The Orioles streak of seasons with at least one Gold Glove winner will continue on for another year. The award winners were unveiled on Tuesday night and among this year's winners was Manny Machado, whose sparkling defensive plays means that his winning a second career Gold Glove requires no explanation.
Previously, Machado had been announced as a finalist for the award along with Adrian Beltre of the Rangers and Evan Longoria of the Rays. There was no additional voting once finalists were announced; what they really mean when they say finalist is they're announcing the top three and they'll say who won later, but they want to take over another news cycle. The results are 75% determined by voting among managers and coaches in the game, with 25% being influenced by defensive metrics.
Often, it seems that the easiest way to win a Gold Glove is to have won a Gold Glove before. While that may or may not be true in general, in either case it would not have been of any help in forecasting who might win the Gold Glove at third base this year.
Machado, Beltre, and Longoria had all won a Gold Glove before. Beltre is a four-time winner, while Longoria has won twice. Between the two of them, they accounted for every AL third base Gold Glove from 2007-12. Machado was the most recent winner going into this year, taking the third base Gold Glove in 2013 as well as the newly-created Platinum Glove, which you might also think of as the Goldest Glove.
Any one of the three would have been a worthy winner in different ways. Longoria represented the surest hand, committing the fewest errors of the three. Despite more errors, however, Machado and Beltre outpaced Longoria in metrics like Defensive Runs Saved. Longoria saved seven runs, which is nice enough, while Machado saved 14 and Beltre saved 18. Machado burnished his credentials by being the only player to play in every one of his team's games this year, appearing in the field for about 70 innings more than Longoria and 130 more than Beltre.
In the end, the win went to Machado, his second win of his career.
Until this year, the Orioles were actually working on a streak of four straight years with multiple Gold Glove winners, including three last season. However, that came to an end with all three of last year's winners - Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, and Matt Wieters - missing some significant number of games with injuries, which is usually enough to cost a player on its own. Even a healthy Jones was probably eclipsed by other players in the league, and Wieters certainly was passed by the field.
Maybe they can get that multiple winner thing going again next year, but for this year at least they get to keep on winning at least one, thanks to Machado. Perhaps a newcomer to Gold Gloves like Jonathan Schoop could play his way into this picture in a year's time. He, too, was deprived of the chance to do so this season as a result of missing significant time with an injury.
Congratulations to Machado for his accomplishment. Orioles fans are lucky that we get to watch him night in and night out.