Andrelton Simmons, Jason Heyward chosen as 2014 Gold Glove winners


Any passionate fan of the Atlanta Braves likely already understands the defensive value of both Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward. Each player sits atop of their respective position with regard to defensive ability, with Simmons consistently providing “wow” plays and Heyward exhibiting day-by-day excellence in positioning and instincts. On Tuesday evening, the national perception of both players caught up to what the locals already knew, as both Simmons and Heyward were awarded with 2014 National League Gold Glove awards.

Last week, both players were the recipients of 2014 Fielding Bible awards for their excellent defensive performance, but it is nice to see the Gold Gloves follow suit, especially given their inconsistent (to be kind) track record of actually rewarding the best of the best. As usual, there were many places in the voting where I would have vehemently disagreed with the final result, but fortunately, Atlanta’s duo was immune from that freeze-out.

Simmons took a very mild “step back” in some of the leading defensive metrics this season, but in the same breath, he was easily the best shortstop in the National League, and really, in all of baseball. The acrobatic shortstop led MLB in defensive WAR, DRS (defensive runs saved) and UZR (ultimate zone rating), and Simmons continues to be the best defensive shortstop in recent memory.

In Heyward’s case, his contributions are often less visible to the casual fan, but the right-fielder actually led the Major Leagues in defensive runs saved with 32, out-performing Simmons and Mets outfielder Juan Lagares. The former Braves first-round pick also finished at the top of the list among right fielders in defensive WAR and UZR, and he was a slam dunk choice for his second Gold Glove award after a “snub” in 2013.

Congratulations to both Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward on this honor, and stay tuned to ATL All Day for the latest on the Atlanta Braves.