MLB Gold Glove Awards: 10 Amazing Fielders Who Got Screwed in Vote Nominations
On Monday afternoon, Rawlings announced its Gold Glove Award finalists for each position in both leagues.
Rawlings relies on votes from each team's manager and up to six coaches from each team as well.
It's always been a preconceived notion that the Gold Glove Award is given to the player who does the best overall job at fielding his position.
Judging from some of the nominations for finalists, I'm not so sure that's the case.
Could it be that some managers vote for particular players because they once made a diving stop against his team?
One diving stop does not a good defensive player make.
Only the voters can opine as to their reasons why particular players were chosen over others.
As for me, I'm going to opine right now.
Here are 10 players who were snubbed as a finalist for a Gold Glove Award.
Note: Defensive statistics courtesy of fangraphs.com unless otherwise noted.
1. Catcher: A.J. Ellis, Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis doesn't do anything flashy, nor does he scream elite.
But he performs his duties behind the plate with great acumen.
Ellis threw out 33 percent of runners attempting to steal this season, a career high. It was also 6 percent higher than the league average. Ellis does a great job handling the Dodgers pitching staff, and they in turn have sung his praises all season long.
I can't honestly say that the three candidates who were chosen in the National League weren't worthy (Yadier Molina, Miguel Montero, Carlos Ruiz). But Ellis took a major step forward defensively this season and should have been recognized for his efforts.
2. First Base: James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers
Boston Red Sox first baseman James Loney, acquired from the Dodgers in August, has taken a lot of criticism for his lack of power and potency with the bat. But the glove plays, and quite well.
Freddie Freeman, Adam LaRoche and Joey Votto were all chosen as finalists for the Gold Glove Award ahead of Loney at first base in the National League.
None of them had a higher UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) than Loney. In fact, Freeman's UZR this past season was -4.0.
Loney was also second in the majors in RngR (number of runs above or below average a fielder is). Only Adrian Gonzalez ranked higher.
Defensively, Loney is clearly one of the best first baggers in the majors. One has to wonder if his offensive liabilities hurt him in Gold Glove Award nominations.
3. Second Base: Mark Ellis, Los Angeles Dodgers
Another curious omission for a Los Angeles Dodgers player.
Second baseman Mark Ellis committed just three errors in 488 total chances all season long. Of the three second basemen nominated in the National League—Darwin Barney, Aaron Hill and Brandon Phillips—only Barney had a higher UZR (13.1) than Ellis (9.7).
In addition, if you factor in UZR/150 (Ultimate Zone Rating based on 150 games), no one in the majors ranks higher than Ellis (16.1).
No one but Barney had a higher fielding percentage either, for that matter. Ellis was hurt for two months, so it's entirely possible his time spent on the disabled list took away from his consideration for the award.
4. Shortstop: Clint Barmes, Pittsburgh Pirates
I am definitely perplexed as to how Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes wasn't nominated as a finalist for a Gold Glove Award.
Barmes' UZR of 14.4 led all National League shortstops. His RngR rating of 12.8 was tops in the majors, and by a wide margin.
His fielding percentage (.972) was higher than that of Ian Desmond (.970) and his RZR (the proportion of balls hit into a fielder’s zone that he successfully converted into an out) was higher than Zack Cozart, Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes, all of whom were nominated.
5. Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers
Brendan Ryan and J.J. Hardy were both worthy of selection as finalists for the American League Gold Glove Award at shortstop.
But one particular player was a glaring omission—Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
Peralta committed just seven errors all season in 595 total chances for a .988 fielding percentage—second in the majors behind Hardy.
His 9.9 UZR was fourth in the majors, behind both Hardy and Ryan. And his RngR of 6.2 was also fifth in the majors.
Only Ian Desmond (.855) in the NL had a higher RZR than Peralta (.853) as well.
6. Third Base: Alberto Callaspo, Los Angeles Angels
Maybe I'm missing something here, but how is it that third baseman Brandon Inge was nominated for a Gold Glove Award at third base when he played only 76 games at the position all year?
That's curious at best.
My third nomination for finalist in the American League would have gone to Alberto Callaspo of the Los Angeles Angels.
Callaspo had a .963 fielding percentage with just 12 errors, a 7.2 UZR that was third-best in the American League and an RZR of .751, fourth-best in the league.
If you're going to nominate finalists, at least nominate players who actually played more than half a season.
7. Center Field: Chris Young, Arizona Diamondbacks
Center fielder Chris Young is no longer with the Arizona Diamondbacks, now bidding for playing time next season with the Oakland Athletics.
But you'll find few in the NL that were as good as Young defensively last season.
Young finished behind only Michael Bourn this past season in UZR, was tops in the league in RZR and second behind only Bourn in RngR as well.
Young may have been a wash offensively this season, but the glove was still stellar.
8. Center Field: Denard Span, Minnesota Twins
I love Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. Really.
His bat and leadership for the O's has been terrific for the past several seasons and he has become the face of the franchise.
But how in the world is he a finalist for a Gold Glove Award over Minnesota Twins center fielder Denard Span?
Of all qualified center fielders in the American League, only Curtis Granderson had a worse UZR than Jones. Only Seattle Mariners center fielder Michael Saunders had a worse RZR than Jones.
And no qualified center fielder committed more errors than Jones (8).
I don't get it.
Denard Span was absolutely deserving of a selection as finalist. Span had the second-highest UZR and RZR in the league, trailing only Mike Trout. Span's 8.7 RngR was also second in the league to Trout.
Essentially, no one in the American League had better range or could get to more balls more than Span or Trout.
Span is ahead of Jones in just about every defensive metric available.
9. Right Field: Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels
A nine-time Gold Glove Award winner was snubbed as a finalist for a chance at another.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter won those nine awards while patrolling center field and is bidding for his first in his new position.
He'll have to wait for at least another year.
Nominated ahead of him were Josh Reddick, Shin-Soo Choo and Jeff Francoeur.
Francoeur's incredible arm likely landed him on this list—he led the majors with 19 outfield assists. But that's where the comparison stops.
Hunter had 14 assists of his own in right field, but in most other defensive metrics, he outdistanced Francoeur, and by a lot.
UZR: Hunter, 10.4; Francoeur, -4.2.
RngR: Hunter, 1.8; Francoeur, -13.4.
Francoeur was essentially nominated for his arm only. In terms of the total package, Hunter would have been a far better selection.
10. Right Field: Ichiro Suzuki, New York Yankees
Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki won 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards in his first 10 seasons, missing out on the award last season.
He'll miss out once again this year as well.
That doesn't mean he wasn't deserving of a nomination, however.
Suzuki again shined, leading all qualifying right fielders in the American League with just one error in 244 total chances.
Suzuki also finished behind Josh Reddick in UZR at 12.7 and led the AL in RZR at .967. His RngR of 10.2 was also second to Reddick.
Playing at the age of 38 years old, Suzuki still got to more balls and had more range than players considerably younger.