- Gabriel Burns
Ender Inciarte became a first-time All-Star in 2017 for the Braves. He’s now a second-time Gold Glove finalist, looking to repeat as the top defensive center fielder in the National League. Inciarte he’ll be joined by teammate and veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who’s been nominated for the second time of his career. The finalists for the American and National League were announced Thursday.
Inciarte has been a finalist in both of his seasons in Atlanta. He could be the first Braves player to earn back-to-back Gold Gloves since Andrelton Simmons in 2013-14. He is joined by the Nationals’ Michael Taylor and the Reds’ Billy Hamilton as finalists in the National League.
Inciarte, who will get a $25,000 bonus if he wins the award, played in 156 games and committed just three errors (.985 fielding percentage) last season. He had 420 defensive chances, registering 410 putouts and seven assists. He was worth five more runs saved than the average, according to Baseball Reference.
When Inciarte won the honor last year, he was the first Braves player to receive the award since Simmons and Jason Heyward in 2014. He was the first Braves center fielder to become a Gold Glover since Andruw Jones in 2007.
Dickey won the Gold Glove as a 39-year-old in Toronto in 2013. It was the encore to his Cy Young season with the Mets, when Dickey also received his lone All-Star bid and finished 14th in MVP voting.
In 190 innings last season, Dickey made 15 putouts and 44 assists in 61 chances.
The 42-year-old is joined by Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke and the Brewers’ Zach Davies as finalists.
The Braves recently declined Dickey’s $8 million option, making him a free agent. But Dickey was candid in that he’s seriously considering retirement and that 2017 may have been his farewell tour with his childhood favorite team.
Just 26 years old, Inciarte became the prize of the 2015 trade that sent Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks. The Braves acquired two centerpieces of their future – former No. 1 pick Dansby Swanson and Inciarte – for a pitcher who had a career season in 2015.
Also, Inciarte collected 201 hits, becoming the first Brave to reach that mark since Marquis Grissom in 1996. Inciarte posted his best career slash line at .304/.350/.409.
Inciarte was worth 3.0 wins above replacement in 2017, a tick below his 3.6 in 2016.