ANAHEIM — Martin Maldonado is trying to give Salvador Perez a run for his money.
As the Angels try to make the playoffs in the final three weeks, they also have individuals polishing their resumes for individual awards.
Maldonado appears to be a strong candidate to win the American League Gold Glove at catcher, unseating the Kansas City Royals’ Perez, who has won it four years in a row.
“In my mind, he’s Gold Glove-caliber,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think he’s the best defensive catcher in our league.”
Scioscia, a former catcher, is obviously biased. But Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch, also a former catcher, agreed that Maldonado is strongly in the mix.
“It’s hard to unseat someone as good as Salvador, and I’m not sure this is the year he’s going to do it,” Hinch said, “but as far as being a candidate, you look around the league on the defensive side and it’s hard to top what he can bring to the table.”
Maldonado does have one significant advantage over Perez, and every other catcher in the league. The formula for determining Gold Gloves is based on a mix of voting by managers and coaches and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Defensive Index. The SDI is a combination of a variety of advanced defensive metrics, boiled down into one figure.
In the last SDI results released, through Aug. 27, Maldonado led AL catchers with a rating of 11.8, which was more than double the second-place catcher (Boston’s Sandy Leon, 5.7). Perez ranked seventh, at 2.3.
“He does a lot of good things behind the plate,” Hinch said. “You can tell he’s very selfless with wanting to get the most out of his pitchers. He completely shuts down the running game. He’s a winning catcher, in my eyes, just playing against him.”
Maldonado has also handled the heaviest volume, catching a major-league high 124 games. Perez, who has been injured this year, has caught 104.
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