April 16, 2024

Snitker: ‘That’s a sin that (Austin Riley) didn’t win a Gold Glove’

The Atlanta Braves won over 100 games for the second consecutive season in 2023, and the play of Austin Riley was a key reason why. 

Riley finished seventh in the National League Most Valuable Player race after recording 37 home runs and 97 RBI while batting .281. His efforts at the plate awarded him the Silver Slugger award for National League third baseman. Still, his manager feels Riley missed an award that would have encapsulated his efforts in the 2023 season. 

“That’s a sin that he didn’t win a Gold Glove,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said in a recent interview with MLB.com

Riley was incredible at the plate, but metrics suggest that his defense could use work. He ranked No. 23 among active 3rd basemen in Baseball Savant‘s metrics with zero outs above average and was No. 4 among third basemen with nine defensive runs saved according to FanGraphs

Snitker believes that analytics do not tell the full story of how great of a defensive third baseman Riley is, and feels that Riley passes the eye test. 

You can take those defensive metrics and put it you know where,” Snitker said. “I judge defense with my eyes, not some metrics. It blows me away every year when I look at the Gold Glove thing and I see all of the numbers they have. You know the guys who can defend, and Austin Riley is one of the best defensive third basemen in our game.

Riley has accomplished plenty in his young career: multiple Silver Slugger awards, several All-Star game nods, and a World Series title. He says that he hopes to add “Gold Glove winner” to his belt this season. If he were to take home the title this season, he would join Clete Boyer and Terry Pendleton as the only 3rd basemen in franchise history to win the award. 

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