Juan Soto’s Gold Glove nomination amid Manny Machado snub makes no sense

WASHINGTON, MD - AUGUST 12: Juan Soto #22 of the San Diego Padres catches a fly ball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, MD - AUGUST 12: Juan Soto #22 of the San Diego Padres catches a fly ball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

While San Diego Padres superstar outfielder Juan Soto has been renowned as one of the best hitters in the game over the last few years, his defense has caused fans in both the DMV area and California lots of consternation. He picked a bad time to show his still-developing defense in the postseason.

The Padres won Game 2 of their NLCS bout with the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5, but they had to dig out of a four-run hole early in this contest. Thanks to a bad throw into the infield and an embarrassing misplay in the outfield, the Phillies were able to put four runs on the board.

That didn’t stop Soto from earning a Gold Glove nomination, joining Dodgers star Mookie Betts and Diamondbacks youngster Daulton Varsho as the (alleged) three best right fielders in the National League. In a shocking move, MVP candidate Manny Machado did not join his teammate in this exclusive club.

Machado was not one of the three Gold Glove finalists at third base, as St. Louis’ Nolan Arenado, Pittsburgh’s Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Colorado’s Ryan McMahon beat him out. Anyone who has watched the Padres in the second half can see that the voters got these nominations backward.

Padres: Juan Soto gets a Gold Glove nomination, not Manny Machado.

FanGraphs shows that Soto grades out as the worst defender currently on the roster, as the since-departed Eric Hosmer and Luke Voit are the only ones above him. Machado comes in third on the team, behind only Trent Grisham in center field and Ha-Seong Kim at shortstop.

Soto is beyond reproach as a hitter, but he ranked as one of the least effective defenders at any position throughout his time in Washington this season. Soto in San Diego had a nice ring to it for the next decade, but it’s his bat that has Padres fans drooling over the future, not his shambolic outfield performance.

Even if you are willing to concede that Arenado and Hayes are the two top defensive third baseman in the league, including a player with very similar numbers like McMahon is sure to get Padres fans up in arms. Machado’s penchant for highlight-reel plays on a contending team has to count for something, no?

The Padres need to hope that the award-winning outfielder that apparently resides on their team shows up in Philadelphia during their NLCS clash, as San Diego’s pitching staff could really use a few standout catches in right field from No. 22. Machado, meanwhile, needs to prove the voters wrong with a few more web gems.