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Friday Bird Droppings: Perplexed by the Jorge Mateo snub

Two Orioles were among the top three Gold Glove vote-getters at their position, but arguably their most brilliant defender was left out in the cold.

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MLB: JUL 24 Yankees at Orioles
Pictured: Just one of a hundred brilliant defensive plays by Jorge Mateo this year.
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Last night was a good night for all those who take delight in the New York Yankees’ misfortune. The Yanks dropped Game 2 of the ALCS to the Astros, 3-2, and now face a 2-0 series deficit. After an off day today, the series will shift to Yankee Stadium tomorrow for up to three games (but maybe only two, if the Astros go ahead and sweep). The NLCS will be back in action today in Philadelphia, with the Phillies and Padres tied, 1-1.

Meanwhile, in off-the-field news, the 2022 Gold Glove “finalists” — meaning the top three vote-getters at each position — were announced yesterday. Two Orioles were represented, with Cedric Mullins a finalist in center field and Ramón Urías at third base. Both excellent defenders deserved the honor, even if it’s a bit surprising that Urías was a finalist at a position at which he started only about half the season (84 games).

But the fact that Jorge Mateo, a brilliant defensive shortstop both by the eye test and advanced metrics, wasn’t one of the top three AL finalists is dumbfounding. As O’s fans, we were spoiled by Mateo’s seemingly daily highlight reel, making the most sensational plays with the greatest of ease. He showed off his outstanding range to his right and to his left. He flashed his amazing athleticism. He turned double plays. He turned triple plays. He dived. He slid. He sprinted. He made backhanded flips. He made glove flips. He performed acrobatic feats. And all of those plays were just from the second half of the year! There were so many good ones I had to stop looking.

As Mark Brown noted, Mateo led all AL shortstops in Outs Above Average. He was second in Defensive Runs Saved. There’s no earthly reason for him not to have been even a top-three vote-getter, let alone the winner. A Gold Glove competition that doesn’t include Jorge Mateo is like a World’s Largest Ocean competition that doesn’t include the Pacific. There’s only one right answer here, people! How did you miss this??

It’s been said before that only good hitters win Gold Gloves, as the managers and coaches who decide on the award tend to vote for the biggest name players instead of the best pure defenders. (How else do you explain Derek Jeter winning five of these things?) Perhaps Mateo’s lackluster offense took him out of consideration in many voters’ minds, which is a travesty.

Oh well. At least Orioles fans know he was awesome. And good luck to Mullins and Urías when the winners are announced Nov. 1.


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