Morning Grind: Since When Does Offense Determine Gold Gloves?

An article by posted on October 31, 2012

When did the Gold Glove become an offensive award? On Tuesday, MLB announced the 2012 Gold Glove winners. Here are the winners:

There are some obvious choices in there, like Beltre, Buehrle, Molina, Reddick, Heyward, and Cano. Some choices can be argued back and forth, like Teixeira, Gordon, LaRoche and Wieters. Then there are some downright absurd choices. All due to respect to Adam Jones, how does this award not go to Mike Trout? Aside from the fact that Mike Trout is the best center fielder in the universe, Jones wasn’t even that good defensively this season. This is a glaring error, but it’ll all be forgotten when Trout takes home his MVP award.

Ninth-worst in FLD%, third worst in UZR/150, dead last in DRS, first in voter’s hearts.

The other glaring mistake on this list is Carlos Gonzalez. He’s a miserable defensive player. I don’t know how else to put it. He has zero range and an average-at-best throwing arm. Martin Prado should sue for defamation of character for being considered inferior than Carlos Gonzalez. This is clearly a case of offensive numbers winning a Gold Glove Award, and it’s a real shame. How Gonzalez was even a finalist is baffling me.

Both awards for shortstops were given to the wrong players. I’m not as up in arms about the American League, as Hardy is certainly a good defensive player, but Rollins stinks now Brandon Crawford of the Giants and Zack Cozart of the Reds both impressed me far more than Rollins with the glove. In the Junior Circuit, Brendan Ryan was a living, breathing clinic on how to play shortstop. Unfortunately for him, he hit .194/.277/.278, so apparently he’s unable to win a defensive award. Same with Crawford and Cozart. Since Rollins hit 23 home runs and scored over 100 runs, he must be the best defensive shortstop in the league, too, right? It’s just silly. Additionally, Andrew McCutchen MVP-caliber offense clearly won him some points. He’s never been a very good defender. He’s fast, sure, but he just doesn’t make the plays. Watch Michael Bourn play centerfield and you’ll see a chasm-sized difference in the way Bourn uses his speed and the way McCutchen doesn’t use his.

Wright deserved this award more than he deserved the two he actually won!

In an odd case I can’t really blame on the bat, Chase Headley won the award over David Wright. I like Headley a lot and I’ve been a big proponent over his overall solid game. But Wright had a monster defensive year. I’m not much for defensive statistics, but Wright led all NL third basemen in UZR/150 by a significant margin and led in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) by a very wide margin. Despite how unreliable defensive metrics are, when you’re that much better than the next guy in both those categories, there’s something to be said about the defensive season Wright put up. He also tied for the second-fewest errors in the league and was .003 points behind the leader in fielding percentage. He deserved this award more than he deserved the two he actually won!  I’m also certain Aramis Ramirez is a better third baseman than Headley.

Thankfully, the voters got it right with Darwin Barney. They could have easily given it to Brandon Phillips based on reputation, but Barney was stellar this year and deserved it. Oddly enough, Phillips hit better, which bucked the trend.

Here are my picks for the Gold Glove awards:

*Salvador Perez of the Royals is very, very good, but lost significant time due to injury. Watch out for him.

**A good argument can be made for Adrian Gonzalez, but he spent almost a quarter of the season in the NL.

Who are yours?

About the Author ()

Born in Queens and raised in the Bronx, Xtreem grew up in a family of Mets fans with a father who worked for the New York Parks Department and had a box at Shea. Thus, it begun. With a degree in Broadcast Journalism and bylines in publications from the New Haven Register to the Key West Citizen, Xtreem has experience in a variety of formats and topics. He is thrilled to be given the chance to lend his name to MMO.

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