Molina could become the fifth catcher to win at least six Gold Gloves, joining Ivan Rodriguez (13), Johnny Bench (10), Bob Boone (seven) and Jim Sundberg (six). The Cardinals' stellar catcher is one of three National League finalists, the others being the Dodgers' A.J. Ellis and the Pirates' Russell Martin. Martin won the award in 2007.
The Rays could sweep the infield as first baseman James Loney, second baseman Ben Zobrist, third baseman Evan Longoria, and shortstop Yunel Escobar are all finalists. Longoria is a two-time Gold Glove winner, claiming the honor in 2009-10.
Among the six Orioles, Wieters is vying for his third straight Gold Glove, while Hardy and Jones are each looking for their second consecutive top defensive honor. The Royals and Dodgers each had five finalists.
The voting was slightly altered this year. Since its inception in 1957, the Gold Glove has relied solely on votes by Major League managers and coaches to determine the best defensive players. Managers and coaches got an assist this year from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and for the first time, Rawlings collaborated with SABR to formally incorporate sabermetrics as a component in determining winners.
A committee of experts in baseball analytics and defensive measurement devised the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), which draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted balls, location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts.
The three metrics representing batted-ball data include defensive runs saved (from Baseball Info Solutions), ultimate zone rating (developed by sabermetician Mitchel Lichtman) and runs effectively defended (created by SABR's Chris Dial).
The two metrics included in the SDI from play-by-play data are defensive regression analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and total zone rating.
The plan, according to Rawlings and SABR, is to have the SDI complement the judgment of the managers and coaches. The SABR Defensive Index will account for 30 total votes -- or approximately 25 percent -- of the Gold Glove Award selection process, and will be added to the votes from the managers and coaches.
Ballots were distributed to managers and coaches last month, and they received a revamped statistical resource guide as well.
Rawlings announced the three finalists at each position in each league via Twitter.
The three American League pitchers include Blue Jays teammates Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey and the Tigers' Doug Fister. Buehrle won the award last year in the National League while with the Marlins.
Wieters will be challenged at catcher by the Twins' Joe Mauer, a three-time winner (2008-10), and the Royals' Salvador Perez.
There will be a new winner at first base in the American League. The three finalists include Loney, the Orioles' Chris Davis, and the Royals' Eric Hosmer.
Robinson Cano could win his third Gold Glove in the past four seasons. The Yankees second baseman is one of the three finalists, joining Zobrist and the Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia.
The Rangers' Adrian Beltre, who has won four Gold Gloves in the past six years, is in line for a fifth. He's one of the third-base finalists along with Longoria and the Orioles' Manny Machado, who led the AL in fielding percentage and zone rating.
Besides Hardy and Yunel Escobar, the Royals' Alcides Escobar also is a finalist at AL shortstop.
In the outfield, the AL left-field finalists are two-time winner Alex Gordon of the Royals, the Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes and the Tigers' Andy Dirks.
In center, Jones will be challenged by the Royals' Lorenzo Cain and the Red Sox's Jacoby Ellsbury. The Athletics' Josh Reddick, who won his first Gold Glove last season, will try to repeat, competing with the Orioles' Nick Markakis and the Red Sox's Shane Victorino for right-field honors. Victorino was a three-time Gold Glove winner from 2008-10 while with the Phillies.
In the National League, the three pitchers competing for the Gold Glove are the Dodgers' Zack Greinke, the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright and the D-backs' Patrick Corbin. Greinke and Wainwright were among eight NL pitchers who did not make an error; Corbin made two in his 32 starts.
At first base, the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez is vying for his third Gold Glove and first since 2009 (he also won in '08). Other finalists include the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt and the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo.
Darwin Barney, who led the NL in fielding percentage, will try to hang on to the top honor for the second straight year but will have tough competition from the Dodgers' Mark Ellis and the Reds' Brandon Phillips. Phillips won the award in 2008, '10 and '11.
There will be a new winner at third. The Padres' Chase Headley won the Gold Glove last year, but the three finalists this year are the Rockies' Nolan Arenado, the Dodgers' Juan Uribe and the Mets' David Wright.
Four-time Gold Glove winner Jimmy Rollins did not make the final three at shortstop, but the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki, who won in 2010 and '11, did, and will compete with the Nationals' Ian Desmond and the Braves' Andrelton Simmons for the honor. Tulowitzki led all NL shortstops in fielding percentage and ranked second in zone rating to Simmons.
Two-time Gold Glove winner Carlos Gonzalez could pick up his third. The Rockies left fielder is among the finalists, along with the Pirates' Starling Marte and the Mets' Eric Young Jr.
In center, the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen is vying for his second straight Gold Glove, and will be challenged by the Brewers' Carlos Gomez and the Nationals' Denard Span.
The right-field finalists include reigning Gold Glove winner Jason Heyward of the Braves. Also on the list are the Reds' Jay Bruce and the Diamondbacks' Gerardo Parra.
Since 2011, 11 players have finished in the top three at their respective position each year: Beltre, Bruce, Buehrle, Cano, Adrian Gonzalez, Gordon, Hardy, Molina, Pedroia, Phillips and Wieters.
The complete list of finalists:
Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays
R.A. Dickey, Blue Jays
Doug Fister, Tigers
Joe Mauer, Twins
Salvador Perez, Royals
Matt Wieters, Orioles
Chris Davis, Orioles
Eric Hosmer, Royals
James Loney, Rays
Robinson Cano, Yankees
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Ben Zobrist, Rays
Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Evan Longoria, Rays
Manny Machado, Orioles
Alcides Escobar, Royals
Yunel Escobar, Rays
J.J. Hardy, Orioles
Yoenis Cespedes, A's
Andy Dirks, Tigers
Alex Gordon, Royals
Lorenzo Cain, Royals
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Adam Jones, Orioles
Nick Markakis, Orioles
Shane Victorino, Red Sox
Josh Reddick, A's
Patrick Corbin, D-backs
Zack Greinke, Dodgers
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
A.J. Ellis, Dodgers
Russell Martin, Pirates
Yadier Molina, Cardinals
Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
Darwin Barney, Cubs
Brandon Phillips, Reds
Mark Ellis, Dodgers
Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Juan Uribe, Dodgers
David Wright, Mets
Ian Desmond, Nationals
Andrelton Simmons, Braves
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Starling Marte, Pirates
Eric Young Jr., Mets
Carlos Gomez, Brewers
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Denard Span, Nationals
Jay Bruce, Reds
Jason Heyward, Braves
Gerardo Parra, D-backs