Altoona Curve: Josh Bissonette, Connor Kaiser Providing Gold Glove Caliber Defense For Curve
|Photo Credit: D1Baseball.com/Aaron Fitt|
While offense takes the highlight reels, defense still wins championships. When it comes to defensive play, the Altoona Curve have two of the best in Josh Bissonette and Connor Kaiser.
When checking off your top prospect list, you won't find either Bissonette or Kaiser, but that doesn't mean their impact in the organization isn't felt. With Rodolfo Castro in the majors and Oneil Cruz out with an injury, the Curve are currently without their starting third baseman and shortstop from Opening Day.
They also happen to be two of the highest regarded prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates system, with Baseball America having Cruz ranked first.
So it's been some pretty big shoes to fill for the pair, both college draft picks out of Baylor (Bissonette) and Vanderbilt (Kaiser). While Bissonette was a 31st round draft pick, Kaiser was actually taken in the third round back in 2018.
Neither were drafted for their bat, but what they have lacked offensively, they have certainly made up for with their play on the diamond.
During the 2021 season, both Kaiser and Bissonette have a combined .967 fielding percentage, committing a total of just eight errors all season. Kaiser himself has one lone blunder on the year, and has been regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops in the long history of Vanderbilt baseball.
In 2016 he was named Defensive Player of the Year in the New England Collegiate Baseball League and won a Gold Glove in history for not committing an error the entire season.
Bissonette has bounced around the diamond this season, seeing the majority of playing time at third base, where he has a .936 FLD%, and an overall mark of .951%.
While he hasn't put up the most eye popping numbers offensively, Bissonette carried his own weight at times, especially after finding himself playing everyday.
For Kaiser, while he is currently batting under the Mendoza line (.188), he still had himself quite the week against the Akron RubberDucks. The 24-year old Kaiser went 5 for 17 (.294) this past week but hit three extra base hits, including his third home run of the season. The three extra base hits he collected this past week has represented 33% of his total power output this season.
Plenty can happen in the final six weeks of the season, but it would be nice to see both Kaiser and Bissonette get the recognition they deserve at the end of the year when Minor League Baseball hand out their gold gloves for each position.
They won't end up on any of the top prospects list, but there is no doubt that their play defensively have made them a clubhouse favorite, especially among the pitchers.