The Chicago Cubs entered the 2023 season with a clear focus on defense, and their efforts have paid off. As the 2023 award winners are announced, it is evident that the Cubs’ defensive abilities have been recognized on a grand scale.
Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson, the dynamic duo up the middle, have both been honored with NL Gold Glove awards for their respective positions. This marks Hoerner’s first career win, as he transitioned from shortstop to second baseman after the Cubs signed Swanson to a long-term deal.
Hoerner’s performance at second base has been nothing short of exceptional. In his first season at the position, he accumulated 1.9 defensive WAR, led all of baseball in assists, and recorded 15 outs above average. His defensive prowess has been a key factor in the Cubs’ success.
Swanson, on the other hand, has been a defensive force throughout his career. This marks his second consecutive NL Gold Glove win and his second overall. His 20 outs above average ranked first in MLB, regardless of position, and his 2.7 defensive WAR was second among all NL players.
Not only did Swanson win the NL Gold Glove award, but he also received the prestigious Fielding Bible award for his outstanding performance at shortstop. This honor is only bestowed upon one MLB player per position, further highlighting Swanson’s defensive excellence.
Completing the trio of Cubs’ Gold Glove winners is Ian Happ, who secured his second career win in left field. While Happ’s 2023 season may not have stood out with advanced metrics like his previous Gold Glove-winning season, he still displayed defensive prowess in a position often overlooked.
Happ recorded 12 outfield assists and showcased an average arm speed of 85.4 miles per hour, both of which are career-high marks for the former utility player. His dedication to improving his defensive skills has paid off, earning him well-deserved recognition.
The Chicago Cubs’ commitment to defense has been rewarded with these NL Gold Glove awards. Hoerner, Swanson, and Happ have proven themselves as elite defenders, solidifying the Cubs’ reputation as a team with exceptional defensive capabilities.