How Eddie Rosario became a Gold Glove finalist despite mediocre defense

Atlanta Braves fans were bemused and confused when Eddie Rosario was named a finalist for the 2023 Gold Glove for left field. Eddie was better than usual this year, and he’s miles better than the statue of Garrett Anderson that filled the role in 2009, but surely there were better choices.

Atlanta Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario is a Gold Glove finalist?
Atlanta Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario is a Gold Glove finalist? / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Chase discussed the Gold Glove candidates when the list was first released. Please understand that I like Eddie, but I’m pragmatic enough to understand that he’s not a .300 hitter or a .340 OBP guy, and his play in left field is often an adventure. Rosario has a one-in-three chance of winning because only a few players qualified for consideration.

How does a player qualify for a Gold Glove?

Information on qualification and voting comes from Gold Glove Selection Criteria and SABR.  

Unlike other awards, players must hit all these marks to qualify:

  • All pitchers must have 138 innings by his team’s 138th game,
  • Catchers must have played in at least 69 games,
  • Position players must have:
  • Played in the field for at least 698 total innings at a position after the team’s 138th game. This keeps DHs and part-time players off the list. The player’s position is where the manager penciled him in the most this season.

In 2023, the Atlanta Braves played game 138 on September 6. After that game, Travis d’Arnaud didn’t qualify because he had only 400 innings as a catcher on September 7, while Murphy qualified because 785 of his 830 innings came as a catcher.

This isn't President Reagan's SDI

In 2013, SABR formed a committee to create the SABR Defense Index (SDI). SDI is similar to WRC+ and OPS in the way that it reaches a final value. Here’s how SABR describes it.

"The SABR Defensive Index draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts, including data from MLBAM’s Statcast, Sports Info Solutions, and STATS Perform. "


SDI originally combined and weighted Total Zone (TZ), DRS, Runs Effectively Defended (RED), and UZR to create a value. I have a spreadsheet that includes the 2013 formulas, but I haven’t seen a publicly available update showing how SDI incorporates the latest Statcast metrics.