National League Gold Glove Winners

Bill’s NL Gold Glove Predictions

The National League was actually harder to chose than the other league because there were not as many incumbents who were deemed so much better than their counterparts this year. (Note: these awards were given out to the best player at each single position, including the three outfield positions which were divided into players who played most of their games at a certain spot.)

First Base

Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres

Gonzalez played in every game this season except for one and only committed six errors in 1442 chances. He is tied for the league lead in fielding percentage and was involved in the second most double plays. He has a good range factor and a decent zone rating while being right up there in assists and putouts. He wins this award in a close race with many others in the running, but he is just slightly better then the others.

Others who were considered: Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros and Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Second Base

Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

Even though Utley is third in fielding percentage, .006 behind the leader, he played in 19 more games than Brandon Phillips, who has the best fielding percentage. He had more total chances by far than any other second baseman (110 more than Phillips who came in second). Perhaps because of this he was first in putouts and assists and second in double plays, just two behind the leader. He also has the best range factor and zone rating amount those eligible for the award.

Others who were considered: Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds and Freddy Sanchez of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Third Base

Troy Glaus, St. Louis Cardinals

Glaus did by no means run away with this award, but the facts that he has a better fielding percentage, range factor and one of the best zone ratings among those at this position earned him the award. He had seven errors in 385 chances while helping to turn 27 double plays. His competition was very close though, although he is .008 in front of everyone else in fielding percentage.

Others who were considered: Kevin Kouzmanoff of the San Diego Padres and Pedro Feliz of the Philadelphia Phillies. (Even though Feliz only started 106 games, he was given consideration because of the good percentages he and because of his league leading zone rating. The New York Mets’ David Wright would have been next on the list.)

Shortstop

Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies

Rollins had another good season at shortstop, putting up the best fielding percentage in the league by .005 and only committing seven errors in 593 chances. He is second in putouts and just barely second (by .001) in zone rating while coming in third in range factor. While he didn’t play in as many games as some of the other eligible players (132), there was not a huge discrepancy.

Others who were considered: Miguel Tejada of the Houston Astros and Cesar Izturis of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Left Field

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

Not committing an error all season long in 284 chances will get you the gold glove. He was also second in assists and first in range factor. While he didn’t start any double plays, he converted more putouts than anyone else in the league. This was one of the fairly easy selections as the person who is second in fielding percentage, Carlos Lee at .995, played in 39 fewer games than Braun.

Others who were considered: Pat Burrell of the Philadelphia Phillies and Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies.

Center Field

Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh Pirates

At least one good thing will come from another Pirates’ losing season with McLouth grabbing this award. McLouth played in the second most innings of any center fielder while boasting the best fielding percentage at .997. The only person to match that was Mike Cameron who played in 30 fewer games. McLouth also had five assists and started one double play with 380 putouts. His range factor is one of the best in the game and flying under the radar for the entire season probably helps him.

Others who were considered: Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies and Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets.

Right Field

Hunter Pence, Houston Astros

Pence committed just one error all season long in 156 games and 357 chances. He had an incredible 16 assists and 340 putouts to lead the league in both categories. While he is second in the league in fielding percentage at .997, the leader (Andre Ethier) only started 102 games in right field. Pence also has a good range factor for his position and a decent zone rating.

Others who were considered: Jeff Francoeur of the Atlanta Braves and Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pitcher

Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

While there were a number of pitchers with a perfect fielding percentage and perfect zone rating, Cain had the most total chances and is tied for the most double plays of these pitchers. He also had 24 assists and 14 putouts. While this race is hard to call, pitchers do show their skill when they have to turn a double play so that helps Cain win the award.

Others who were considered: Bronson Arroyo of the Cincinnati Reds and Kyle Lohse of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Catcher

Bengie Molina, San Francisco Giants

While Chris Snyder did not commit an error at this position, he only played in 112 games, which hurts his chances. Molina played in 136 while throwing out a better percentage of base runners (.346 to .310) than Snyder. He also carries a perfect zone rating and was part of nine double plays which is second in the league.

Others who were considered: Geovany Soto of the Chicago Cubs and Jason Kendall of the Milwaukee Brewers.

7 Comments

  1. Peter

    October 29, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Wow, LF Ryan Braun went from detriment at 3B to gold glove caliber in LF?

    Here’s a question for you, if Philly LF Pat Burrell is second in the NL for a possible gold glove, why does Charlie Manual put in Bruntlett in the late innings as a defensive replacement?

  2. Josh

    October 29, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I’d say because Bruntlett probably covers more ground than Burrell. But that’s just a guess.

  3. Ray

    November 4, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Chase Utley wished he had Brandon Phillip’s range. What a bunch of crap. Brandon Phillips gets no respect. This whole gold glove business is rigged.

  4. Cat Stoker

    March 12, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Way too much reliance on fielding percentage and not nearly enough on range factor and other sophisticated measures.

    Ryan Braun: No way. Pat Burrell: Shouldn’t even be mentioned in a conversation about Gold Gloves.

    Ray … have you studied video of all the games played in ’08 by Phillips and Utley? I’m assuming not. I’m going to guess you watched Utley play, what, 10 games this year? You can’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions from that.

    Range Factor is actually determined by a video review of every inning of every game played during the season. The numbers don’t lie: Utley covers more ground than Phillips.

    All that bitching and moaning about the process being rigged … and in the end Phillips ended up getting a Gold Glove he didn’t deserve.

  5. Cat Stoker

    March 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    D’oh!

    Sorry, Range Factor is a purely statistical measure. Ultimate Zone Rating is the one that analyzes every inning of every game to compare players defensively.

    Phillips in ’08 had a very respectable UZR of 12.5, which means for every 150 innings he played his defense was responsible for preventing 12.5 runs more than the average 2nd baseman.

    Utley’s UZR was an off-the-charts 20.3.

    A few other random National League UZRs, just for comparison: Dan Uggla (3.5), Freddy Sanchez (-.7), Rickey Weeks (-5.9), Mark DeRosa (-14.4)

  6. BillJordan

    March 13, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for the comment. Range factor should have perhaps been given more consideration. We appreciate your opinion.

    Please check out BillJordan’s last blog post..Stadium Review: Classic Park of the Lake County Captains!

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