Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart has won his second Gold Glove Award. In 2020, Barnhart got the final nod over finalists Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs and Jacob Stallings of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tucker Barnhart won his first Gold Glove back in 2017. After missing out on it the last two seasons, Barnhart is back on top. This year the Gold Glove Awards were awarded to players based on their SDI (SABR Defensive Index) alone. In past years SDI was a part of, but not the only part of the award criteria. In a shortened season, it was decided that it alone would determine the winner. SDI, however, isn’t explained in full detail. We do know that it includes Defensive Runs Saved, though. Barnhart led all catchers with nine defensive runs saved this past season. He also rated out as an above-average pitch framer – something he has improved upon throughout his career.

Tucker Barnhart didn’t commit a single error during the season in his 272.1 innings caught in 2020. He also threw out 36% of attempted base stealers during the season, which was 50% higher than the league average of 24%. That rate was up significantly over the previous two seasons where he threw out 24% (he threw out 44% during the 2017 season).

For the Cincinnati Reds, Tucker Barnhart joins Johnny Edwards (1963 and 1964) and Johnny Bench (1968-1977) as multiple Gold Glove winners at catcher. Barnhart is the first two not win them back-to-back.

Shogo Akiyama doesn’t win his 1st Gold Glove

Tucker Barnhart wasn’t the only Cincinnati Reds player who was a Gold Glove finalist in 2020. Outfielder Shogo Akiyama was also named as a finalist for the left field version of the award (despite playing in less than HALF of the innings the Reds had for left fielders). The award would ultimately go to St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Tyler O’Neill.

14 Responses

  1. Charlie Waffles

    That’s good news for Barnhart. He had a good year behind the plate, but not at the plate.
    The question for the Reds becomes does this award help make Barnhart more of a value to the team and pairing him with Tyler Stephenson at C? Or does this make him more of a value on the trade market? Several teams in need of a C.

    • Linkster

      I hate to say it but, this is the time to trade him. Casali and Stephenson can handle the platoon and cost less. Maybe they can swing a deal for one of the SS FA that are going to be available next year. Possibly sign and trade deal like they did with Gray when they got him a couple of years ago. Or, just make a run for it next year with Lindor. Then, let Lindor go (if too pricey) and get a QO.

  2. Sliotar

    I am not going to let a RLN post, especially on an award winner … go uncommented on, Election Night or not.

    For those that follow hockey … when kids to the Canadian Hockey League (starting at 16 years old, NHL-draft eligible at 18) … most realize they have to specialize in something (usually not scoring) to have a chance to stick in the NHL.

    Barnhart going down same path over his current contract …

    Defensive metrics rising … wRC+ dropping, from 90 in 2017 to 80 in 2020.

    Maybe the Reds can convince someone to take on a 2-time Gold Glove winner, even with the belt-tightening going on … and give Stephenson everyday at-bats in 2021.

  3. Mark Moore

    Good for Tucker. He certainly stood out defensively.

  4. Chris Holbert

    Now the Reds will have an “excuse ” to keep him, in these alleged trying times for the sport, financially. The pitchers were good, regardless of who was catching. The offense needs a boost from that position, not more Gold Gloves. I will take average catching and more offense.

  5. Don

    good he gets the recognition but I have seen way to many times his stand up for the high pitch on an 0-2 count giving away to the batter it is a waste pitch. (See Matt Carpenter AB this year where this movement tipped the pitch and he hit an HR which cost the team a win.)

    His constant moving while the pitcher is in the windup distracting the umpire has cost the team close in the zone pitches which should have been strikes to many times.

    Do not understand how that is the “best defensive” catcher in the NL.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Good points, I agree, but not something a typical GG voter considers. Along those same lines I’ve never been a fan of his pitch calling as it can get very dogmatic at times….but you have to wonder if that’s partly on the scouting department.

      His ability to play everyday makes me inclined to hold onto him and trade Casali, but Stephenson absolutely has to be the #1 guy if this team expects to increase their WAR at catcher, and I’m not talking platoon either.

    • VaRedsFan

      I agree with Don. If it his him calling the pitches (and not the dugout), I thought it was poor. So many times he would call an outside pitch when the defense was shifted to pull. And the stand up, waste pitches were just maddening. In these days of the sissified pitch counts, make all pitches mean something. They don’t have to be strikes, but at least make them close enough that the batter might fish at a pitch outside the zone.

    • AV in VA

      Agree on some of the pitch calling decisions when ahead in the count unless that is coming from the bench of analysis department. I did notice that Tampa made similar pitch calls when ahead in the count during the playoffs. They worked high in the zone versus away frequently when ahead in the count so this could be the way things are being coached with the new swing path.

  6. DataDumpster

    Not sure if it should be him or Casali as they both seem to be similar in talent but one of them have to go. Remember that we also have Kyle Farmer as a backup if needed. Just as in the outfield we have a surplus of very one dimensional players at this position. While the outfielders can’t play defense, the catchers can’t hit. Congrats to Barnhart just the same.

  7. Aaron B.

    Barnhart has value, but the Reds need offense badly. Casali is th ebetter power hitter, makes less money, and can probably play 1B in a pinch. Other teams who are less desperate for offense may see some value in Barnhart and his ability to handle a pitching staff. I wish him the best as well, but this is a great opportunity to unload his contract and give Stephenson his shot. If we can get actual value in return this is a no-brainer to me.

  8. KDJ

    I had commented on Tucker’s abysmal pitch framing multiple times in the past. But he has made great improvements to get to a more league-normal style and quality of framing. It has been great to see. Hopefully he will continue to improve and turn what was once a liability into an asset.

  9. Gonzo Reds

    Personally, I like keeping Tucker as our Defensive catcher and giving Tyler a shot at being our Offensive catcher. We really don’t need Casali as he doesn’t do either well enough to warrant keeping him and we always have our multi-tool available in a pinch behind them.

    Plus Tucker is a standout Red in the community and I for one think that’s important.

    Now the only exception for me is if we sign Realmuto but I don’t think he’ll seriously consider us unless we way overpay.

    • 2020ball

      Casalis a good defender who hits for power. We of course have a logjam at catcher, but lets not just write off a guy who has been excellent in his back-up role the past 2 years.