It’s time for some voting results, America - Gold Glove results, that is. For some unfathomable reason, the people behind the awards chose Election Day at 8pm as the time to hand out their awards. The show will be airing on ESPN.
The Orioles, you may recall, had two players among the top three vote-getters for Gold Gloves. They are Manny Machado at third base and Chris Davis at first base. Neither J.J. Hardy at shortstop nor Matt Wieters at catcher was up to snuff in the eyes of the voters. Managers and coaches votes count for 75%, with a sabermetric component representing the final quarter of the vote.
There has been at least one Gold Glove winner on the team every year since 2011. The O’s had multiple Gold Glove winners from that year through 2014, although last year, Machado was the only winner. It’s nice that Davis finished in the top three, but I figure Machado is their only hope at winning this year, too. He is pretty good.
I’ll be updating this post throughout the hour-long show as the winners are announced.
The top three here includes Machado and two other past Gold Glove winners: Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, who has won four Gold Gloves, and Seattle’s Kyle Seager, who won in 2014 when Machado missed half of the season with a knee injury.
How they will or should be judged is another question, but they’re all very comparable players as far as a metric like Defensive Runs Saved is concerned. Seager and Beltre both rated at +15 runs, while Machado had +13 runs at third base and another +3 from his time at shortstop. Another metric, Ultimate Zone Rating, decisively prefers Machado and Beltre to Seager.
Could the time at shortstop hurt Machado’s chances? That would be a shame if that was the case. His filling in for Hardy at shortstop enhances his defensive value to the Orioles overall, though for a specific position-based Gold Glove, perhaps it hurts.
It’s a tough race to handicap considering that the easiest way to win a Gold Glove is to have already won a Gold Glove, and all three are past winners. But Machado is the most recent winner and he didn’t do anything to deserve losing the “hereditary” Gold Glove this season, so I’ll be annoyed if he doesn’t win.
The winner: Beltre wins his fifth career Gold Glove
If the repeat Gold Glove winner bonus helps Machado, it unfortunately hurts Davis. Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer, who’s won the last three Gold Gloves, is one of the other finalists, along with Mitch Moreland of the Rangers.
First base is one of those tough ones to judge with defensive metrics, because factors like range and arm strength - which are more easily quantifiable - are the significant ones. At first base the bigger concerns involve things like ability to pick up errant throws and footwork in getting to the bag.
Who is the best at that stuff? I don’t know. I’ve watched Davis every game he’s played at first base. I used to not like him there when he first joined the team. I think my fellow Camden Chatter Stacey and I used to call him Stonehands.
Now, I’m happy with Davis as the Orioles first baseman. I don’t know if it means he should win the Gold Glove. I don’t see enough of Hosmer or Moreland to compare the three. Maybe neither do the managers or coaches. But one of them is going to win anyway! And since it’s been Hosmer before, it’ll probably be Hosmer again.
The winner: Moreland gets his first career Gold Glove
I’m interested in the winners at shortstop and catcher as well, because I think that the O’s players deserved at least top three consideration and I’m curious whether the winner will, to these homerish eyes, seem deserving over Hardy or Wieters.
The top three here are Detroit’s Jose Iglesias, Andrelton Simmons of the Angels, and Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor. Simmons has won two Gold Gloves in the National League before, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him win. And in the 2016 postseason, Lindor showed his quality as a defender, meaning it’d be tough to get mad about Hardy’s case if Lindor is the winner.
And none of these guys are on Boston or New York so there’s no avenue to get worked up about a biased electorate or anything like that. May the best defender win.
The winner: Lindor gets his first career Gold Glove
In a similar way to first base, it’s tough to quantify some of the aspects of actual fielding for a catcher. Their chances are different than other places on the diamond. What should matter? Durability to have a lot of playing time? Ability to frame pitches? Throwing out runners? Blocking pitches in the dirt?
How about all of the above? But bringing all of those together is complicated. The top three are Detroit’s James McCann, and a pair of Perezes: Carlos of the Angels and Salvador of the Royals. The Royals’ Perez has won the past three Gold Gloves, so don’t be surprised if he wins again.
Pitch framing metrics ding Wieters heavily. None of the finalists rate well either. On a rate basis, Salvador Perez is worse than Wieters. Neither McCann nor Carlos Perez are positives as far as pitch framing is concerned. So it seems the voters don’t really care about that.
A lot of pitch blocking is the eye test. Wieters, at least to me, doesn’t look good on the eye test here. With none of the finalists being in the AL East, I don’t see much of those other guys, so who knows.
When it comes to throwing out runners, Wieters is pretty good, but so are the finalists. KC’s Perez threw out a whopping 48% of would-be base stealers. That’s incredible. McCann threw out 45%, while LA’s Perez threw out 38%. Wieters with 35% no longer looks so impressive.
I don’t know why I wrote this many words about all of this. I’m just going to stop now.