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Madison Bumgarner, David Peralta named finalists for National League awards

Jesse Friedman Avatar
November 1, 2021

Following a 52-win season, the 2021 Arizona Diamondbacks weren’t going to take home any team trophies. That doesn’t mean individual awards were off limits.

Outfielder David Peralta was named a National League Gold Glove finalist in left field, joining the Cardinals’ Tyler O’Neill and former Diamondback A.J. Pollock, now with the Dodgers.

Madison Bumgarner was named a Silver Slugger finalist as a pitcher.

This is not the first time that Peralta has been in the Gold Glove conversation. He has been a finalist each of the past three years, and he won it in 2019. That said, Peralta is probably not as accomplished a defender as his track record indicates – at least not this year.

In 2021, Peralta posted 1.2 UZR/150, 0 DRS and 3 OAA. Defensive metrics in baseball are sketchy at best, but that line suggests Peralta is probably closer to average than elite defensively. Teams don’t generally put their best defenders in left field anyway, so there isn’t a whole lot of competition.

Fellow finalist Pollock finished the season with –2.0 UZR/150, 2 DRS and 1 OAA. Again, not all that impressive.

O’Neill, meanwhile, posted 7.4 UZR/150, 12 DRS and 3 OAA. He’s the clear favorite.

If nothing else, it’s impressive that Peralta has managed to keep his name in the mix three years in a row. He won’t win it this year, but he’s been a quality defender for a long time.

That brings us to Bumgarner, whose candidacy as a Silver Slugger finalist came as a shock to some.

Bumgarner’s .103 batting average doesn’t exactly jump off the page, and only one of his four hits this year went for extra bases. Somehow, Bumgarner’s presence on the list actually does make some statistical sense, however.

In 52 plate appearances, Bumgarner has drawn nine walks. That’s a 17.3 percent walk rate, which is far and away the highest walk rate on the D-backs’ 2021 roster.

Amusingly, it’s also the seventh highest walk rate in baseball (minimum 50 PA), trailing only Yasmani Grandal, Juan Soto, Mike Trout, Joey Gallo, Matt Joyce and Jake Fraley.

Bumgarner didn’t exactly do damage with the bat in 2021, but for whatever reason, opposing pitchers wanted no part of him. His propensity for getting on base pushed him into the Silver Slugger conversation.

Granted, that’s not exactly a sexy case for Silver Slugger.

Unfortunately, like Peralta, Bumgarner’s chances of winning are slim.

The other three finalists – the Atlanta Braves’ Max Fried, the Colorado Rockies’ German Marquez and the New York Mets’ Jacob DeGrom – all have better overall numbers.

DeGrom’s season was cut short, but he slashed .364/.364/.394 in 33 plate appearances. Marquez posted a .264/.264/.415 line, and Fried finished with .273/.322/.327.

It’s unclear who the award will ultimately go to, but it’s probably not going to Bumgarner, in what will likely be the last year that pitchers have a chance to hit.

Peralta and Bumgarner were the only two award finalists in the D-backs organization in 2021, and neither has a realistic chance of winning.

Ketel Marte could have made a case for Silver Slugger if he’d been able to stay healthy, but 90 games just wasn’t enough. A few people, including myself, had Zac Gallen in the Cy Young conversation going into the season, but he struggled most of the year.

This will likely make back-to-back seasons where the D-backs go without an award winner. For a team that has won less than 35 percent of its games in that span, that’s not surprising.

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