Every time awards are given out, like the 2011 Gold Gloves were given out yesterday, fans will clamor to say that their players got robbed.
It’s a tradition as old as the actual awards, and without the rush to conspiracy theories, the excitement level would be nearly as high as it is year after year.
While most who received the awards deserved them, there were a few better choices that were passed over—but we’re giving them the love they deserve here.
1. J.J. Hardy—Baltimore Orioles
While the Baltimore Orioles were as mediocre as you could get this season, they have many great fielding pieces. J.J. Hardy at shortstop is one of the best.
The AL Gold Glove was awarded to Erick Aybar for the Los Angeles Angels, but there were at least three shortstops ahead of him in my voting.
Hardy had the highest fielding percentage at his position, and his six errors were the fewest of any shortstop in the AL in 2011. Aybar is good, but Hardy is much better.
2. Brett Gardner—New York Yankees
I think Alex Gordon from the Kansas City Royals was the right choice, but you can make a serious argument that Brett Gardner from the New York Yankees could—and should—have won the award.
While Gardner leaves much to be desired with the bat in his hand, his abilities in the field make up for the lack of offense he produces for the squad.
The stats show that Gardner has the best range for a left fielder in the American league, and the fact that he only had four errors all season proves he is the real deal and deserved consideration.
3. Shane Victorino—Philadelphia Phillies
Matt Kemp did not deserve to win this year’s Golden Glove for NL centerfielder; no matter how good he was at the plate, that doesn’t warrant an ignoring of the five errors he had.
The true winner should have been Shane Victorino from the Philadelphia Phillies, who in 130 games made no errors and had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
If you buy into the Zone Rating system of judging a fielder that is just another stat that Victorino rules the field on, making him a clear choice for the award.
4. Mark Teixeira—New York Yankees
The numbers between Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox and Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees were so close that the vote could have gone either way.
As always, Twitter offers the best insight on this matter:
I personally don’t see how the committee made the distinction because the numbers are so similar that the choice should have been impossible.
Teixeira had more double plays, the same fielding percentage, more putouts as well as a better range factor than Gonzalez, but somehow lost out. That’s one I would like to hear explained.
5. Justin Upton—Arizona Diamondbacks
The surprise Arizona Diamondbacks were as good as they looked in the standings because of solid pitching and a stellar defensive effort from everyone on the team.
While fellow Diamondback Gerardo Parra received the award for NL Gold Glove for left field, it should have been right fielder Justin Upton winning the award over Los Angeles Dodger Andre Ethier.
Upton was a pitchers best friend all season, and his speed allowed him to have the best range of any right fielder while having a NL right fielder high of 339 putouts.