Carlos Santana's nomination for a Gold Glove award serves as fitting recognition for his defensive excellence during his tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Though known primarily for his hitting, Santana emerged as a defensive force for the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing the vast majority of his 2022 innings at first base for the team.
His defense was a big upgrade for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This was important for a team that was rolling out plenty of young infielders. However, Santana was traded away, as expected, at the deadline. The Brewers sent over one of their higher-rated teenage prospects Jhonny Severino.
Santana played over 700 innings at first base for the Pirates in 2022, compared to just over 300 for the Milwaukee Brewers. This extended time in Pittsburgh allowed him to accumulate impressive defensive statistics that underscore his impact. Santana posted an impressive 11 Defensive Runs Saved, the most by any qualified first baseman in the majors. According to FanGraphs 7 of those came with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also recorded 2 of his 3 Outs Above Average on the season with the Pirates, demonstrating his knack for making difficult plays.
Beyond the metrics, Santana brought consistency and reliability to the Pirates' infield defense. Pirates fans could count on Santana to make the routine plays look easy while also possessing the reflexes and range to make spectacular diving or stretching and scoops at first His steady glovework provided critical support to Pittsburgh's pitching staff and young players.
In the end, Santana's Gold Glove nomination stems largely from his outstanding performance at first base in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform.
His excellent glove in Pittsburgh was a crucial factor behind the nomination. Carlos Santana's fielding brilliance during his substantial time as a Pirate makes him a deserving candidate for Gold Glove recognition. Although he was traded away, the Pittsburgh Pirates could look to bring him back this offseason.