The 2011 baseball season may be gone, but the awards season is just getting started.
The first awards to hit are the Gold Glove awards, which were revealed on Tuesday evening (see the Associated Press report). There are plenty of usual suspects among the winners, and some not-so-usual suspects.
Let's discuss all of them, shall we?
American League Winner: Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox
No surprise here. Buehrle is widely regarded as one of the best fielding pitchers in the majors, and this makes it three straight Gold Gloves for him. The dude can pick it, and there's just not much to complain about concerning Buehrle's .982 fielding percentage.
National League Winner: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bit of a surprise here, as Kershaw is known more for his blazing fastball and his killer curveball than his fielding prowess. But you have to give credit where credit is due, and we're talking about a guy who had a perfect fielding percentage in 2011.
American League Winner: Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles
His career is still in its infancy, but Matt Wieters has clearly demonstrated that he is a Gold Glove-caliber catcher. As such, it's nice to see him take home the award here following a season in which he had just one passed ball and threw out 34 baserunners.
National League Winner: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
Ho hum. Molina is the best defensive catcher in baseball, and this makes it four straight Gold Gloves for him. Dude is an incredible baseball player.
American League Winner: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox
Yankees fans are going to cry foul at the fact that Mark Teixeira did not win the award, but you really can't go wrong with him or Gonzalez. That said, I wonder if Gonzo's reputation helped him out here, as it is truly debatable whether or not he had a better year defensively than Teixeira. The key numbers are eerily similar.
National League Winner: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto already has an MVP, and now he has a Gold Glove. He got it by posting a .996 fielding percentage and an UZR of 7.4—an NL-high for first basemen.
American League Winner: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
After a two-year drought, Pedroia wins his second Gold Glove. He definitely earned it, as he made only seven errors all season and posted a UZR of 17.9, tops among major league second basemen.
National League Winner: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds
Phillips is another ho-hum winner, as he now has three Gold Gloves on his mantel. He was as solid as ever, leading all NL second basemen with an 11.4 UZR. If you prefer old-timey stats, Phillips made just six errors all season.
American League Winner: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
Duh. Beltre is one of the best fielding third basemen in baseball, and he now has three Gold Gloves in his collection and his first since 2008. Beltre did make 11 errors this season, but he led all AL third basemen with an 11.2 UZR.
National League Winner: Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies
You might get some complaints about seeing Polanco's name here because he only got to play in 118 games at third, but he was pretty solid when he was at the hot corner. He only made eight errors and posted a major league-best 14.0 UZR.
American League Winner: Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels
At long last, the voters have realized that Derek Jeter is a crappy fielder. This is Aybar's first Gold Glove award, and he got it despite making 13 errors and posting a UZR of just 1.2. Truth be told, the award probably should have gone to someone else, but we should consider ourselves lucky that it didn't go to Jeter again.
National League Winner: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Honestly, who else could it go to? Tulo is amazing in the field, and this makes it two straight Gold Gloves for him. He only made six errors and posted a solid UZR of 7.3.
American League Winner: Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
So it would appear that moving Alex Gordon to the outfield was a good idea. The former third baseman made only three errors in the field this season, had a league-leading 20 outfield assists and posted a solid UZR of 10.5. The Gold Glove probably should have gone to Brett Gardner, but there was clearly some kind of widespread anti-Yankees sentiment among the voters this year.
National League Winner: Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks
This is Gerardo Parra's first Gold Glove, and he definitely earned it. He made just two errors this season and led all National League left fielders with a 9.8 UZR.
American League Winner: Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury might have an MVP award waiting for him, but a Gold Glove will have to do for now. He didn't make a single error in center this year and led all major league center fielders with a 15.6 UZR. He can definitely go get 'em, and that's not so easy at Fenway Park.
National League Winner: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
This is Matt Kemp's second Gold Glove, and it's a little odd that the voters chose to give it to him. He made five errors in center this year, and he posted a UZR of -4.6.
That's not very good, for the record.
American League Winner: Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles
This is Nick Markakis' first Gold Glove, and I think he is a deserving recipient. He didn't make any errors this year, and he had 14 outfield assists. You don't run on this guy, even if he did have a -5.0 UZR.
National League Winner: Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers
Last but not least, we have Andre Ethier, yet another first-time winner. Ethier posted a perfect fielding percentage in right field this year and had a 5.3 UZR, which is above average. The award could have gone to Justin Upton, but Ethier isn't necessarily a bad choice.