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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. Carter - Nov 10, 2009 at 7:56 PM

    “Jeter’s eye-popping defensive work wasn’t accidental. He committed eight errors in 554 chances — the league’s eight other shortstops with 500-plus chances averaged 17 errors” (from mlb.com)
    Obviously he was the best in the AL this year so deal with it. Facts are facts. He may be getting older but he is still on his game and performing very well and I think he deserves this compared to any other AL shortstop.

  2. boydman - Nov 10, 2009 at 8:02 PM

    Jeter isn’t even the best shortshop on his own team (that would be Alex Cheater), much less the AL. I will not deny that he is clutch, and comes through at the plate when needed, but clutch hitting does not a Gold Glove make.

  3. VoiceOReason - Nov 10, 2009 at 8:19 PM

    When you’ve got the range of a concrete pylon you don’t get to many balls and thus you don’t record many errors either. Jeter was DEAD LAST in range factor amoung AL SS’s. If you don’t believe in such high brow stats as range factor, he was FOURTH FROM THE BOTTOM in assists, which means he didn’t get to many balls to either make the play or make an error. Even Yuniesky Betancourt had better wheels than Jeter. :)

  4. Cru11 - Nov 11, 2009 at 12:38 AM

    Tex doesnt have as much range as Pujols or Lee?? BAHAHA! Tex is an absolute surpreme defender. I (and the rest of America) saw him smother about 40 hard ground balls to his right this postseason.
    On a a different note: How did Franklin Gutierrez get snubbed? Another supreme defender in a premier defensive position.

  5. jakc - Nov 11, 2009 at 2:51 AM

    range (the balls you get to) is a lot more important than fielding percentage. the truth is with the lax scoring on errors, fp doesn’t really mean much

  6. JeffH - Nov 11, 2009 at 7:39 AM

    With the way offense is important in the gold glove awards, maybe the silver slugger awards should be based on defense.
    3B gold glove should have gone to Brandon Inge.

  7. jeremy griffin - Nov 11, 2009 at 8:09 AM

    Inge sucks, Longo deserves it

  8. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Nov 11, 2009 at 8:21 AM

    “Jeter’s eye-popping defensive work wasn’t accidental. He committed eight errors in 554 chances — the league’s eight other shortstops with 500-plus chances averaged 17 errors” (from mlb.com)
    Obviously he was the best in the AL this year so deal with it. Facts are facts. He may be getting older but he is still on his game and performing very well and I think he deserves this compared to any other AL shortstop.

    Fielding % is a horrible statistic to use when determining who’s a better fielder than another. Who’s the better SS, Player A who decides he isn’t going to move at all to try and field a ball, but fields every ball hit directly at him (fielding percent of 100), or Player B, has a 20′ range to his right and left but occassionally makes bad throws so he has a few errors?
    Jeter was far better than he usually was defensively this year, but he still didn’t deserve the GG.

  9. KingVegeta - Nov 11, 2009 at 9:06 AM

    A lot of you are over looking the fact that Errors are a subjective call. It varies from field to field , with who the official scorer is. We have all seen seen a player have a ball tip his glove out at the farthest extent of his range be given an error. Some scorers have the mindset that if you can get glove on it you should catch it. Which is not always the case. We have even seen players be given errors because a 1st baseman couldn’t field a 1 hopper properly. Because it’s up to the scorers personal beliefs(on range and glovework) and biases, errors are one of those things that is hard to clearly say who is or isn’t the best based off errors made during the season

  10. Mike - Nov 11, 2009 at 11:17 AM

    All the arguments against Jeter are correct…he has NO range and is below average
    Teixeira is excellent, but consciously tries to make himself look better by throwing his glove over his head like a hockey goalie so that you know what a great play he just made. Hot dog
    Adam Jones is very good, Gutierrez better, Carlos Gomez is the best but not enough playing time to justify a Gold Glove. Torii Hunter’s time has passed, Ichiro’s also

  11. DiamondDuq - Nov 11, 2009 at 12:20 PM

    “overrated defensively”? The guy had the highest fielding percentage among AL Shortstops and second highest to Jimmy Rollins in all of MLB who played in at least 1/2 their team’s games!!! How else do you measure how good a player is defensively?

  12. austin - Nov 11, 2009 at 1:51 PM

    i dont see how some people in the comments think torii doesnt deserve it. as someone who watched almost every angel game this year, its amazing to watch him in center field. he seems to know exactly where a ball is going every single time its hit. his lone error in the last 2 years was a throwing error that figgins should have caught (i believe).
    as far as SS is concerned, i think this will be jeters last. the next few years will be between elvis andrus and erik aybar.

  13. Olddtimer - Dec 7, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    Everyone mentioned has, at least some, claim to the GG. I would like to add my disappointment in the GG for American League pitcher. Buerle is a great competitor and gifted pitcher, from both a pitching and defensive standpoint. However, Greinke is one of the most outstanding defensive pitchers to play in the AL for many years. Watching him play, year in and year out, even in those really bad years with the Royals, he fielded his position with great skill and a distinctive field sense. He should have won. I have watched both Buerle and Greinke for many years and there is no comparison, Greinke is better. I fear he was ignored over the many discussions about his Cy Young credentials.

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