while the next best left-fielder recorded a mere four (Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich). Kwan also displayed great range, as shown by him being 2nd in Fangraphs’ Range Runs among left-fielders. Additionally, he has become an expert at playing the 19-foot-tall left-field wall at Progressive Field, using angles and a quick release to make life hard for batters trying to turn wall balls into potential doubles.

Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez had also been one of the three nominees to bring home a Gold Glove at his position but was unfortunately beaten out by Toronto’s Matt Chapman. The nomination was Ramirez’s fifth, but he has yet to win the award. This will be Chapman’s fourth time winning and third time winning when Ramirez was also nominated.

Rawlings Gold Gloves are awarded by a combination of manager/coaches voting and an analytical statistic called Defensive Index that was put together by SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research). Managers and coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players, so Gimenez and Kwan received their honors based on a combination of numerical analysis and admiration from staff around the game.

The Gold Glove announcements on Sunday evening open up award season for Major League Baseball. Next up, the Baseball Writers Association of America will name their nominees for Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, the Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player on Monday. The Guardians could very well have starting pitcher Tanner Bibee nominated for Rookie of the Year in the American League. Ramirez may also see down-ballot votes for MVP and is a worthy candidate for the AL Silver Slugger Award for third base that will be handed out later this month.

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