Just like many fans presumed, Dodgers’ right fielder Mookie Betts was named the 2020 National League Gold Glove Award winner for right field, as announced by the MLB Network on Tuesday evening.
While the 2020 version was his first as a National Leaguer and in a Dodger uniform, it is the fifth time he won the award in his career. As a member of the Red Sox, the 28-year-old Betts won four straight Gold Gloves, beginning with the 2016 season when he also finished as the runner-up for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
Betts’ honor makes it two consecutive seasons that a Dodgers’ right fielder has won a Gold Glove, joining teammate Cody Bellinger, who earned the award in 2019. Betts is the ninth Dodger outfielder to receive the honor, joining Bellinger, Andre Ethier (2011), Matt Kemp (2011), Steve Finley (2004), Raul Mondesi (1995, 1997), Dusty Baker (1981), Willie Davis (1971-1973) and Wally Moon (1960).
In his first season in Los Angeles, Betts finished second in the National League with 52 games played in right field, recording a .966 fielding percentage with just four errors. He was among the National League right field leaders in innings played, assists, Ultimate Zone Rating, range runs, and Defensive Runs Saved.
The former 2011 fifth-round pick out of Overton High School in Nashville is the 30th outfielder in major league history to win five or more Gold Gloves, and he is the first outfielder to win five straight Gold Gloves since Ichiro Suzuki.
Since 2016, Betts has played 636 games in the outfield, recording a .991 fielding percentage with 38 assists and 13 errors over 5597 innings. During that five-year span, he ranks among the major league outfield leaders in just about every defensive category. His 104 runs saved are the most by any player in majors over that same span.
In addition to his superior range and outstanding glovework, Betts has one of the strongest and most accurate arms in the game.
Due to the shortened season, the 2020 Gold Glove Award qualifications were modified to rely solely on the SABR Defensive Index. The SDI draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics—those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts, including data from MLBAM’s Statcast, Sports Information Solutions, and STATS, LLC.
Betts is also one of three finalists for the NL MVP Award, which will be announced on November 12.
In his own attempt to win consecutive Gold Glove honors, Bellinger fell short to center fielder Trent Grisham of the Padres.
(Juan Dorado furnished some information provided in this report)