Each year, at least a handful of undeserving players take home one of MLB's annual end-of-season awards.
Consider Jimmy Rollins' MVP award in 2007 and Roger Clemens beating out Randy Johnson for the NL Cy Young in 2004.
Even last year, it would be hard to argue for why Torii Hunter deserved a Silver Slugger or Derek Jeter really earned his Gold Glove.
Rather than just complain about the voters' inevitable mistakes after the fact, 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.
Yesterday, we kicked off our four-week, 16-part series with the results of the AL Gold Glove winners. Today, we take a look at the best defenders in the Senior Circuit.
So read on, see how we did and be sure to let us know what we got wrong.
1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals—22
T2. Miguel Olivo, Rockies—2
T2. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies—2
Featured writer: Asher Chancey
A collision of two of the surest pitching-friendly forces in baseball history—the guru that is Dave Duncan and the catching savvy of the Flying Molina Brothers—Yadier Molina may be the finest defensive catcher and handler of pitchers we’ve ever seen.
In 2010 he led the league in percentage of attempted base stealers thrown out with a startling 49 percent, he handled a pitching staff that was tied for the third best ERA in Major League Baseball, and he committed only five errors, tied for the fewest amongst full-time catchers, despite leading the majors in innings caught.
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals—14
2. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres—6
3. Ike Davis, Mets—5
T4. Derrek Lee, Cubs/Braves—1
T4. James Loney, Dodgers—1
Featured writer: Matt Goldberg
The great Albert Pujols has won only one Gold Glove—in 2006. Since then, some pretty good scoopers named Derrek Lee (2007) and Adrian Gonzalez (2008-09) have taken the prize.
So, why give the GG back to Albert? He showed excellent range (he led all first basemen in assists), and he had sure hands, committing only four errors and holding the highest fielding percentage of all eligible first sackers (.998). He also led in putouts and double plays. Slam dunk!
1. Brandon Phillips, Reds—15
2. Chase Utley, Phillies—6
3. David Eckstein, Padres—3
T4. Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks—1
T4. Freddy Sanchez, Giants—1
Featured writer: Dennis Schlossman
After winning his first Gold Glove award just two seasons ago, Brandon Phillips continues to set the fielding standards for second basemen in the Majors.
In 2010, Phillips netted an incredible .996 fielding percentage, as he committed only three errors in 703 chances. With his excellent range and superb athleticism, Phillips is often seen making many eye-opening plays that capture the attention of the league’s coaches and managers, who vote for the award.
T1. Placido Polanco, Phillies—10
T1. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals—10
T3. Chase Headley, Padres—3
T3. Scott Rolen, Reds—3
5. David Wright, Mets—1
Featured writer: Dan Tylicki
Last year’s Gold Glove winner in the American League has made a seemingly effortless transition into the National League. Doubly impressive was his move from second base to the more difficult third base.
Nonetheless, Polanco managed only five errors this season. Beyond that, he led NL third basemen in both range factor and fielding percentage.
Featured writer: Bob Warja
Zimmerman trails only Chase Headley in range as determined by FanGraphs UZR/150 (a measure of how many runs a player saved with his glove) and only by the slimmest of margins. He also makes the occasional spectacular play as well as anyone in baseball at his position.
Plus, Zimmerman has been rated consistently well above average over the years, so it’s no fluke. He’s the best defensive third baseman in baseball.
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies—17
T2. Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks—4
T2. Brendan Ryan, Cardinals—4
4. Starlin Castro, Cubs—1
Featured writer: Brandon Williams
I’ll concede that St. Louis’ Brendan Ryan (11.5) and Arizona’s Stephen Drew (8.7) had better Ultimate Zone Rating numbers than Troy Tulowitzki’s 7.1, but neither was more valuable than the heart and soul of the Rockies.
While Ryan couldn’t shed a good-field, no-hit tag for a St. Louis team that collapsed after August 1 and Drew shined under the shadows of a last-place squad, Tulowitzki solidified the foundation of a Rockies franchise with an .833 RZR while finishing with a career-best 6.4 WAR.
Tulo starred when it counted, which means he’s worthy of a Gold Glove despite having totals that are slightly below Ryan and Drew.
1. Michael Bourn, Astros—12
2. Shane Victorino, Phillies—11
3. Jay Bruce, Reds—9
4. Andres Torres, Giants—8
5. Andre Ethier, Dodgers—6
6. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies—5
T7. Marlon Byrd, Cubs—4
T7. Dexter Fowler, Rockies—4
9. Ryan Braun, Brewers—3
T10. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates—2
T10. Drew Stubbs, Reds—2
T10. Jose Tabata, Pirates—2
T10. Chris Young, Diamondbacks—2
T14. Tony Gwynn, Padres—1
T14. Matt Holliday, Cardinals—1
T14. Raul Ibanez, Phillies—1
T14. Matt Kemp, Dodgers—1
T14. Nyjer Morgan, Nationals—1
T14. Angel Pagan, Mets—1
T14. Hunter Pence, Astros—1
T14. Colby Rasmus, Cardinals—1
T14. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks—1
T14. Jayson Werth, Phillies—1
Featured writer: Jeremiah Graves
Bourn is fast. He’s very, very fast. There is no denying that, as he’s led the National League in stolen bases two years in a row.
That speed has played a large role in his exceptional defense. Bourn has great range in the outfield and tracks down plenty of balls that his contemporaries couldn’t dream of getting a glove on. Making him all the more dangerous with the leather is an above-average arm that makes him one of the top defenders on the Senior Circuit.
Featured writer: Dmitriy Ioselevich
The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” already has two Gold Gloves to his name, and in 2010 he proved he’s worthy of another. With a .995 fielding percentage Victorino is second in the league to only Dexter Fowler (.996), who played in 23 fewer games.
Victorino also gets bonus points for recording a career- and league-high 11 assists, while Fowler only managed two. Plus, the Phillies actually made the playoffs.
Featured writer: Evan Aczon
Jay Bruce isn’t exactly someone you expect to hear when you think about Gold Gloves, but his move from being a platoon guy to a solid right fielder has greatly benefited the Reds on both sides of the ball.
Bruce has a UZR of 20.2—good for second in the majors. He’s first in RngR (Range Runs Above Replacement), and had a .992 fielding percentage in the outfield, committing only three errors the entire year.
He might not be a name that jumps off the page, but the stats don’t lie, and Bruce has been great for the Reds.
T1. R.A. Dickey, Mets—5
T1. Randy Wolf, Brewers—5
3. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals—4
4. Bronson Arroyo, Reds—3
T5. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
T5. Tim Hudson, Braves—2
T7. Jaime Garcia, Cardinals—1
T7. Jon Garland, Padres—1
Featured writer: Jordan Schwartz
Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey was among seven qualified National League pitchers to finish the season without an error. Among those, he had by far the highest range factor at 3.15, the most total chances (61) and the most assists (44). Because he’s a knuckleballer, Dickey gets a lot of squibbers right back to the mound, and he handled all of them.
Featured writer: Robert Knapel
While no pitcher in the NL can match the standard set by Mark Buehrle, Randy Wolf has shown that he is solid with the glove.
Wolf has a perfect fielding percentage this year, well above the NL average of .951. He is also well above the NL RF/9 average. It has been calculated that Wolf saved four runs this year with his glove.
|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