The LA Angels had three official Gold Glove Award finalists, and Sunday night the winners were announced.
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Ever since the LA Angels brought in Billy Eppler to be their general manager, defensive abilities have been a point of emphasis for Halo players. That has shown, as the Angels have consistency ranked as one of the best defensive teams in baseball. Sunday night, that effort was recognized for a handful of 2018 Angels.
Kole Calhoun was nominated for his second Gold Glove, with his first coming in 2015. HIs glove has always been the highlight of Calhoun’s game, but it was never more important than in 2018. When his offensive game was amongst the worst of all-time, his defensive prowess kept him in the everyday lineup. Calhoun ultimately lost to likely-AL MVP Mookie Betts.
Andrelton Simmons won his fourth overall Gold Glove as well, his second since bringing his talents to Anaheim. He has long been considered the best individual defensive player in baseball, and 2018 was just another year that he boggled viewers’ minds with his unexplainable range, powerful arm strength, and lightning-quick reflexes. He will be a candidate for Rawlings Platinum Award as well, given to the best overall defensive player in baseball.
Mike Trout was the biggest name for the Angels in contention, but ultimately lost to Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who was ahead of Trout is a handful of defensive metrics last season. It was well-documented how much effort he put into improving his once-elite defense, which had fallen off in recent years. He was among the best in center field this year, as he played 125 games in center field this year without an error. His range was back to the elite level he displayed earlier in his career.
Ian Kinsler and Martin Maldonado, both traded to contenders at the deadline, also were nominated for their second Gold Gloves. Kinsler won the American League award, while Maldonado lost to Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who had won four straight before Maldonado won in 2017.
If you ask their respective teams, neither deserved being nominated as Kinsler cost the Red Sox with his defense in the playoffs and Martin Maldonado had a rough series behind the plate in the ALCS. However, Angels fans saw just how great both can be when they have their gloves on.
Defense has always been a key part of Billy Eppler’s philosophy, and the LA Angels recognition Sunday night was a reminder that he is on his way to making the Angels a contender.