John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™

Gold Gloves as They Should Have Been

Contrary to what some might think, I agree with most of the Gold Glove awards. However, there are a few that I take exception to. Let’s compare the Gold Glove winners to the Fielding Bible Awards voting.

American League

AL Catcher Gold Glove Winner: Joe Mauer
Should Have Been: Kurt Suzuki

The best defensive catcher in the American League is Toronto’s Jose Molina and he tied A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox with the most defensive runs saved at catcher in the AL with six, but he didn’t play enough in 2010 to qualify. In the Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL, I listed Kurt Suzuki as the best in the AL. I stand by that vote, but I have no trouble with Joe Mauer winning the award. Using our enhanced version of Runs Saved factoring in Misplays and Good Plays that we provide to Major League teams, Suzuki and Wieters each had 8 runs saved while Mauer had 5.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
Player Points
Kurt Suzuki 58
Joe Mauer 53
Matt Wieters 37

AL First Base Gold Glove Winner: Mark Teixeira
Should Have Been: Daric Barton

Mark Teixeira is an outstanding first baseman, but he did not have an outstanding year. In the last six years he has done well, saving 25 runs defensively for his teams, but we estimate that he cost the Yankees one run defensively in 2010. Fielding Bible voters liked Teixeira enough to rank him second among AL first sackers, but they really liked Daric Barton, who topped all major league first basemen saving 20 runs this past year. Barton won the Fielding Bible Award for first base and should have won the American League Gold Glove. As we’ll see later on, it takes more time for the Gold Glove voters to recognize defense. But Fielding Bible voters, who are more aware of fielding metrics, discover defensive talent earlier than Gold Glove voters.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
Player Points
Daric Barton 86
Mark Teixeira 52
Kevin Youkilis 40

AL Second Base Gold Glove Winner: Robinson Cano
Should Have Been: Orlando Hudson

With his well-known reputation and four previous Gold Gloves, I would have thought Orlando Hudson was a lock for the AL Gold Glove at second base. He also led second-sackers in baseball with 17 Runs Saved (tied with the Rays’ Sean Rodriguez). Robinson Cano had a very good defensive season saving seven runs for the Yankees, but I think there is a New York conspiracy going on here.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
Player Points
Orlando Hudson 80
Mark Ellis 64
Sean Rodriguez 58
Robinson Cano 50

AL Third Base Gold Glove Winner: Evan Longoria
Should Have Been: Evan Longoria

I imagine that the AL Gold Glove voting between Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre was close. They got this one right, selecting Evan Longoria for the second straight year. While Longoria lost a competitive vote for the Fielding Bible Award last year, he topped Ryan Zimmerman by one point in 2010. Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award – that’s real recognition of defensive excellence.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
Player Points
Evan Longoria 92
Adrian Beltre 69
Jose Lopez 31

AL Shortstop Gold Glove Winner: Derek Jeter
Should Have Been: Alexei Ramirez

The New York conspiracy: Teixiera, Cano and Derek Jeter all win Gold Gloves this year when they shouldn’t have. It’s almost like the Gold Glove voters didn’t know who to pick so they simply wrote down the name they know the best. The names Alexei Ramirez, Jack Wilson, and Elvis Andrus are not as well known as Jeter. Jeter now has five Gold Gloves and he should have none. The trio of Teixeira, Cano and Jeter cost their team a total of seven runs defensively in 2010. By comparison, the Oakland A’s trio of Daric Barton, Mark Ellis and Cliff Pennington saved 37 runs. The AL shortstop Gold Glove should have gone to Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez who saved 16 runs defensively, the best total in the league. Compare that to Jeter, who cost his team an estimated 13 runs. It comes down to who makes the plays, and it’s not Jeter.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
Player Points
Alexei Ramirez 69
Yunel Escobar 45
Jack Wilson 39
Elvis Andrus 39

AL Left Field Gold Glove Winner: Carl Crawford
Should Have Been: Crawford or Brett Gardner

This is where the Gold Glove voters are catching up to the Fielding Bible voters. We’ve been touting Carl Crawford’s left field defense for years (three Fielding Bible Awards). Now the Gold Glove voters finally recognized his defensive prowess. While Fielding Bible Award voters voted Crawford second to Yankee Brett Gardner this year, I am absolutely thrilled that Crawford has finally been recognized by Gold Glove voters as well and won his first Gold Glove.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
Player Points
Brett Gardner 96
Carl Crawford 86
Josh Hamilton 40

AL Center Field Gold Glove Winner: Franklin Gutierrez
Should Have Been: Franklin Gutierrez

Another catch-up award. Franklin Gutierrez’s Gold Glove is at least one year overdue. He already has two Fielding Bible Awards. The Mariners’ centerfielder blew away all of baseball last year with 32 Runs Saved and followed it up with 14 Runs Saved this year. While Austin Jackson had a fantastic defensive rookie year (as did Peter Bourjos in only 450 innings) and Houston’s Michael Bourn won the 2010 Fielding Bible Award, Gutierrez is still the top defensive outfielder in the American League.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
Player Points
Franklin Gutierrez 75
Austin Jackson 54
Julio Borbon 38

AL Right Field Gold Glove Winner: Ichiro Suzuki
Should Have Been: Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro. Ten consecutive Gold Gloves and three Fielding Bible Awards. Enough said.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
Player Points
Ichiro Suzuki 92
Jeff Francoeur 50
Shin-Soo Choo 32

AL Pitcher Gold Glove Winner: Mark Buehrle
Should Have Been: Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle won both fielding awards last year, and his Opening Day play probably clinched both for him again this year. While he fields the position well, he also shuts down opposing baserunners better than almost everyone else, saving an estimated 4-5 runs annually in that department alone.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
Player Points
Mark Buehrle 86
Zack Greinke 63
Trevor Cahill 52
Ricky Romero 42


Let me summarize my take on the American League Gold Glove voting. I have big problems with the awards given to the three Yankee infielders, but other than that, I have no problem with the other six. I would probably have awarded Suzuki at catcher over Mauer, but it’s close.

National League

NL Catcher Gold Glove Winner: Yadier Molina
Should Have Been: Yadier Molina

There’s no dispute here: by all accounts, Yadier Molina is the best defensive catcher in baseball. He saved 12 runs defensively for the Cardinals last year, but when we add in his pitch-blocking ability, Molina jumps the rest of the pack to 20 Runs Saved, easily the most in baseball.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
Player Points
Yadier Molina 100
Carlos Ruiz 74
Miguel Olivo 46

NL First Base Gold Glove Winner: Albert Pujols
Should Have Been: Pujols or Ike Davis

While Daric Barton dethroned Albert Pujols for the Fielding Bible Award, Pujols still finished runner-up in the voting and also captured his second Gold Glove. Rookie Ike Davis made a case for himself leading NL first baseman with 13 Runs Saved

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
Player Points
Albert Pujols 76
Ike Davis 59
Adrian Gonzalez 41

NL Second Base Gold Glove Winner: Brandon Phillips
Should Have Been: Chase Utley

Chase Utley is the Rodney Dangerfield of defense in baseball. Despite leading the National League in Runs Saved at second base and despite having the highest three-year runs saved total in all of baseball by a wide margin (60 Runs Saved compared to 33 for Mark Ellis), he still doesn’t get any respect from Gold Glove voters. But he did earn respect from Fielding Bible voters, winning his first Fielding Bible Award in 2010. Brandon Phillips led the league in Good Fielding Plays and won the Gold Glove, but the Fielding Bible voters (and the most important numbers) suggest that Utley is the better choice at second base.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
Player Points
Chase Utley 86
Brandon Phillips 62
Freddy Sanchez 13

NL Third Base Gold Glove Winner: Scott Rolen
Should Have Been: Ryan Zimmerman

This was a bit of a surprise. Scott Rolen has been a very good defender in the past and has several Gold Gloves to his credit. Fielding Bible Award voters liked him, just not as much as they liked 2010 Fielding Bible Award runner-up (and 2009 Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award winner) Ryan Zimmerman. The surprising part was that Zimmerman won both awards last year, but the Gold Glove voters forgot about him this year despite a truly superlative year defensively. Chase Headley also played very well in his return to the position this year, leading all of baseball with 21 Runs Saved. Zimmerman saved 20 runs while Rolen only saved 2. Maybe error totals played a disproportionate role for Gold Glove voters as Zimmerman had 17 to only 8 for Rolen. That’s what worked for Jeter as well, who only had 6 errors compared to 20 for Alexei Ramirez.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
Player Points
Ryan Zimmerman 91
Chase Headley 61
Scott Rolen 57

NL Shortstop Gold Glove Winner: Troy Tulowitzki
Should Have Been: Tulowitzki or Brendan Ryan

Troy Tulowitzki is an excellent choice for the National League Gold Glove at shortstop in 2010. Brendan Ryan led all MLB shortstops with 27 runs saved defensively, but Tulo’s 16 Runs Saved is not too shabby either.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
Player Points
Troy Tulowitzki 97
Brendan Ryan 81
Alex Gonzalez 36

NL Left Field Gold Glove Winner: Carlos Gonzalez
Should Have Been: (none)

Carlos Gonzalez had a breakout offensive season, but the numbers don’t see him as a Gold Glove caliber defender in 2010. He is a good defender and I think he will put up good defensive numbers in the future, but I wouldn’t have picked him for a Gold Glove this year. While several left fielders played well this season, none is a standout Gold Glove contender.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
Player Points
Jose Tabata 62
Gerardo Parra 59
Matt Holliday 49

NL Center Field Gold Glove Winner: Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino
Should Have Been: Bourn, Chris Young, and/or Angel Pagan

Michael Bourn earned every bit of his Gold Glove, also capturing the Fielding Bible Award as the best center fielder in all of baseball. Shane Victorino again played above average defense for the Phillies, but the Fielding Bible Award voters thought that Chris Young and Angel Pagan deserved consideration. Personally, I am fine with Victorino winning his third Gold Glove in 2010.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
Player Points
Michael Bourn 91
Chris Young 59
Angel Pagan 52

NL Right Field Gold Glove Winner: (none)
Should Have Been: Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce finished second only to Ichiro in the Fielding Bible Award voting, and he topped the league with 17 Runs Saved. If an NL right fielder deserved a Gold Glove, it should have been Bruce (despite his memorable playoff miscues). In addition to their contributions at the plate, Mike Stanton and Jason Heyward also had impressive rookie performances in the field; Stanton tied Bruce with 17 runs saved while Heyward had 10.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
Player Points
Jay Bruce 87
Jason Heyward 64
Jayson Werth 44

NL Pitcher Gold Glove Winner: Bronson Arroyo
Should Have Been: Bronson Arroyo

Credit the voters for the Bronson Arroyo selection, though Jake Westbrook and Jon Garland were also deserving candidates.

Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
Player Points
Bronson Arroyo 38
Jake Westbrook 34
Jon Garland 32


Summarizing the National League, like the AL, I agree with six of the selections. Regarding the other three positions, I don’t have a big problem with Carlos Gonzalez winning a Gold Glove, but Jay Bruce would have been my choice. Ryan Zimmerman and Chase Utley are better choices than Scott Rolen and Brandon Phillips. But none of these three are as bad as the three Yankee infielders winning Gold Gloves.

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Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™,

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    November 19, 2010  Tags: ,   Posted in: awards, fielding, John Dewan, Stat of the Week, stats

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