Mariners’ Ty France Should Win the AL Gold Glove at First Base

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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 09: Ty France #23 of the Seattle Mariners lines up for play during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at T-Mobile Park on July 09, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 09: Ty France #23 of the Seattle Mariners lines up for play during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at T-Mobile Park on July 09, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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When Evan White (last year’s American League Gold Glove winner at first base) went down with a season-ending hip injury in mid-May, the Seattle Mariners were forced to find a serviceable replacement at the one-bag to fill in for the rest of the season. To the surprise of many, infielder Ty France blew away expectations when he was given the reins at first base, and ended the year as a bona fide Gold Glove candidate.

France, primarily a third baseman, second baseman, and DH, took over the full-time first base job on May 24th, then never surrendered it. Over the course of the season, France led all Gold Glove-eligible AL first basemen with a .999 fielding percentage; errors aren’t common at first base, but for a player who logged 915 innings at the position, only one error is certainly impressive.

France’s advanced fielding metrics at first base this season were also outstanding: France led all AL first basemen with an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of 3.0, and was second in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with 5.

The primary competitors in the AL Gold Glove race at first base are Ty France, Matt Olson, and Nathaniel Lowe, but France should have the edge due to both standard and advanced statistics.

Olson, of the Oakland Athletics, holds the AL lead among first basemen with 6 DRS, but is well behind France with a UZR of just 1.4. Lowe, of the Texas Rangers, led AL first basemen with 14 double plays started, but his DRS and UZR are both in negative territory.

Due to Lowe’s below-average advanced metrics, it’s likely the race will come down to France and Olson – and it’s a close one. The two share the second spot among AL first baseman in double plays started (with 13), and Olson holds the DRS lead by one over France, but Olson’s six errors (granted, in ~400 more innings) and UZR comparison of 1.4 to France’s 3.0, should give France the advantage.

Not ONCE in MLB history has the same team had a different player win the Gold Glove at first base in consecutive years. If France takes home the Gold Glove on November 2nd to follow Evan White’s victory a year before, we’ll be witnessing an unprecedented moment.

Next. FA Targets: Eduardo Rodriguez. dark

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