For those of you who watched the LA Angels this season you know that you were watching true wizardry every time Andrelton Simmons took the field for the Halos at shortstop. What may have been missed was the outstanding play of newcomer, catcher Martin Maldonado.
When the LA Angels traded young catcher Jett Bandy to the Milwaukee Brewers for catcher Martjn Maldonado in the Winter of 2016 many Angel fans were wondering why. Bandy had come along nicely during the 2016 season showing some power and also was pretty solid defensively. However, within the first few weeks of Spring Training we saw that once again Angels General Manager Billy Eppler had a a method to his madness, just as he did the Winter before when he traded Angel top prospect Sean Newcomb to the Braves for Andrelton Simmons.
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Eppler believed for the Angels to be a better team that it started with defense which Simmons and Martin Maldonado provided this season. So it was no surprise that Simmons won his third Gold Glove Award, first time in the American League, and Maldonado took home his first Gold Glove at the catcher’s spot.
Not only did Maldonado and Simmons win the award, but the Angels had two more players right fielder Kole Calhoun and new left fielder Justin Upton who were both finalists for a Gold Glove Award at their respective positions. As good as center fielder and two-time MVP Mike Trout is defensively he has only been nominated once for the Gold Glove.
Now that the Angels have re-signed Upton, it is safe to say that the Angels have one of the best defensive outfields in the American League if not all of baseball. With Maldonado and Simmons taking home Gold Gloves the infield doesn’t look too shabby either.
Simmons led the majors with 32 defensive runs saved and is one of only three shortstop to win a Gold Glove in both leagues along with Omar Vizquel and Orlando Cabrera. With the two Angels winning a Gold Glove in the same season it marks the first time this has happened for the Angels since 2002 when Darin Erstad and Bengie Molina both took home the award in the Angels World Championship Season.
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While Simmons was a known commodity for the Angels defensively, Maldonado wasn’t. He caught an American League-high 137 games this season. He threw out 38.7 percent of would-be-base stealers which was tops in the AL for catcher who played at least 100 games. He was also known for being a great game manager by Angel pitchers. Maldonado won the job during Spring Training beating out incumbent Carlos Perez who was a Gold Glove finalist in 2016 . He is only the third Angel catcher to win a Gold Glove, the others being Molina, and Bob Boone.
Not only did Maldonado field his position well he also hit .221 with 14 homers and 38 RBI’s . He came through with many clutch hits.
Simmons had an outstanding all-around year for the Angels as he hit .278 with 14 homers, 689 runs batted in and he also stole 19 bases.
So congratulations to Andrelton Simmons and Martin Maldonado.