Cincinnati Reds: Ranking the 6 Gold Glove Finalists' Chances
The Cincinnati Reds have six finalists for Gold Glove Awards. That total leads all National League teams.
As a team, the Reds had just 89 errors in 6,050 total chances, good for a .985 fielding percentage. That gave them the second fewest errors and second-best fielding percentage in the National League.
Standouts from the Reds defensive efforts are their six finalists: Bronson Arroyo, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce.
This list will highlight the achievements of each of these players and rank their chances from one to six.
Quick note: I will use the stat Rtot in every slide and Rdrs on the pitcher's slide.
Rtot is a composite stat which, according to Baseball-Reference.com, is a measure of the number of runs above or below average a player was worth based on the number of plays made.
Rdrs measures the exact same thing, it's just calculated by a different statistics provider.
Now, here's what to expect when the Gold Glove Awards are announced tonight.
6. Drew Stubbs
Finalists: Stubbs, Andrew McCutchen and Michael Bourn
Drew Stubbs may have had a rough year at the plate in 2012, but as a fielder he was one of the best in all of Major League Baseball.
Stubbs has incredible speed and great reaction time in the outfield. Combine that with his ability to read batted balls as good as anyone in baseball and it's easy to see why Stubbs is a finalist for this year's NL Gold Glove Award for center fielders.
In 2012, Stubbs played the fifth most games (135) of any National League center fielder.
In those 135 games, Stubbs staked out to a .985 fielding percentage with a RF/9 of 2.25 and a RF/G of 2.05.
While these are all decent numbers, Stubbs' fielding percentage this year was substantially lower than his .989 mark and his .992 mark from last season.
Additionally, Stubbs' fielding percentage is lower than the league average for center fielders (.987) and his RF/G is lower than the league average of 2.09.
Stubbs ranks nowhere in the Top Five of any of the major fielding statistics and his chances of beating Bourn are very low.
One last note: Bourn posted a monstrous Rtot value of 38. Stubbs and McCutchen posted values of -1 and 13 respectively.
Prediction: Michael Bourn
5. Bronson Arroyo
Finalists: Clayton Kershaw, Mark Buehrle and Arroyo
Arroyo has an outside shot at winning his second Gold Glove Award, the first coming in 2010.
Among qualified pitchers, Arroyo finished tied for first with a perfect fielding percentage. This is a wonderful start for his Gold Glove campaign, but he's bested by too many other pitchers in other categories.
Arroyo tied for 12th in the NL in total chances (47), assists (31) and RF (2.09).
Similarly, among these three finalists, Arroyo ranks last in total chances, assists, range factor, double plays turned and Rdrs.
Although Arroyo is an outstanding fielder who routinely makes great plays, he has his work cut out for him if he is going to beat any of those three pitchers.
Prediction: Mark Buehrle
4. Jay Bruce
Finalists: Bruce, Andre Ethier, Jason Heyward
By his own measure, Jay Bruce didn't have a very great season defensively.
Bruce finished 2012 with a .981 fielding percentage, eight outfield assists, an RF/9 of 2.04 and an RF/G of 1.98. These values are all substantially lower than his career numbers. He did, however, raise his Rtot value from -11 to eight.
Even though Bruce had a down year, he still made the cut as a Gold Glove Award finalist; however, he will not win the award.
He has a good chance to beat out Andre Ethier, who he leads in assists, RF/9, RF/G and Rtot.
Heyward finished 2012 with a .988 fielding percentage, an RF/9 of 2.00, RF/G of 2.00, an Rtot of -2 and 11 outfield assists.
The race between these two will be very close with Bruce edging him in Rtot and Rf/9; however, Heyward's commanding lead in fielding percentage and assists should be enough to seal it for him.
Prediction: Jason Heyward
3. Brandon Phillips
Finalists: Phillips, Aaron Hill and Darwin Barney
Brandon Phillips is arguably the best fielding second baseman in the National League. He's flashy, but he rarely misses a routine play.
As much as fans may not want to admit it, the flashy plays, and even offensive production, play a role in the selection of Gold Glove winners.
Sticking strictly to defensive analysis though, Phillips does have a good chance at winning his third straight NL Gold Glove Award and fourth overall.
In 2012, Phillips finished the season with a .992 fielding percentage, a 4.55 RF/9, a 4.33 RF/G and an Rtot of four.
Phillips was bested in RF/9, RF/G and Rtot by both Barney and Hill while tying Hill in fielding percentage.
Hill seems to be the clear victor defensively, but the popularity contest could push Phillips over the top.
However, by all accounts, both offensively and defensively Aaron Hill had the better season.
Prediction: Aaron Hill
2. Joey Votto
Finalists: Votto, Adam LaRoche and Freddie Freeman
Joey Votto is, in my estimation, the best fielding first baseman in the National League.
The only thing holding him back in this year's Gold Glove voting is the fact that he missed 49 games with a torn meniscus.
Even though he missed 49 games, Votto still led the National League with 116 assists.
Votto's 49 missed games really hurt him when you compare his numbers to those of the other two finalists.
Freeman and LaRoche both lead Votto in total chances, RF/9 and RF/G.
Votto's only chance lies in the fact that he has a better fielding percentage than Freeman, and more assists than both of them.
LaRoche leads Freeman in RF/9 and RF/G as well as assists, errors and Rtot, and he looks to be the runaway choice for the award.
Prediction: Adam LaRoche
1. Zack Cozart
Finalists: Cozart, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins
Zack Cozart has a serious chance at winning a Gold Glove in his rookie season.
Compared to established Major Leaguers, Cozart has about as steady a glove as anybody. Cozart and Brandon Phillips combined to form one of, if not the best double-play duo in Major League Baseball.
He's got good range as exhibited by his 4.28 RF/9 and 4.01 RF/G ratings and his errors on fielding chances (four) are the lowest among all four finalists.
Among those four finalists, Cozart ranks second in fielding percentage (.975), third in chances (567), first in RF/9 (4.28) and second in RF/G (4.01).
Additionally, Cozart posted a Rtot value of five.
Desmond, Reyes and Rollins posted values of 2, -4 and -7 respectively.
Cozart's main competition is Rollins. Rollins owns the best fielding percentage in the National League (.978) in more chances (594) while playing in 18 more games than Cozart. However, Cozart's lead in Rtot Rf/9 seem to be large enough to give him the edge.
Cozart winning would be a major feat, as no rookie shortstop has ever won a Gold Glove in the National League.
Prediction: Zack Cozart