The Gold Glove finalists were released today and six Orioles made the cut: Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, and Matt Wieters. Markakis, Jones, Wieters, and Hardy have won in the past.(Finalists reported by Roch Kubatko).
It's worth noting that these aren't nominees for the Gold Glove, but finalists. The votes have already been cast and the winners will be revealed on October 29th. The votes are cast by managers and coaches in the MLB and, as we all know, they sometimes get it wrong. There is a change in the voting this year, which could improve the credibility of the decision. 30 votes will be tabulated by the SABR Defensive Index, accounting for 25-30% of the vote.
Of the six Oriole named as finalists, the only outrage will be if Machado isn't named a winner. He has ranked at the top of A.L. third basemen in every pretty much every defensive metric you can think of, and FanGraphs ranks him as the defensive player in the A.L. by a wide margin.
If shortstop J.J. Hardy or catcher Matt Wieters win the Gold Glove it won't be a bad choice, though neither are the slam dunk that Machado is. There are a number of very good shortstops to contend with, though at this time I haven't seen the full lists of finalists to compare. Wieters' biggest competition is Salvador Perez of the Royals. Fair or not, both Hardy and Wieters have the advantage of having won the award before and playing for a team that contended for most of the season. (The introduction of the SABR vote could negate that somewhat).
Jones and Markakis have both won Gold Gloves before, but they are never rated near the top of their class defensively by most metrics. This Davis' first time being named a finalist (although admittedly this "finalist" mumbo jumbo is relatively new), but he also doesn't rank high on lists for defensive stats.
My prediction is for wins for Machado and Hardy, with one other win in there as well from someone less deserving. The winners will be revealed October 29th at 7 p.m. live on MLB Network. We'll have the results for you as they're announced.