The Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced earlier tonight, with Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and J.J. Hardy having all won. It seems to me that Wieters was a great choice, Hardy was a good choice, and Jones was a questionable choice. Let's go in that order.
Wieters: For the second consecutive year, Matt Wieters has been awarded the Gold Glove for best catcher in the American League. When Wieters won last year I predicted it wouldn't be his last, and I'm glad that he didn't have to wait very long for his next one. Wieters threw out 39% of baserunners this season and allowed five passed balls. The eye test tells me that he wasn't as good this year as last, but I think we'll all agree that even a not-at-his-best Wieters is better than most regular catchers.
In the Fielding Bible Awards that were released last week, Matt Wieters was voted second-best catcher in baseball to Yadier Molina, who took home the Gold Glove in the NL. So at least in this instance, the Gold Glove voters and the Fielding Bible voters were in harmony. You can read more about the Fielding Bible Awards and the Orioles improved defense in Andrew's fine article from earlier this week.
Hardy: There is no denying that Hardy is a very good defensive shortstop. He's one of the best I've ever had the pleasure to watch. When the bases were loaded and the Orioles needed that last out, there was nothing more reassuring than seeing a ground ball hit to Hardy. He rarely misplayed a ball and it seemed that most of his throws to first, no matter where he had to field them, were right at the first baseman's chest.
Hardy came in second to Brendan Ryan in the Fielding Bible Awards, and Ryan is considered by many to be one of the finest defensive players in baseball today. Ryan had the misfortune of playing for a team that wasn't in contention this year, and he had a terrible year at the plate. We all know those shouldn't matter, but we also know that they do.
Should Ryan have won? Probably. But Hardy is an outstanding shortstop, so it's not too much of a scandal to me.
Jones: In a shocking decision, Adam Jones was awarded his second career Gold Glove (first in 2009). I'm happy for Jones that he won, but truthfully I thought Mike Trout had that award locked up. Trout came in first in the Fielding Bible Awards for center fielders with a score of 96, and had a UZR of 10.5 in CF. Adam Jones? He got 4 points in Fielding Bible Awards, and his defensive statistics around the board measure him as below average.
Don't get me wrong, I think Adam Jones makes some great plays in the outfield, and I think he's more than competent out there. That combined with his bat make him a fantastic player to have on the Orioles. But he is not even close to gold glove caliber.