Molina, Heyward named Gold Glove finalists

Molina, Heyward named Gold Glove finalists

ST. LOUIS -- Right fielder Jason Heyward and catcher Yadier Molina have been named finalists for a Rawlings Gold Glove Award at their respective positions.

Rawlings, which recognizes the best defender at each position in each league with its annual award, unveiled the list of finalists on Thursday. Three finalists were named at each position, with winners scheduled to be announced at 6 p.m. CT Nov. 10 on ESPN.

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Both Molina and Heyward are previous Gold Glove recipients. Molina has won the award each season since 2008, while Heyward is a two-time Gold Glove winner, receiving the honors in '12 and '14 with Atlanta.

The Giants' Buster Posey and the Nationals' Wilson Ramos were named as finalists along with Molina in the National League catcher's category. Joining Heyward as NL right field nominees are the Nationals' Bryce Harper and the Mets' Curtis Granderson.

Last year, Molina became just the fourth player in franchise history to win seven consecutive Gold Glove awards. If he can add another to his collection in 2015, he'll join Ozzie Smith (1982-92) and Bob Gibson (1965-73) as the only Cardinals players to win the award in at least eight straight seasons.

Molina would also then rank third behind Ivan Rodriguez (13) and Johnny Bench (10) for most Gold Glove awards given to a catcher. He is already one of just four non-outfielders -- joining Greg Maddux, Rodriguez and Omar Vizquel -- to win at least seven Gold Glove awards since 1990.

Even though he missed the last two weeks of the season with a thumb injury, Molina led all NL catchers with 1,149 2/3 innings. He ranked third in the league with seven Defensive Runs Saved, third with a Defensive WAR of 1.6, and second among qualifying catchers with a caught stealing percentage of 41.3.

Heyward, who is about to become a free agent, could become the first Cardinals outfielder since Jim Edmonds (2005) to win Gold Glove honors. The only other outfielders in franchise history to win the award were Curt Flood (1963-69) and Willie McGee (1983, 1985-86). Edmonds won a Gold Glove for six straight years, beginning in 2000.

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Heyward, who started 136 of his 144 games in right field, led all NL right fielders with a 14 Defensive WAR and 22 Defensive Runs Saved. He tallied nine assists and threw out three runners at home, including two over the final month of the season.

Voting for Gold Glove Awards is done by managers and coaches on each team. They may not vote for their own players and may only vote for players in their league. Those votes are then combined with a SABR Defensive Index -- a measure of the number of runs saved by a player's defensive performance compared to the average defensive player at that position -- to determine the winners.

Gold Glove winners then will be considered for Rawlings' Platinum Glove Award, which is presented to the best player at any position in both leagues. The award was established in 2011, and Molina has won NL honors in three out of four years.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.