Pillar’s all-out style of play led to another series of highlight-reel catches in 2016, and the numbers like him as much as the eye test. The 27-year-old led all big-league centre fielders in defensive value in 2016, according to FanGraphs’ defensive metrics. By that standard, the only defensive players to contribute more with the glove in 2016 were shortstops Brandon Crawford and Francisco Lindor.
There’s no debate about Pillar’s glove around baseball, but as a centre fielder he’s up against other defensively gifted finalists. This year he’ll have to beat Jackie Bradley Jr. and defending winner Kevin Kiermaier to take home his first career Gold Glove, while Dickey, a 2013 winner, is up against Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel.
As a team, Blue Jays fielders converted 71.7 per cent of batted balls into outs this year, leading the American League. The Chicago Cubs are the only team that fielded more efficiently in 2016.