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Royals boast five Gold Glove Award finalists

Royals boast five Gold Glove Award finalists

Royals boast five Gold Glove Award finalists

KANSAS CITY -- Think the Royals didn't make a strong impression with their defense this year?

Guess again. On Friday, Kansas City players were nominated for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award at five positions, second most in the American League.

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Two-time Gold Glove left fielder Alex Gordon heads the Royals' nominees for fielding excellence, joined by catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer, shortstop Alcides Escobar and center fielder Lorenzo Cain.

The winners will be announced during a program on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

Only Baltimore, which had the fewest errors (54) in the Major Leagues, had more nominees in either league, six.

Gordon, who won the Gold Glove in left field in 2011-12 -- the first two years the outfield awards were specified by position -- had another outstanding year. He led the AL with 17 outfield assists and now has a Major League-best 54 since '11.

Gordon will have competition from Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes and Detroit's Andy Dirks.

Perez, who joined Gordon on the AL All-Star team this year, led AL catchers by stopping 23 basestealing attempts for a 35.2 percent rate. Pitchers had a 3.36 ERA when Perez was catching, and he added the ninth pickoff of his career.

Other catchers in the running are Matt Wieters of Baltimore and Joe Mauer of Minnesota, who have accounted for the last five Gold Gloves combined.

Hosmer could become the first Royals first baseman to win a Gold Glove. He made just eight errors while handling 1,335 chances, second most in the AL at the position.

Only Baltimore's Chris Davis made more plays, and he's also nominated with Tampa Bay's James Loney. Last year's winner, Mark Teixeira of New York, was injured.

Likewise, Escobar would be the first Royals shortstop to win a Gold Glove. He made just two errors after the All-Star break, and his .993 percentage during that period was the Majors' best. He also helped turn 89 double plays, fifth in the AL.

Escobar is opposed by Tampa Bay's Yunel Escobar and Baltimore's J.J. Hardy, last year's winner.

Cain, despite missing 24 games because of injury, appeared in a career-high 115 games and had seven assists with an ultimate zone rating (UZR) of 12.8 that ranked tops in the league.

Other nominees in center are Baltimore's Adam Jones, who won last year and in 2009, and Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury, the '11 winner.

This is the first time that Cain, Alcides Escobar and Perez have been nominated. Hosmer and Gordon were nominated last year. The nomination process was instituted in 2011.

If Gordon wins, he'll join Amos Otis (1971, '73-74) as the only Royals outfielder to win three Gold Gloves. The team record is eight, by second baseman Frank White.

The Royals have had more than one winner in the same year three times -- 1977, White and outfielder Al Cowens; '80, White and outfielder Willie Wilson; and '89, catcher Bob Boone and pitcher Bret Saberhagen.

This marks the first year since the awards' inception in 1957 that the winners will be chosen not only in a vote of Major League managers and coaches but by the SABR Defensive Index, which incorporates fielding science into the equation of personal evaluation. The SDI draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball, location-based data, and those collected by from play-by-play accounts.

The complete list of finalists:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Pitcher
Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays
R.A. Dickey, Blue Jays
Doug Fister, Tigers

Catcher
Joe Mauer, Twins
Salvador Perez, Royals
Matt Wieters, Orioles

First base
Chris Davis, Orioles
Eric Hosmer, Royals
James Loney, Rays

Second base
Robinson Cano, Yankees
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Ben Zobrist, Rays

Third base
Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Evan Longoria, Rays
Manny Machado, Orioles

Shortstop
Alcides Escobar, Royals
Yunel Escobar, Rays
J.J. Hardy, Orioles

Left field
Yoenis Cespedes, A's
Andy Dirks, Tigers
Alex Gordon, Royals

Center field
Lorenzo Cain, Royals
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Adam Jones, Orioles

Right field
Nick Markakis, Orioles
Shane Victorino, Red Sox
Josh Reddick, A's

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Pitcher
Patrick Corbin, D-backs
Zack Greinke, Dodgers
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals

Catcher
A.J. Ellis, Dodgers
Russell Martin, Pirates
Yadier Molina, Cardinals

First base
Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
Anthony Rizzo, Cubs

Second base
Darwin Barney, Cubs
Brandon Phillips, Reds
Mark Ellis, Dodgers

Third base
Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Juan Uribe, Dodgers
David Wright, Mets

Shortstop
Ian Desmond, Nationals
Andrelton Simmons, Braves
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Left field
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Starling Marte, Pirates
Eric Young Jr., Mets

Center field
Carlos Gomez, Brewers
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Denard Span, Nationals

Right field
Jay Bruce, Reds
Jason Heyward, Braves
Gerardo Parra, D-backs

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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