Rawlings Sports announced the finalists for the 2014 Gold Glove Awards on Thursday. Among the finalists for the American League were Tigers catcher Alex Avila, first baseman Miguel Cabrera, and second baseman Ian Kinsler. No Tigers outfielders were selected as finalists for the award.
The award recipients will be announced during a special award show on ESPN 2 on November 4 at 7 p.m ET. The Tigers have not had a winner since 2009 when Placido Polanco won it at second base. Before that, catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez earned the honor in 2007, and no first baseman has ever won the award for the Tigers.
Alex Avila was previously selected as a Gold Glove finalist in 2012. Avila battled several concussions in 2014, but maintained his solid defensive abilities, finishing with a .995 fielding percentage. Avila was in the top two for the Tigers in dWAR, and his 1.5 was tied for 15th in the AL. He caught 36 runners attempting to steal a base for a 34 percentage rate, marking the highest percentage of his major league career.
Avila was tagged to 23 wild pitches, his lowest of his career by eight (he had 31 in 2012), dating back to his rookie season in 2009 when he was tagged with five. He also had a career-low three passed balls. Avila will go head-to-head against Indians' Yan Gomes and Royals' Salvador Perez for the award.
Miguel Cabrera transitioned back to first base after playing third for two seasons. He finished with a .995 fielding percentage, turning 100 double plays at first base. He started 12 (3-6-3, 3-6-1, or 3-6) double plays in the season, more than any other first baseman in the American League this season. He will go head-to-head against Royals' Eric Hosmer and Angels' Albert Pujols for the award.
Ian Kinsler came to the Tigers with the status of a good second baseman, but no one (including the Tigers) were expecting to see the performance Kinsler put on at his position in 2014. He has been nominated for a Gold Glove award once before, in 2011. Finishing with a .988 fielding percentage, Kinsler turned 101 double plays and lit up the highlight reel in 2014.
Kinsler's 2.9 dWAR was listed as the top score with the Tigers, his dWAR was ranked best in the AL, and his nine errors marked the second-lowest of his career (he had seven with the Rangers in 2010). He will go head-to-head against Mariners' Robinson Cano and Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia for the award.