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Check out the other 2022 Gallardo Award awards here.
The M-SABR Gallardo Awards, originally conceived by alumni Cam Cain and Sahil Shah, are given to the worst players in baseball. The previous editions in 2018 (AL/NL) and 2019 didn’t mimic every MLB award. This changes in 2022.
This is the first article in the series, honoring the worst defenders in the American League. The Iron Pyrite Glove Award is made of fool’s gold, and mirrors MLB’s Gold Glove Award. The Tin Glove Award is given to the worst defender overall. It’s our Platinum Glove Award.
P – Noah Syndergaard, LAA/PHI
Despite only throwing 134.2 innings this season, pitcher Noah Syndergaard’s glove was made of fool’s gold this season. His Statcast Outs Above Average was terrible at negative three. He had a DRS of negative two, accumulated two errors, and had a .900 fielding percentage. It’s surprising that Syndergaard, who didn’t get a full starting workload, ended up being the worst defensive pitcher in baseball, but it does continue a trend of poor fielding across his career.
C – MJ Melendez, KCR
Melendez started behind the plate for 65 games, and throughout this 2022 season he showed mediocre and poor performance defensively. MJ had 49 passed balls. 29 bases were stolen on him, while he only threw out 11. This meant that MJ only threw 27.5% of runners out. He additionally had five errors. Melendez’s framing is also horrific, as Baseball Savant records how he had a strike rate of only 41.7% and -12 catcher framing runs. One has to wonder how many wins KC shaved off their win total by playing Melendez for more than a third of the year.
1B – Nate Lowe, TEX
Tin Glove Award Winner
The AL Tin Glove Award goes to none other than Nathaniel Lowe of the Texas Rangers. At the end of the 2021 season, Lowe promised Ranger fans and his teammates that his defense would be a lot better for the 2022 season, but this year, he was clearly the worst fielder in the American League, if not all of MLB.
At first glance, one could look at league leaders in fielding and see that Lowe led the MLB with 1,252 putouts, and led all first basemen with 125 double plays turned. It seems like Lowe got the Rangers tons of outs. But when taking a deeper dive, his Outs Above Average is the worst among all first basemen at -11. NEGATIVE ELEVEN OUTS! Lowe also had negative eight DRS, and had nine errors (tied for fourth among other 1B in MLB). A purely abysmal performance.
Maybe the Texas Rangers would have had a better season without even playing a first baseman on the field. Nate Lowe is a great hitter, as he was a Silver Slugger this 2022 season, but sometimes it seems like he forgets how to play baseball when he’s out there on defense, as he made a significantly negative impact on the Rangers defense this year.
2B – Jorge Polanco, MIN
Among all second basemen in the MLB, Jorge Polanco was the 3rd worst in runs saved (-7) and the third worst in OAA (-9). He additionally had eight errors in the field. On behalf of M-SABR, I am glad to present Jorge with an AL Iron Pyrite Glove Award for his horrific year in the field.
SS – Bobby Witt Jr., KCR
As the number two overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Witt Jr. was one of the most hyped prospects in baseball, and now he is finally showing out. On offense that is. Witt Jr. is phenomenal at the plate and when running the bases, but once he slips that glove on, he becomes a different player. His fielding throughout the 2022 season was just atrocious, and he is very deserving of this AL Iron Pyrite glove. Witt Jr. had negative seven runs prevented, negative nine OAA, and 16 errors at shortstop (19 including all positions). For a team that once took pride in rolling out great defensive lineups, KC is really taking a hit at two of the most important positions on the spectrum.
3B – Yandy Díaz, TBR
Up next, we have a dreadful fielding season from the Rays’ Yandy Díaz. Yandy was one of the best hitters in baseball this year, but he shouldn’t be playing third. Out of every single qualified third baseman in the American League, Yandy has the worst number of runs prevented (-6) and OAA (-8). He additionally had five errors in the field. Yandy is clearly a liability out there, and the Rays should really look to move him to first base or designated hitter.
RF – Teoscar Hernandez, TOR
In the 2022 season, Teoscar Hernandez had four errors in right field, his OAA was negative five, and he had a negative four DRS. Hernandez is an obvious pick for the AL Iron Pyrite Glove with his poor performance this year, as he fits the standard of having errors in the field, a negative OAA, and negative runs prevented. Interestingly enough, the Seattle Mariners have traded for Teoscar, seemingly to replace the production of the recently traded away Jesse Winker. Winker was the worst defense in left field this season. We’ll get to him in a moment.
CF – Jarren Duran, BOS
In the 2022 season, Duran started 48 games in center for the Boston Red Sox. He had a negative two OAA combined with a negative two DRS, which is the worst out of any American League center fielder. There weren’t many bad center fielders in MLB this season, which is why it’s puzzling that Boston kept trotting Duran out there. At least they didn’t give him the whole season to muck it up.
LF – Jesse Winker, SEA
Jesse Winker had one of the more horrific seasons in the outfield. After spending the season in left field, Winker finished with an OAA of -11 and with -10 runs prevented, which is the worst of all AL left fielders. This is just unacceptable, and this is a huge problem in the Mariners outfield.
With Winker not producing like he did in Cincinnati on the offensive side, it’s no surprise that the M’s shipped him out to Milwaukee. However, as stated previously, it looks like they don’t really care what kind of defense their outfield plays. Teoscar Hernandez will be the vet replacing Mitch Haniger in right. We’ll see what defective defender Seattle chooses to play in left.
What all these ball players have in common is a negative OAA and a negative number of runs prevented, and to add the cherry on top… multiple errors. These guys are the exact opposite of what you want to send out to the field to win you games.
This list consists of many great hitters, but great defense wins championships, and these guys have little to no defensive skills. Every single one of these guys produced a negative outcome for their team, and to put all of them on the same field at once would be absolutely mind-boggling.
Stick all nine of these horrific American League fielders on the field at the same time, many records could be broken. They could finish with the most errors in MLB history or even the most runs allowed (if given an average pitching staff) in history. That is what makes these nine so special. Without a doubt, these are the worst nine fielders in the AL. We wish these guys good luck next year, and hopefully we won’t see their names on this list in the future!