Cubs hit franchise milestone with 3 Gold Glove award winners

While fans expected stellar defense across the board from the Cubs going into 2023, the extent to which they were honored on Sunday is unprecedented in franchise history.

With Dansby Swanson, Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ all winning Gold Glove awards at shortstop, second base and left field respectively, the Cubs have three Gold Glove award winners in the same season for the first time.

The hardware on Sunday also marks the first time since 2020 that the Cubs have had multiple Gold Glove award winners in the same season, with Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez winning at first base and shortstop respectively in the pandemic-shortened season.

The honors also mark the second consecutive Gold Glove awards for both Swanson and Happ, with Hoerner winning his first career Gold Glove.

Hoerner excelled in his first season at the position, accumulating 1.9 defensive WAR for the second straight season while leading all of baseball in assists and posting 15 outs above average.

The win for Hoerner makes him the fifth Cubs’ second baseman to win the Gold Glove, and the first since Darwin Barney in 2012.

As for Swanson, the win marks the second of his career as well as his second in a row, taking home more hardware for what was arguably the finest defensive performance in all of baseball.

Swanson’s 20 outs above average ranked first in MLB regardless of position, while his 2.7 defensive WAR ranked second among all players in the NL.

In addition to the NL Gold Glove award for shortstop, Swanson also won the Fielding Bible award for the position, which is only given to one MLB player per position.

With Swanson and Happ both winning Gold Gloves, they become the first middle infield duo to each win the award since Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik with the San Francisco Giants in 2016.

Swanson becomes the fourth Cubs shortstop to win a Gold Glove, joining the company of Ernie Banks, Don Kessinger and Javier Baez.

As for Happ, the win marks the second of his career, adding more hardware to his name since becoming an everyday left fielder at the start of 2022.

Though Happ’s 2023 performance didn’t stick out with advanced metrics in the same way his Gold Glove-winning 2022 season did, Happ still showed defensive prowess at a position where it is often neglected.

Happ posted 12 outfield assists with an average arm speed of 85.4 miles per hour in 2023, both representing career-high marks for the former utility man-turned-left fielder.

In addition to leading all left fielders in outfield assists in 2023, his 23 outfield assists since the start of 2021 rank second among all players at the position.

Click here to follow the Cubs Talk Podcast.