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AL Gold Gloves look more like Silver Sluggers

Nov 10, 2009, 3:22 PM EDT

The Gold Gloves aren’t worthy of any real analysis and never have been, but we won’t completely ignore them, even if it’s likely the best way to treat them.
The AL choices were announced Tuesday, and the managers and coaches voting for them clearly went for offense over defense:
C Joe Mauer
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Placido Polanco
3B Evan Longoria
SS Derek Jeter
OF Torii Hunter
OF Ichiro Suzuki
OF Adam Jones
P Mark Buehrle
It looks like a legitimate All-Star team, with only Polanco standing out as someone who wasn’t an offensive force this year.
Of course, overlooked were plenty of elite defenders.
The American League has two standout outfielders, neither of whom was honored. It’s baffling that Carl Crawford was again ignored, despite his outstanding reputation throughout the game. Of course, the voters prefer center fielders to corner outfielders, but they’re willing to keep going with Ichiro. It’s amazing that Jones, who is hardly an exceptional center fielder, beat out Crawford.
That the American League’s best outfielder was overlooked was hardly surprising. Franklin Gutierrez was simply brilliant in center field for the Mariners, and he probably rates as the game’s best defensive outfielder right now. If he hits 30 homers next year, perhaps the managers will start to take note.
Shortstop was the worst call, as it has been several times before. Actually, Jeter is playing better defense now than he did when he won his first three Gold Gloves, but there’s still no way he’s better than Cesar Izturis or Adam Everett. Unfortunately, those two didn’t put in full seasons. Erick Aybar and Elvis Andrus came closer. But since there was no consensus on who was really the best, Jeter somehow added to his collection.
That’s one of the problems with the Gold Gloves. Since the field never gets narrowed down at any point, Jeter could have conceivably won with 25 percent of the vote.
The others are all justifiable selections. Gerald Laird probably had a better season than Mauer behind the dish, but he’s hardly spectacular. There were no true standouts at first base. I’d put Dustin Pedroia ahead of Polanco at second, but UZR agrees with managers’ pick. Longoria and Chone Figgins were close at third. Ichiro had as good a case as any for the third outfielder along with Gutierrez and Crawford, and Hunter is still clearly above average.
I probably would have gone with Roy Halladay as the pitcher, but then I don’t think pickoffs should factor into it — I see that as a pitching statistic, not a fielding stat. Buehrle is very good even without taking into account his ability to limit the running game, so I’m fine with that one.

  1. Dulany - Nov 10, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    Jeter, while a great offensive talent, is overrated defensively. I blame that stupid jump-throw of his….

  2. BC - Nov 10, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    No obvious standouts at first base??? Did you watch Texiera play at all this year??!?

  3. Mac-01 - Nov 10, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    As a Baltimore Oriole fan (I know, I feel sorry for me too) I disagree about Adam Jones – he really is an exceptional fielder and deserves the award. I think Jeter was a terrible call.

  4. Zack - Nov 10, 2009 at 3:57 PM

    Teixeira’s UZR/150 was worth -4.1 runs. Miguel Cabrera’s was +3.1. For example…

  5. Halo Fan - Nov 10, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    Erick Aybar got jobbed.

  6. Matthew Pouliot - Nov 10, 2009 at 3:59 PM

    Teixeira is very good and he would have been my choice in the AL, but he doesn’t have as much range as Pujols or Derrek Lee.

  7. jp44 - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    This guy is clueless. Tex was unbelievable this year.

  8. hop - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    i love it when the idiots who are jealous of Jeter write stuff like this.

  9. JG789 - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:03 PM

    Jeter is one of the most oustanding SS’s, as well as ball players, of all time. Why? Because he rises to the occasion every time he puts on a uniform.

  10. SBG - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    “Hunter is still clearly above average.”
    Uh, no. As a Twins fan, I can tell you that he started declining about 4 years ago. You remember that Kotsay debacle in the 2006 ALDS? That was not an aberration, that was Hunter then. He was hurt and failed to adjust to his limited range, misplaying several balls into extra base hits. The naked eye said that he was no longer even average then, and UZR agrees with me.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=731&position=OF#fielding

  11. ralf - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    Wow. Even when it’s just to pose for a video game cover?
    I’ve never heard of that stat before. Who led the NL in “rising to the occasion” this year? Who’s the all-time career leader?

  12. bb - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    gold glove is one of those really tough subjective choices. it is the voters perception of impact and not based on a battery of stats.
    really is ahrd to argue against any of these as outlandish. others equally or even a little more deserving? sure.
    Cano is better than Pedroia. Pedroia makes the routine look spectacular. Cano makes the spectacular look routine. his problem is the “dumb” error.

  13. wh - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    jeter had the best fielding pct. in the AL this year.

  14. sbg - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:25 PM

    Jeter’s rising to the occasion in interleague play was enough to lead both leagues, duh.

  15. Bobby Townsend - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:26 PM

    Jeters’ errors were down this season (8 in 150 games) but I think Teixeira at first may have saved him a few. Tex I feel was the obvious choice at first.
    Can make a case for Erick Aybar at short (11 errors in 136 games) and I feel was the Angels MVP for his all-around play.
    Hard to overlook Polanco at 2nd (only 2 errors in 151 games). Under any other circumstance, Pedroia would have been the choice.
    While I think Adam Jones was outstanding in center for the O’s, Gutierrez was great as well for the M’s but I guess they try not to pick two outfielders from the same team. Perhaps the 7 errors was too many and probably would have played in every game had he not run into the wall in Detroit. Jason Bay, who did not committ an error in 150 games, probably got some consideration as well.
    Joe Mauer, besides winning his 3rd batting title in 4 years, was solid behind the plate but Laird should have won the award based on his overall play but what stood the most was his high percentage of throwing out potential base stealers. Kurt Suzuki was a good young catcher whom I saw alot of good qualities from behind the dish.

  16. JG789 - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:29 PM

    Including 5 WS rings…….

  17. JG789 - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:33 PM

    Your vote sir(or is it ma’am), for the Gold Glove Award, must be the statistician.

  18. Char_in_Miami - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    how could anyone not see that teixeira, on his worst day, was better than pujols on pulols’ best day.
    the plays he made ranging to his right as well as covering the line were awesome.

  19. Nathan - Nov 10, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    Jeter isn’t even average defensively… and I don’t blame the jump throw, I blame ESPN. I would think a guy like Bartlett should get the award.

  20. Bobby Townsend - Nov 10, 2009 at 5:17 PM

    I like Bartlett too but 20 errors is just too many.

  21. Nathan - Nov 10, 2009 at 5:19 PM

    Really Char? “Teixeira, on his worst day, was better than Pujols on Pujols’ best day.” I understand that living in Miami you don’t watch the Cardinals play very often, but Pujols has more range than any first baseman I’ve ever seen. He just set the Major League record for Assists by a first baseman. He makes throws that no other first baseman in baseball would even think about making, and he gets to balls that no one else would even try to get. Pujols made 136 more Assists than Teixeira this year. And Teixeira is better on his worst day?

  22. Coyle - Nov 10, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    I love when the media second guesses the managers and coaches, what the heck do they know? Jeter led the league in fielding pct for SS – also, how many times is he in the right place at the right time for his team. That stat doesnt show up – but the players and coaches remember that sort of thing.

  23. Doc Rick - Nov 10, 2009 at 5:36 PM

    Forgive my ignorance, but who, by position, had the best fielding percentage. Give them each the Golden Glove and be done with it.

  24. Baseballer - Nov 10, 2009 at 5:40 PM

    Gold gloves are known as a joke to baseball players. Remember when Rafael Palmiero won it a few years back as a 1st Baseman for Texas – but he DH’d the majority of the games?? Jeter is far from the best defensive shortstop. His range has substantially diminished. He’s often out of position on relays. Teixeira saved his butt big time with tons of poor throws. And errors are often subjective with the home field scorer. Would Jeter have any gold gloves had he played his career in KC or San Diego (legit fences) and hit 8 HR a year? No.

  25. billybill - Nov 10, 2009 at 7:24 PM

    Jeter wins some of his awards just because of his stardom.Check this year’s Hank Aaron.He deserves the GG though.There just isn’t a better choice.Where are the great defensive shortstops who play a full season?There aren’t any!!

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