Zach McKinstry did not have a good season offensively for the Detroit Tigers. Other than a hot six weeks from mid-April through the end of May, he really struggled. However, he played everywhere around the diamond, and played them all pretty well.
Now, he's being recognized for his efforts.
Yesterday, it was announced that McKinstry was being named a Gold Glove finalist in the American League as a utilityman. It's his first career Gold Glove nomination.
McKinstry is certainly deserving of the nomination. He had an outs above average (OAA) of 4 this season, which was in the 85th percentile according to Baseball Savant. He also showcased elite arm strength, ranking in the 96th percentile in that category.
He had 3 defensive runs saved (DRS) this season across several different positions. His worst position there was shortstop, where had a DRS of -3. His best was right field, where he had 2 DRS.
None of his stats are insane, but the fact the metrics are mostly good at all the positions he played this season is what gave him the nod. While his offensive game was subpar, he certainly made up for it with his defense.
This is the second straight year the Tigers have had a Gold Glove finalist. Jonathan Schoop was nominated at second base last year, but ultimately lost the award to Guardians' 2B Andres Gimenez, who is nominated once again this season.
McKinstry will be up against Mauricio Dubon of the Astros and Taylor Walls of the Rays. Dubon was worth 5 DRS and 3 OAA this season. He spent the majority of his time at second base. Walls was worth 10 DRS, but had an OAA of -6. He's the only finalist to not spend any time in the outfield this season.
If you combine all the metrics, it ends up being a pretty even race. McKinstry has just as good of a shot of winning the award as anybody on paper. However, there is one thing going against him, and that's the fact that the other two players were on playoff teams.
Historically, voters have taken team performance into heavy consideration for these awards. While the stats are close, McKinstry is at an instant disadvantage.
Still, we're rooting hard for him and obviously hopes we wins it. Even if he doesn't, it's cool to see him be nominated.