MLB Gold Gloves: Who are your picks?
The World Series is over (sigh, congrats to the Cardinals), which means Hot Stove season is upon us. Also, football season. And hockey season. And basket-oh, wait.
And also – awards season, where we debate the comparative accomplishments of the players we just saw for 162 games.
The first (and my least favorite) is the Gold Gloves, which are picked by a kindergarten class in Staten Island or something. Evaluating fielders is largely a subjective exercise – while there are numbers available, there are generally two or more degrees of separation between the actual performance and the statistic it produces. Or, alternatively, they just don’t account for very much. Fielding percentage ignores the fact that you can’t make an error on a ball you don’t get to (it would be like ignoring strikeouts when computing batting average). Range factor is tough to compare, because it assumes every staff is going to surrender equally as many flyballs, groundballs, line drives while striking out the exact same number of people. Real baseball doesn’t work that way.
Since most of us don’t live in the MLB fan cave and watch 2430 baseball games a year, it’s hard to truly know who the best fielders in the game are. That’s why I’m asking you, the reader, for your thoughts.
A new twist for 2011: gold-glovers will be chosen for all three outfield positions; instead of simply awarding three gold gloves to outfielders, awards will be given to a left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder in each league.
Here are my picks, based on general observations, reputations (even more dangerous than the numbers) and a glance at the (rather loose) objective data:
Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers
Catcher: Yadi Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
1st Base: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
2nd Base: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds
3rd Base: Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Left Field: Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks
Center Field: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
Right Field: Mike Stanton, Florida Marlins
Pitcher: Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox
Catcher: Russell Martin, New York Yankees
1st Base: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox
2nd Base: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
3rd Base: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
Shortstop: Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals (if Jeter wins, I quit)
Left Field: Brett Gardner, New York Yankees
Center Field: Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers
Right Field: Jeff Francoeur, Kansas City Royals