Deserving Gold Glove Winners – A.L.

Derek Jeter at the New York Yankees vs. Colora...
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Catcher: Catcher’s defense is by far the toughest to quantify, as there really isn’t a metric for it, and you pretty much have to go exclusively by stats like runners thrown out, passed balls, and dare I say, fielding percentage.

Deserving Winner: Jason Varitek

Reasoning: Highest RF/9 (range factor per game) among AL catchers by far, and tied for the highest fielding percentage with Gerald Laird.

Who I Expect to Win: Jason Varitek or Joe Mauer

Reasoning: If there’s one position that’s going to be decided by reputation, it’s going to be catcher, and they both have reputations as excellent defensive catchers, whether it’s true or not.

First Base
:

Deserving Winner: Kendry Morales

Reasoning: He has far superior range to any other AL first baseman at 4.6 range runs above average (Miguel Cabrera has the 2nd most with 1.6), and the highest UZR at 4.8.

Who I Expect to Win: Mark Teixeira

Reasoning: Despite the fact that he’s actually a below average defensive first baseman with hardly any range, everyone seems to be under the impression that he’s a wizard in the field. If I had to guess, I’d guess that it’s because of his high fielding percentage – and he really doesn’t make very many errors, so I’ve gotta give him that.

Second Base
:

Deserving Winner: Placido Polanco

Reasoning: It’s a tough call between him and Dustin Pedroia, but his above average range combined with the fact that he seldom makes errors pushes him to the top. His 11.4 UZR ranks 1st among all second baseman, and he’s above average at pretty much every aspect of fielding.

Who I Expect to Win: Dustin Pedroia

Reasoning: He’s on the Red Sox.

Third Base:

Deserving Winner: Evan Longoria

Reasoning: It really isn’t very close – it would probably be Adrian Beltre, but because of the time he’s spent on the DL this season, it needs to go to Longoria. Longoria is an excellent young defensive third baseman, who has a great arm, great range, and doesn’t make too many errors.

Who I Expect to Win: Evan Longoria

Reasoning: I actually think they’ll get this one right – He looks good from pretty much every angle, whether you’re into advanced stats, classic stats, or reputation.

Shortstop:

Deserving Winner: Elvis Andrus

Reasoning: He’s got ridiculous range, and makes some oustanding plays over there in Texas. 10.1 UZR, too. The next Omar, perhaps?

Who I Expect to Win: Derek Jeter

Reasoning: Do I really have to explain it? He’s actually been above average defensively this year, so when it does happen it won’t be as much of a travesty as it would have been, say, last season, but he still isn’t the most deserving candidate.

Left Field
:

Deserving Winner: David Dejesus

Reasoning: He has plus range, a great arm, and he hasn’t made an error all year. He’s a great outfielder, pretty much any way you look at it.

Who I Expect to Win: David Dejesus or Carl Crawford

Reasoning: I’m not sure which way the voters will go on this one, but unless they choose Johnny Damon or Jason Bay, they really can’t go wrong. Even Juan Rivera would be an alright choice.

Center Field:

Deserving Winner: Franklin Gutierrez

Reasoning: He’s having one of the best defensive seasons of all time – his range is absolutely off the charts, at 27.6 runs above average, and his UZR is absolutely jaw-dropping at 27.1. For some perspective, BJ Upton comes in behind him at 10.5.

Who I Expect to Win: Someone Else

Reasoning: It doesn’t matter who they choose – unless it’s Gutierrez, they’ve made a huge mistake. I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but no one is even close to as deserving as Franklin Gutierrez.

Right Field:

Deserving Winner: Nelson Cruz

Reasoning: He sure has some good range for a big guy. He’s just another good all-around defensive outfielder – good range, good arm, and he doesn’t make a lot of errors. His 13.0 UZR is also first among AL right fielders.

Pitcher: Just like catcher, this one is really hard to quantify, so I’ll have to pretty much base it on fielding percentage and RF/9.

Deserving Winner: Mark Buehrle

Reasoning: Best RF/9 among AL pitchers, and only 1 error on the year.

Who I Expect to Win: Mark Buehrle

Reasoning: I’m pretty sure he’s also got a reputation as a great defensive player, so there you go.

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3 Comments

  1. Drew

    October 9, 2009 at 10:38 am

    As someone who watches the Angels play every day, I was pleasantly surprised to see Kendry Morales on your list. Most of the attention he’s received has been for his break-thru offensive year, while he has quietly but dramatically improved his defense. I’m not sure he’s a Gold-Glover… yet, but he made huge strides defensively this year.

    Two Angels who absolutely belong on the list are Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins. Aybar’s playing better shortstop than Orlando Cabrera did here the year he won the GG, and Figgins has transformed from a “super-utility” to one of the most dependable corner infielders in the game. He’s worked hard to improve his defense, and deserves serious consideration for the award.

  2. Griffin Cooper

    October 9, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Figgins has been great defensively, and he’s right up there, but just not quite as high up as Longoria. Ditto for Aybar. Both good defensive years, but neither deserve the award.
    .-= Griffin Cooper´s last blog ..2009 Review: Mark Lowe =-.

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