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Projecting the 2013 Gold Glove winners

Oct 25, 2013, 1:54 PM EDT

Manny Machado Reuters

Let’s go down the list:

AL, catcher: Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Salvador Perez

Mauer is still the AL’s best defensive catcher, but he played a mere 660 innings behind the plate this year, compared to 1,200 for Wieters and 1,115 for Perez. Wieters has won the last two, so he’s the favorite here. Still, I think Perez gets the nod.

AL, first base: Chris Davis, James Loney, Eric Hosmer

Even is his league-leading UZR oversells it a bit, Mike Napoli deserved a nomination over Davis or Hosmer. Loney will claim this one, and it probably won’t be particularly close. Weak field.

AL, second base: Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia

Both Pedroia and Cano have two Gold Gloves to their credit. The tie will be broken this year, and I imagine Pedroia will be the choice.

AL, third base: Manny Machado, Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre

This is easily the AL’s strongest position. Josh Donaldson was probably the best defender at any position not to get a nomination, and Matt Dominguez is no slouch in Houston. It will be interesting to see if the voters make the right choice with Machado. I think they will, but Beltre was the Platinum Glove choice the previous two years, marking him as the league’s overall best defender.

AL, shortstop: Yunel Escobar, Alcides Escobar, J.J. Hardy

Alcides Escobar’s defensive numbers finally match his rep this year, and he’s probably the best choice. Still, it’s hardly a slam dunk. My guess is that Hardy gets his second Gold Glove in a row.

AL, left field: Yoenis Cespedes, Andy Dirks, Alex Gordon

Gordon has won both years since the Gold Gloves separated out the outfield positions (though Brett Gardner deserved it in 2011). He’s the likely choice again, and I don’t see any better options. He played 500 more innings in left than either of the other nominees here.

AL, center field: Adam Jones, Lorenzo Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury

The numbers say Cain, but he played just 760 innings in center and he was shifted to right when both he and Jarrod Dyson were in the lineup at the same time. That makes him kind of a tough sell. Jones is a terribly weak nomination; Mike Trout, Gardner, Colby Rasmus, Michael Bourn, Coco Crisp and Austin Jackson are all better defenders. I guess Ellsbury is the choice of this trio, but really, Cain is the best of the bunch.

AL, right field: Nick Markakis, Josh Reddick, Shane Victorino

Markakis too? Did the Orioles grease some palms? Anyway, Victorino is the most obvious winner at any AL position.

AL, pitcher: Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Doug Fister

Buehrle has won four Gold Gloves in a row, including last year in the National League. Still, Fister deserves to win this award and I think he’ll get it.

NL, catcher: A.J. Ellis, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina

Martin was the last catcher to beat out Molina, doing so in 2007. It’s a given that Molina will keep the crown for a sixth straight year, and he deserves it, but Martin was really good, too.

NL, first base: Paul Goldschmidt, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo

The last two NL Gold Glove winners (Joey Votto in 2011, Adam LaRoche in 2012) weren’t even nominated. Gonzalez has the rep and will claim the award. Rizzo’s turn could come next year.

NL, second base: Darwin Barney, Mark Ellis, Brandon Phillips

Phillips won two in a row before Barney overtook him last year. The difference between 2012 and 2013 was that Barney was competent offensively last year. Since he wasn’t this year, the award is more likely to go back to Phillips.

NL, third base: Nolan Arenado, Juan Uribe, David Wright

How about a trade? The AL gets both Gold Glove third basemen and the NL gets both for center field. Uribe and Arenado both actually had pretty exceptional numbers. Personally I buy Uribe’s a bit more. Still, my guess is that Wright wins on name recognition. After all, Uribe and Arenado could split the analytical component of the vote.

NL, shortstop: Ian Desmond, Andrelton Simmons, Troy Tulowitzki

Andrelton.

NL, left field: Carlos Gonzalez, Starling Marte, Eric Young Jr.

Gonzalez’s arm would have earned him the award if he had been able to play in the second half. Marte, though, was the better choice regardless, and since he did play an extra couple of hundred innings, I think he’ll be the pick.

NL, center field: Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen, Denard Span

McCutchen can have the MVP, but Gomez is far more deserving of the Gold Glove. Of course, that was true last year, too, and McCutchen was still the choice. I’m not sure the analytics component of the vote will sway that. I’m guessing McCutchen.

Also, Juan Lagares deserved a nomination here. He played more innings in center than Young did in left or Jason Heyward did in right.

NL, right field: Jay Bruce, Jason Heyward, Gerardo Parra

Heyward won last year, but he was limited to 104 games this year and started just 76 in right field. He is great, but so is Parra and Parra was out there for an extra 350 innings. Still, I imagine Heyward will be the selection.

NL, pitcher: Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright

No Mike Leake? Anyway, Wainwright was the only pitcher in either league to be involved in six double plays, and he didn’t commit a single error. Botched World Series popup not withstanding, he should be the pick. Greinke can settle for the Silver Slugger.

  1. spudchukar - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Well done Matt, a few quibbles, but not worth mentioning. However, I will still take Jones over Rasmus in CF.

    • Paul White - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      Why is that, exactly? Jones led the league in innings in CF, by a wide margin (200+) over the next closest, which was Ellsbury. So he gets the durability nod, clearly. But do you know how many more batted balls Jones turned into outs in those 200+ added innings?

      5

      THAT’S how bad Jones’ range has become, and it’s how good Ellsbury’s is. As for Rasmus, yeah he has far better range than Jones, too. In fact, of the top 30 players in CF innings in the American League, Jones tracked down the fewest balls per 9 innings played.

      • spudchukar - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Because I watched just about every ball Rasmus misplayed in his years in St. Louis. It isn’t just about range.

      • Paul White - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        Correct, it’s not. And Jones is more sure-handed and has the better arm than Rasmus. At least that’s what the numbers how for this season. But the gap in range is SO large, that Rasmus still grades out as a better overall defender than Jones. I wouldn’t give Rasmus the award. Probably wouldn’t be in my top-3. But Jones wouldn’t be in my top-10. The guy is just lead-footed out there at this point in his career.

      • spudchukar - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        When you constantly throw to the wrong base, shy away from the wall, fail to take charge in CF, and bone-headed decisions is the norm rather than the exception you fall out of the top 10.

    • moogro - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      Flabby, silly award. Reboot.

  2. crackersnap - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    “Jones is a terribly weak nomination.”

    That doesn’t stop him from being the defending GG title holder in CF.

    Ridiculously silly award. Always has been. But a hell of a lot of people love to hand out trophies and celebrate participation. Project Self Esteem.

  3. edgarallan926 - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Orioles grease some palms?? They only had 54 errors on the year and set the MLB record with 119 errorless games. Can’t do that without some individual excellence in the field.

    • Paul White - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      Sure you can. Put nine terribly slow guys on the field, who can’t reach enough balls to fumble, and their error rate will be remarkably low. Not saying that’s the case with all of the Orioles, who have some great defenders. But it’s absolutely the case with Jones, and Markakis, too.

      • Panda Claus - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        Adam Jones isn’t even close to slow. Markakis has lost a step, but even then 0 errors is still pretty good.

        I wouldn’t have a problem if neither of those guys won (Jones key mistakes, Markakis’ reduced range), but they deserve the consideration they received.

      • Paul White - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        They each, respectively, had the worst range of all defenders at their positions this year. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact based on the number of balls they tracked down compared to their peers. Maybe neither of them is “slow” in terms of raw, 40-yard dash speed. But neither of them is particularly good at chasing down fly balls anymore. That’s simply not disputable..lots and lots of people keep track of these things and publish them.

      • randomdigits - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:38 PM

        Paul, there are some issues with how OPACY rates in center and right field. If you look at the last few years both Jones and Markakis rate substantially higher on the road then they do at home.

        That is not to say that I think Nick deserved a nomination or that Jones should win it but there is something going on there.

    • Panda Claus - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      Thank you. Sometimes the obvious does need to be pointed out.

    • bfunk1978 - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      The Cardinals were tied with Arizona for the fewest errors in the NL and yet you’d never accuse them of being good defensively.

    • rlivi - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      Doesn’t really make up for Jones and Markakis being nominated

      • edgarallan926 - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:59 PM

        I think Jones nomination happens only because he is the incumbent and Markakis based on 0 errors in 319 chances so I agree there

  4. psuorioles - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    I’m an O’s fan and obviously bias, but you’re basically saying Jones, Markakis and Davis didn’t deserve to be nominated. Being a baseball writer, I’m sure you know the O’s committed the least amount of errors by any team in MLB history, so to discredit them is silly. With that said, I don’t think they should all win and IMO Machado is the only clear winner of the O’s nominated…

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Number of errors committed is not a meaningful defensive stat.

      • edgarallan926 - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        So what you’re saying is that number of errors committed has zero correlation to a team’s overall success? That would be the definition of meaningless and hmm everyone wants to bring up advanced defensive metrics so I’ll bring up some numbers too. The correlation coefficient for W’s vs E’s in MLB this year is -.44 which indicates a moderate linear relationship between W’s and E’s.

        Top 10 defensive teams averaged 86.2 wins and 72.8 errors and the bottom 10 averaged 75.4 wins and 111.2 errors.

        I’ll take my team playing good defense all year long with “slow” players and odds are, there’s a better shot of them showing up in October.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        Correlation does not imply Causation.

        I will note that Arizona made the 5th least # of errors in 2013 and ended up with 81 wins. Baltimore had the best overall defense in terms of # Errors. yet they only managed 4th place in the AL East, with 85 wins.

        But for me the best example has to be Pittsburgh: They committed over 106 errors and managed 94 wins. This is one of your “Bottom 10 Teams”, they came in at 22nd. Yet Pittsburgh is credited with having great defense. It turns out they saved 70 runs on defense this year for #3 in all of MLB.

        Clearly # of Errors is not the be-all end-all of Team Defense.

        And considering Arizona was #2 at 88 runs saved, clearly defense alone isn’t enough to win games by themselves. They help. But you still need to score more runs than the other team.

        So yeah. # of Errors is still a meaningless defensive stat.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        Oh and the Dodgers committed 109 errors and still won 92 games… Another “Bottom 10 Team” in terms of # Errors.

      • Panda Claus - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:20 PM

        Using that logic you could conclude HRs allowed is not a meaningful pitching statistic.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:49 PM

        The raw number isn’t. Because starters and relievers pitch different total numbers of innings RPs will, on average, allow less homeruns than SPs. Instead we use Homeruns per 9 innings. Also the pitcher has a measure of control in allowing HR. With errors you are at the mercy of the official game scorer. If the point is to have as few errors as possible then by all means don’t try to reach those difficult grounders and tough line drives. It might bounce or deflect and you’ll get charged with an error. Better to let the ball go by and ha ve it scored as a single or double.

  5. DJ MC - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    The reason Markakis and Jones keep getting nominated is because they have the dreaded combination of good team and defensive “reputation”.

    Markakis was a legitimately great rightfielder at one time, but as he ages his defensive ability is declining, though not as steadily as his hitting.

    Jones…God, I don’t even know. Watching him on a daily basis is exciting in a way, because you honestly don’t know when he’s going to just outright drop a ball. He’s not quite the outfield version of Derek Jeter, but he gets the same acclaim for “highlight” catches while his day-to-day defense is much more erratic.

  6. calicokiller49 - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    to not put gyorko in the 2nd base talkd is ridiculous. cant venable get some love, I know you seen all those catches he made. he might not be gold glov, but gyorko had the fewest errors and he hit .

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      What exactly does hitting have to do with the Gold Glove?

      • randomdigits - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:40 PM

        Why don’t you ask Pedro Florimón?

  7. Tarkus - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    I still like Rafael Palmeiro for the AL 1B Gold Glove.

    • crackersnap - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      I fear granting you a well-deserved thumbs up for the sarcasm. There is so much pro-Orioles folly on these topics today that there is actually a small possibility what you are meaning is that you support the 1B GG award that Palmeiro actually did receive.

      With so many of these other comments, such a sentiment is no longer out of place.

    • chinahand11 - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Now that’s funny. Good ol’ Rafael crossed my mind because I wondered how many votes Derek Jeter got from his … uh … admirers.

  8. Joe - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    This to me highlights the underreported component to Boston’s improvement this year – defense. Victorino was outstanding. Ellsbury didn’t miss half the season. Pedroia’s always great. Napoli wasn’t a huge decline from Gonzalez. And not in the GG discussion, Stephen Drew is light years better than Mike Aviles. Pretty much every position was as good or better than last year, and I think the pitching results reflect that.

  9. jrocknstuff - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Gold Glove is such a bad award. Based on the amount of Orioles nominated and the offensive numbers they put up you would think they’d have to have had the worst pitching staff in the history of baseball not to have made the playoffs!

    • dlgdc - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      Yep, the 2013 O’s…great defense, very good hitting, pathetic pitching = 85 wins and no playoffs.

  10. uwsptke - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Carlos Gomez finally hit well enough that he should get this award. He’s a human highlight reel. McCutch is a solid defender, but he’s no Go-Go.

    • magicrat13 - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      why do people keep bringing up how well someone hit when talking about gold gloves?….one has zero to do with the other….

      • Joe - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        Are you not aware of the longstanding history of giving the Gold Glove to good hitters? People bring up the bats because it is apparent that GG voters value hitting. This isn’t about determining who the best fielder is, it’s about guessing who the voters will select.

        But I thought there was an analytical component to the selection process this year, so maybe that will mitigate traditional voter biases.

      • bougin89 - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        “why do people keep bringing up how well someone hit when talking about gold gloves?….one has zero to do with the other….”

        Is that you Derek Jeter?

      • misterj167 - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        I agree with Joe: for some reason they always consider hitting when it comes to this award. Tulowitzki may win over Andrelton Simmons despite the fact that not only has the kid been the best in the league defensively since he came up, he’s on a pace to be the best defensive shortstop in baseball history.

        Also, why Freddie Freeman isn’t even nominated is a bit of a surprise…

  11. paperlions - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    When was Mauer ever the best defensive catcher in the AL? If he was at one point many years ago, those skills are long long gone. Wieters is the best defensive catcher in the AL every year and has been for a while.

    Realizing that the Fielding Bible Awards are not the final word in fielding, Maurer doesn’t even make the top 10 defensive catchers the last few years.

  12. thebadguyswon - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    I’m a Mets fan, but Arenado is the best defensive 3b I’ve seen in years.

  13. nittanybluehen - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    I dont think the Orioles greased palms, I just think voters reacted favorably to the fact that they set the record for fewest team errors this season and nominate their guys. Machado Wieters and Hardy are all deserving. Davis, Markakis and Jones don’t.

  14. sdemp - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    If Gomez doesn’t win NL gold glove (platinum defender) all credibility for those who vote is lost.

    • bougin89 - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      They would definitely lose whatever credibility they have, if they still have any left.

      • ptfu - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        Yeah, that ship has long since sailed. Credibility vanished far over the horizon.

  15. ptfu - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    “AL, pitcher…Fister deserves to win this award and I think he’ll get it.”

    Agreed, because every Dog has his day :-)

  16. 2dmo4 - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Mwahahaahaaa, Dirks!?!?!? No way he should be listed in the top 5-10 left fielders for a gold glove, let alone top 3. This is coming from a die-hard Tiger fan.

  17. watermelon1 - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Completely agree that jones and markakis should not even be nominated.

    But I think Davis is actually underrated defensively because of his homeruns.

  18. bmore55 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    The orioles had one of the best defenses in MLB history they more than deserve these nominations!!!

  19. whodeybacker - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Heyward for NL Right Field??! He played 76 games there. Thats a joke. Both Bruce a Parra should get it over him. Nod to Bruce. Whats are the stats on outfield assists and # of errors for these TWO?

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