MLB Awards 2010: B/R Featured Columnists Pick the AL Gold Gloves
Every year, members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America fulfill their duties by voting for the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. And every year, they find new ways to screw up.
Remember when Justin Morneau was named AL MVP in 2006? Or when Bartolo Colon took home the AL Cy Young in 2005? Just last year, a majority of voters chose Adam Wainwright over one or both of Chris Carpenter and Tim Lincecum for the NL Cy Young, therefore implicitly declaring that wins are somehow the most important pitching statistic.
When managers and coaches vote, things get even worse. What possible justification could there be for Torii Hunter being named a Silver Slugger and Derek Jeter taking home a Gold Glove after last season? Then there's the Rolaids Relief Man Award, which is given out based solely on wins, losses and saves.
Everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks he could do a better job. But talk is cheap, and saying you could do better is very different from actually doing better.
So Bleacher Report's Featured Columnists decided to put our money where our collective mouth is. During the last week of the regular season, 33 FCs submitted their picks for Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, Comeback Players of the Year, Relief Men of the Year, Rookies of the Year, Managers of the Year, Cy Youngs and Most Valuable Players in at least one of the two leagues.
This slideshow, showcasing the winners of our AL Gold Glove vote, will be the first of a four-week, 16-part series featuring 110 players and managers. So read on, see how we did, and be sure to let us know what we got wrong.
Catcher: Joe Mauer
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
1. Joe Mauer, Twins—17
2. Matt Wieters, Orioles—6
T3. Lou Marson, Indians—2
T3. A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox—2
T3. Kurt Suzuki, Athletics—2
Featured writer: Jamal Wilburg
Joe Mauer should be awarded the 2010 AL Gold Glove award for his performance this season in Minnesota. His .996 fielding percentage is higher than any other catcher in the American League that has started 40 or more games.
Also, he played in the fifth-most games in the American League at catcher. His three charged errors are the fewest of any catcher that played in more than 81 games in the AL. He also had 696 putouts and 34 assists this season.
First Base: Daric Barton
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1. Daric Barton, Athletics—12
2. Mark Teixeira, Yankees—11
3. Casey Kotchman, Mariners—4
T4. Paul Konerko, White Sox—1
T4. Justin Morneau, Twins—1
T4. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox—1
Featured writer: Lewie Pollis
Daric Barton is not a marquee name. In fact, if you’re a casual fan who lives outside the Bay Area, there’s a very good chance that you’ve never heard of him. But don’t let unfamiliarity breed contempt.
Beyond his underappreciated bat (his .393 OBP ranked fifth in the league, and his 16 percent walk rate was the best in baseball), Barton flashed some serious leather; his 12.1 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating—a measure of how many runs a fielder has saved with his glove) was the best in baseball for first basemen, and his 14.2 UZR/150 was 14.1 runs better than the Junior Circuit’s next-best defensive first baseman, Lyle Overbay.
Second Base: Orlando Hudson
Leon Halip/Getty Images
1. Orlando Hudson, Twins—17
2. Robinson Cano, Yankees—11
3. Mark Ellis, Athletics—1
Featured writer: Evan Bruschini
Although Orlando Hudson had a down year offensively, no one will be surprised if “O-Dog” snags yet another Gold Glove this year. Voters tend to favor incumbents, and Hudson fits the description, winning four Gold Gloves in his last five seasons.
Now back in the American League, Hudson continued his dominance, ranking in the top five in almost all defensive categories, including fielding percentage and range factor. If Orlando wins his fifth Gold Glove this year, he would become just the seventh player to reach that Golden mark.
Third Base: Adrian Beltre
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
1. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox—9
2. Evan Longoria, Rays—8
3. Brandon Inge, Tigers—5
4. Kevin Kouzmanoff, Athletics—3
T5. Jhonny Peralta, Indians/Tigers—2
T5. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees—2
7. Jose Lopez, Mariners—1
Featured writer: Dan Hartel
Adrian Beltre provides great defense behind a solid arm and fundamental, albeit goofy, mechanics.
Beltre was the measure of consistency among AL third baseman this year. His 154 games and 1,342.2 innings were both second behind only Michael Young of the Texas Rangers. He was also second in double plays turned (30) and first in putouts (138). His UZR (11.8) and RngR (10.9) each rank second among AL third baseman.
Perhaps most indicative of Beltre’s ability as a fielder is his 74 OOZ (plays made outside of zone). His 74 OOZ ranks 18 higher than any AL third baseman.
Shortstop: Alexei Ramirez
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
1. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox—16
2. Derek Jeter, Yankees—8
3. Cesar Izturis, Orioles—2
T4. Elvis Andrus, Rangers—1
T4. Jason Bartlett, Rays—1
Featured writer: Matt Trueblood
In a season that saw Ramirez finally assemble his tantalizing package of skills into a star-caliber season, the Cuban shortstop did absolutely everything well in the field.
His arm may well be the best in the league at the position. His biggest improvement was in his consistency: He learned the rhythm of big-league ball, no longer taking too long on easy plays or rushing tough ones.
As a result, Ramirez led the AL in UZR at short, with 10.8.
Outfielder No. 1: Carl Crawford
J. Meric/Getty Images
1. Carl Crawford, Rays—21
2. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners—17
3. Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners—14
4. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays—9
5. Brett Gardner, Yankees—5
T6. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians—4
T6. Nick Markakis, Orioles—4
T6. Juan Pierre, White Sox—4
T9. Julio Borbon, Rangers—2
T9. Torii Hunter, Angels—2
T9. Austin Jackson, Tigers—2
T12. Peter Bourjos, Angels—1
T12. David DeJesus, Royals—1
T12. J.D. Drew, Red Sox—1
T12. Curtis Granderson, Yankees—1
T12. Denard Span, Twins—1
T12. Delmon Young, Twins—1
Featured writer: Zachary Ball
Crawford logged the third-most innings of any left fielder in the AL, and saw more total chances than any player at his position in both leagues. And through it all, fly-balls and lasers, he committed only two errors, good for a fielding percentage of .994.
It wasn’t just the near-flawless fielding percentage, but also his flair for the dramatic and acrobatic. I’ve had a front row seat to Crawford’s fielding prowess for every game this season, and what I’ve seen is a player willing to lay it all out for a foul ball.
Outfielder No. 2: Ichiro Suzuki
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Featured writer: Ray Tannock
Besides being a one of a kind player, Ichiro closed out another personally spectacular season, in lieu of another disappointing Seattle run.
He finished the year with a .989 Fld% in 1,442 innings played in the field (most in his career) and continues to be model of a true Golden Glover: a player who plays beyond his potential, and above the standard each and every year.
Outfielder No. 3: Franklin Gutierrez
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Featured writer: Jess Coleman
The 27-year-old Seattle Mariner, Franklin Gutierrez has had yet another sparkling year in center field. His UZR/150 of 9.9 is good for third in the American League among center fielders, and eighth among all American League outfielders. His UZR of 7.2 is the third best in the American League among center fielders.
In 146 games this season in the outfield, Gutierrez was one of just three players in all of baseball to commit zero errors on the season.
Pitcher: Mark Buehrle
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
1. Mark Buehrle, White Sox—21
T2. Matt Garza, Rays—2
T2. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays—2
T2. Jered Weaver, Angels—2
T5. Trevor Cahill, Athletics—1
T5. Cliff Lee, Mariners/Rangers—1
T5. Carl Pavano, Twins—1
T5. David Price, Rays—1
Featured writer: Johnathan Kroncke
Athletic is not a term typically ascribed to pitchers, but that is exactly what Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle is: an athlete.
As quick as Buehrle is on the mound, he’s quicker off. He pounces on shots up the middle and sprints toward dribblers up the line with the enthusiasm of a middle infielder.
And unlike many who field the same position, Buehrle avoids the pitcher’s curse of lollipopping his throws to fielders. Instead, he fires bullets to ensure his glovely efforts weren’t in vain.
His 46 putouts and zero errors in 2010 are a testament to his athletic prowess.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
|AL Gold Gloves||October 25|
|NL Gold Gloves||October 26|
|AL Silver Sluggers||October 27|
|NL Silver Sluggers||October 28|
|AL Comeback Player of the Year||November 1|
|NL Comeback Player of the Year||November 2|
|AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 3|
|NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 4|
|AL Rookie of the Year||November 8|
|NL Rookie of the Year||November 9|
|AL Manager of the Year||November 10|
|NL Manager of the Year||November 11|
|AL Cy Young||November 15|
|NL Cy Young||November 16|
|AL Most Valuable Player||November 17|
|NL Most Valuable Player||November 18|