I came across an interesting interview by our friends at Baseball Prospectus with Nate McLouth of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was conducted by David Laurila
McLouth recently became the first Pirates center fielder to win a Gold Glove since Andy Van Slyke.
Here is the first part of the interview. Check out the complete interview at BP.
David Laurila: You won a Gold Glove last year. What does that mean to you?
Nate McLouth: It means a lot. Defense hadn’t been one of my strong suits. It was definitely lagging behind my offense, so I worked real hard at it, and I still work real hard at it, so it was definitely rewarding to get it last year.
DL: An article in The Fielding Bible opines that you didn’t merit a Gold Glove. What are your thoughts on that?
NM: Well, you see, here is what I can tell you about that. I have seen those stats, and I’ll tell you why I think it’s garbage. There are a couple of reasons. I would rather have big-league managers and coaches who see me play and know the game of baseball, vote me as a Gold Glove winner, than people who attended MIT or Stanford, and think that you can quantify defense with numbers. There are so many variables to take into account, like the depth at which you play, the park that you play in, the surface–grass is different in different places. There is also the view, the background, and things like that. So that stuff means little or nothing to me. I’d much rather have big-league managers and coaches voting for something like that.
It seems like McLouth took offense to the criticism and it reminded me a little of the heated debate when David Wright won his first Gold Glove.
In recent years, every time I got into a baseball debate with someone, I’d get bombarded with all of these new stats and measuring sticks which of course was all Greek to me,
I sometimes felt like I was at a gunfight with just a switch blade. I decided to further my baseball education this off season and I’ve read some of the standard bearers in the world of baseball sabermetrics. The Fielding Bible was one such book and I actually intend to review it after I finish reading it.
For those of you are interested in learning a little more, you can get a free download of the The Emerald Guide To Baseball, which is also a good first step.
I actually have a couple of forum posts looking for a blogger who might be interested in doing a weekly column on the Mets from a sabermetric point of view for this site.
Hey, baseball has evolved so much in the last decade. Most of the newer breed of GM’s rely more and more on statistical analysis rather than just scouting reports alone. It’s a new world out there, and we all have to learn how to live in it. I’ll always be grounded in my traditional ways of looking at baseball, but I have to admit that a lot of what I’m learning is very compelling.