Fans usually associate the Chicago White Sox with things like Tim Anderson bat flipping;Eloy Jimenez waving to his mother after hitting a bomb; or Jose Abreu driving in runs while packing a fat lip. Defense is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the White Sox. However that could change. The Southsiders are well represented on this years list of Gold Glove nominees. On Thursday afternoon when Rawlings revealed the finalist on Twitter, five White Sox players found themselves up for an award.

Catcher

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The White Sox have a 66 percent chance to take home a Gold Glove award at the catcher position. That is because both Yasmani Grandal and James McCann were named finalist. This should come as no surprise as the White boasted the best catcher tandem in baseball. It will also let the McCann vs. Grandal debate rage on between Sox fans.

Yasmani Grandal has always been regarded as one of the best pitch framers in baseball. That is one of the reasons the White Sox signed him to the richest free agent deal in White Sox history. While many fans were disappointed by his offensive performance in 2020 he lived up to expectations with his work behind the plate. Grandal gunned down 46 percent of runners trying to steal on him. According to Fangraphs he was statistically the second best catcher in baseball. He also ranked top three in defensive runs saved this season.

James McCann received lots of credit for his work at the plate this season but he was just as effective behind it. Like Grandal, McCann also ranked in the top three for defensive runs saved. He also received praise for the work the way he handled the pitching staff. By mid September the staff ERA was just 2.66 when McCann was catching.

While being Lucas Giolito’s personal catcher helps improve that number he deserves an assist for being behind the plate during Lucas Giolito’s no-hitter. The battery of Giolito and McCann was in synch all night with Giolito only shaking McCann off once. James McCann has established himself as a fan favorite on the Southside. Unfortunately winning a Gold Glove will only increase his value on the open market and make it even harder for the White Sox to re-sign him.If either of them win it would be the first time a White Sox catcher has taken home the award since Sherm Lollar in 1959.

Second Base

Last season Yolmer Sanchez took home the hardware for best second baseman in the American League. This season the White Sox are looking to defend their title at second base but Sanchez will not be the one doing it. Surprisingly Danny Mendick joins Cesar Hernandez and Jonathan Schoop as a Gold Glove finalist at second base.

Danny Mendick got recognized for his defensive prowess despite not being named to the White Sox postseason roster. Mendick held down the fort at second base while the White Sox were presumably manipulating Nick Madrigal’s service time, then again when Madrigal went down with an injury. Mendick made the most of his time defensively. He started 28 of 60 regular season games for the White Sox and only committed one error.

His versatility as a defender made him valuable to the White Sox and allowed him to qualify for the award.

Danny Mendick just did enough to reach the inning minimum of 265 total defensive innings needed to be nominated. He qualified at second because that’s where they played the most innings. Mendick, registered just 226 innings at second, but with 27 innings at third and 15 at shortstop, he ended the year with 268 total defensive innings played.

Third Base

Yoan Moncada was also named a Gold Glove finalist for his work at the hot corner. He has continued to improve defensively each year. After the White Sox moved him from second base to third he has flourished with the glove. He ranked second in assist at third base in 2020 and first in double plays turned. Moncada also came in fifth among all third baseman in fielding percentage.

It was nice to see Moncada make an impact defensively after he struggled at the plate throughout the course of the 2020 season. What makes Moncada’s effort defensively even more impressive is that fact that he battled the after effects of his COVID-19 infection on a daily basis. He described the season as a daily battle to try and find the strength and energy to make it through the day. During Rick Hahn end of season press conference, he recalled a moment when Moncada could not catch his breath after running the bases in a game against Cleveland. If he takes hime the award he would become the first White Sox third baseman to win since Robin Ventura in 1998.

Luis Robert

It comes as no surprise that Luis Robert was nominated was nominated for his work in center field. Robert ranked first in putouts amount center fielders in the American League and second in range factor.

With the range he showcased throughout the season he could also be nominated in left field. He took it upon himself to lighten Eloy Jimenez workload on multiple occasions. Robert was also the culprit of robbing hits from multiple unsuspecting opponents while putting together an impressive highlight reel in the process.

The young phenom led all MLB center fielders in Outs Above Average at +7 and will be in the running for rookie of the year.

The winners will be selected using the SABR Defensive Index and announced on November 3rd.

 

Mitchell Kaminski
Mitchell studies sports communications at Bradley University and works for Braves Vision, an organization that works alongside ESPN broadcasting games and covering Bradley sports. Creator of Dorm Room Dispute podcast.