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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Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves starter Max Fried won a Gold Glove in 2022. / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Who votes and how?

SABR provides a resource guide containing the latest statistical data and a list of qualified players for each team, along with seven ballots.

The manager of each team and up to six coaches may vote. They may only vote for players in their league but may not vote for players on their team.

It’s impossible to know how much voters rely on the data, but I suspect they study the numbers closely, particularly for players they haven’t seen often, and use it to validate what they saw when watching the player.

After filling out their ballot, voters must sign and return it to SABR. While the signature is required before the ballot is considered complete, how each voter marked their ballot remains confidential.
Now, back to how they selected Rosario as a finalist.

Narrowing the field

When the season ended,10 outfielders had at least 698 innings in left field. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was one of them, but after his team’s 138th game, he had only 620 innings and didn’t make the cut.

The nine remaining left fielders were: Brayan De La Cruz, David Peralta, Ian Happ, Jurickson Profar, Bryan Reynolds, Eddie Rosario, Kyle Schwarber, Juan Soto, and Christian Yelich.

The fog surrounding Rosario’s selection should be lifting for you by now.

  • Schwarber is a DH, and Soto should be a DH,
  • Profar is an infielder moved to the outfield and not an everyday player on a contending team.
  • De La Cruz doesn’t own a positive defensive metric, and
  • Yelich wasn’t a defensive wizard before back and shoulder injuries took him out of the running.

The last three standing became this year’s finalists.