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Notebook: Mariners shut out in Gold Glove finalists for 2nd straight year

Despite high defensive rankings, Mariners catcher Mike Zunino isn't a Gold Glove finalist. (AP)

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalists were announced Thursday afternoon, and for the second straight year the Mariners were shut out. No Mariner has won a Gold Glove Award since 2014 when Kyle Seager took the American League honors at third base.

Watch: 2018 Mariners season in review with 710 ESPN Seattle’s insiders

There was some thought that catcher Mike Zunino could be a finalist for the defensive award, which is determined by voting by managers and coaches, accounting for 75 percent of the vote, and the SABR Defensive Index (SDI) rating, which represents the other 25 percent. While catcher defense is still wildly difficult to quantify, Zunino is regarded to be one of the better pitch-framers in the league.

Zunino was tied for second in baseball in defensive runs saved at catcher with 12, and he ranked second at catcher in the last SDI ratings to be made public, dating back to games played as of Aug. 19. Yan Gomes of the Indians, Martin Maldonado from the Astros and Royals catcher Salvador Perez are the American League finalists at the position.

The A’s will no doubt take home hardware when all is said done. They not only boast perhaps the best defensive player in the American League in third baseman Matt Chapman at third base, but Oakland had a finalist at every infield position.

Defense played a large yet unheralded role in what the A’s were able to do in the second half of the season. Rather than giving outs and runs away as they had in the recent past, they were saving them in 2018, leading the American League in DRS with 61. Second baseman Jed Lowrie, first baseman Matt Olson and shortstop Marcus Semien, who led the league in errors in 2015, join Chapman as finalists from Oakland.

Chapman was the leader among all players in last released SDI with a score of 19.5. Semien followed with a score of 11.6. Seager, the highest-ranked Mariners player, came in at No. 20 with a 5.1, while Zunino ranked 23rd with a 4.9.

The Gold Glove winners will be announced Nov. 4, and shortly after SABR will release its final ratings.

Notes

• Speaking of defense, Fangraphs has added a stat for team shift runs saved – meaning how many runs a team prevented by its use of defensive shifts – to their leaderboards. How did the Mariners fare by their metric, which they call rTS? Check it out for yourself.

• So Zunino is not a Gold Glove finalist. I would say this trumps any award.

Per longtime baseball reporter Jerry Crasnick, the Super Two cutoff this year has been set at two years, 134 days of Major League service time. If accurate, and coming from Crasnick there is no reason to believe it is not, Mariners closer Edwin Diaz will just miss the cutoff of being in the top 22 percent of players between two and three years service with 2 years 121 days of service. For more on what Super Two means, you can read the definition from MLB at this link.

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