Inciarte wins NL Gold Glove Award for CF

Inciarte wins NL Gold Glove Award for CF

ATLANTA -- Ender Inciarte grew up idolizing Andruw Jones and Jim Edmonds. If he extends his recent defensive excellence, he may one day have a Gold Glove collection that rivals those amassed by those distinguished center fielders.

Inciarte received a much-deserved honor on Tuesday night, when it was announced he had won his second straight Rawlings Gold Glove Award. He won his first last year and vowed it would not be his last.

R.A. Dickey was the Braves' other Gold Glove finalist, but the 43-year-old knuckleballer's bid to be honored for the second time was denied, as Zack Greinke was named the winner among National League pitchers.

Dickey, who won his only Gold Glove while playing for the Blue Jays in 2013, has not revealed his future plans after the Braves opted not to exercise his option for 2018.

This year's Gold Glove Awards represent just one way the game's top performers will be recognized. Voting is underway for the Esurance MLB Awards, which annually honor MLB's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process. MLB Awards season will culminate on Nov. 17, when winners are announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Inciarte's competition this year consisted of the Nationals' Michael A. Taylor and the Reds' Billy Hamilton.

Inciarte has a genuine appreciation for the greatness Jones displayed while winning 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards for the Braves (1998 to 2007). But as a young left-handed-hitting center fielder in his native Venezuela, he related better to the game played by Edmonds, who won eight Gold Glove Awards (1997 to 2005).

Since beginning his stint as Atlanta's center fielder last season, Inciarte has established himself as one of Statcast™'s legends. He led the Majors with seven five-star outs (an out recorded with a Catch Probability of 25 percent or less) in 2017 and has totaled 18 since the start of 2016, more than any other outfielder.

All-time National League Gold Glove winners

Statcast™ introduced Outs Above Average this year, and it certainly wasn't surprising to see Inciarte rank near the top. His 22 OAA trailed only the 24 compiled by Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts.

OAA is the cumulative effect of all individual Catch Probability plays a fielder has been credited or debited with, making it a range-based metric of fielding skill that accounts for the number of plays made and their difficulty. If a fielder catches a ball with a 25 percent catch probability, he gets +.75. A player who does not make this catch would receive -.25.

Inciarte placed himself at or near the top of these Statcast™ defensive categories despite the fact that his range was somewhat limited, as he spent much of the season's final four months playing through discomfort in his left foot.

Some of Inciarte's other defensive metrics, such as Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 chances and Defensive Runs Saved, may have been negatively influenced by the issue with his foot. He led all qualified NL center fielders in both UZR/150 (14.9) and DRS (13) in 2016. This past season he ranked fourth in both categories, producing a 2.6 UZR/150 and 5 DRS.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.