ST. PETERSBURG - Tonight could be golden for Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier.
Winners of the Gold Glove awards are being announced (7 p.m., ESPN 2) and Kiermaier is among three finalists to win what would be his third award in five seasons.
Kiermaier won in 2015 and 2016, then missed out in 2017 and 2018 when limited to less than 100 games due to injury.
His competition this year for the AL centerfield award is Jackie Bradley Jr. (Red Sox) and Mike Trout (Angels).
“Obviously we’re biased but I think he’s the best defensive player in baseball,’’ Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The process to determine the Gold Glove winners is based approximately 75 percent on voting by league managers and coaches, and 25 percent on an analytical measure known as the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), which combined five defensive metrics.
Per the latest SDI, through Aug. 18, Kiermaier ranked highest of the three candidates at 6.3 (though Minnesota’s Byron Buxton was first 8.9), with Trout at 4.4 and Bradley at -6.2.
Another defensive metric used commonly to evaluate players is fangraphs.com’s defensive runs saved. Kiermaier ranks first of the three with an AL centerfield most 13, while Trout and Bradley were both -1.
Since the start of the 2015 season, Kiermaier leads all major-league outfielders with 116 defensive runs saved. Next closest is Lorenzo Cain, who compiled 71 with Kansas City and Milwaukee over that span.