September 11, 2007

Award Season Is Coming - Part One - The Gold Glove Award

Yes, award season is almost upon us. No, I’m not talking about the Emmys, or the Grammy’s, or the VMA’s (although Brittney’s agents should be shot after letting her perform in the condition she was in) – as it’s getting close to the time when baseball recognizes its’ top in-season performers with various awards, from fielding to hitting. By now, you’ve read all about everyone’s predictions, and as you know from reading many of our columns, we try to be as objective as possible when stating whom we feel would be the best candidate for each award. However, it’s very hard NOT to be subjective when a Carlos Beltran gets robbed of an MVP award or you watch a Rafael Palmiero win a Gold Glove at first base when he only manned the position that year for 28 games (he DHed the rest of the way) after winning it 3 previous seasons in a row. Therefore, rather than simply stating WHO we pick for each award, we’d like to offer a history of some of these awards (info courtesy of Baseball Almanac), as well as our picks, if any, from our own beloved Mets. Of course, after bragging rights are over, the main purpose for choosing these awards is to put more money in millionaires pockets (although it’s always cool when your team wins an award, especially if it’s the only thing your team won that season). Without further ado, today we’ll discuss the Gold Glove Award…

Gold Glove:
The Mets have had 8 players win a Gold Glove Award (15 awards total):

Tommie Agee (OF-1971),
Buddy Harrelson (SS-1971),
Doug Flynn (2B-1980),
Keith Hernandez (1B – 1983 – 1988),
Ron Darling (P-1989),
Rey Ordonez (SS-1997-1999),
Robin Ventura (3B-1999)
and
Carlos Beltran (OF-2006).

This season, we believe the following Mets should be up for consideration:

SS:Jose Reyes,
3B David Wright
OF Carlos Beltran.

If Endy Chavez had played an entire season, obviously we’d push for him as well, and although Wright has made a number of errors this season, his spectacular plays (made routine) far outweigh these errors. It’s actually amazing that Beltran hasn’t won more than one award for his awe-inspiring fielding, which shows what it means to play in the biggest market in the game. Reyes is an amazing shortstop, and unless you watch him regularly, his hitting and base-stealing prowess overshadow his consistency and brilliance in the field (only 8 errors this season, with many spectacular plays).

We’re Not The Only Ones
On a similar note, in today’s Los Angeles Times, writer Mike DiGiovanna, who covers the Angels, details the plight of the (Los Angeles) Angels (of Anaheim via the 5 Freeway Unless It’s Crowded then You take the 91) shortstop, Orlando Cabrera, and his pursuit of a second gold glove, which should have been awarded to him long ago but hasn’t because he has become lost in his own market, the second largest in the game, as a result of playing in the shadow of the Yankees' Derek Jeter. To read this article, click here. It's nice to know that we're not the only contending team that gets so little respect...

The History
I have always felt that the Gold Glove award is by far the most subjective, and not objective, of all of baseball's awards, as there is still not a good enough barometer in place to determine who is truly the best fielder at their position. If two shortstops are compared to each other, one might have a far superior range than the other one, but may have made many more errors as a result of his trying to utilize that range to make plays the other player would never have had a chance at making. Recently, there have been improvements in helping determine who should win a Gold Glove, via statistics, including zone coverage, instead of just how many or few errors one made and what their accompanying fielding percentage is. However, these measuring sticks still fall far short of being an accurate barometer of defensive prowess. Some people think that Jimmy Rollins is the best defensive shortstop in the NL (9 errors); I personally believe that our own Jose Reyes is the best defensive shortstop in the NL (8 errors); others might still vote for (the now ancient) Omar Vizquel, based solely on his reputation and not on his actual performance, and this has been one ongoing criticism of these awards for as long as they have been around.

It’s easy to determine who the Home Run champion is – the person who has hit the most homers, not the person who hit the most in day games or versus left-handed pitching. This would be considered a very objective award, as no one is going to question how the decision as to who hit the most home runs is derived, whereas who wins a Gold Glove is far more subjective and, if you will, mysterious (for lack of a better term) when all is said and done.

The fabulous Baseball Almanac offers the following, as to the origins of this award– click here -

The Gold Glove Award was first presented by the St. Louis-based Rawlings Corporation in 1957 to honor the eighteen best fielders at their positions. Rawlings used a combination of defensive statistics along with visual effect to determine the winner and honored the recipient with a large gold glove. Voting is currently done by the managers and coaches from each Major League team who are NOT able to select their own players."

It will be interesting to see who receives these awards this season, as stalwarts such as Greg Maddux have become long-in-the-tooth, and there is definitely an opportunity to “anoint” some new blood this season. I am watching this category closely, and before this season is over, we’ll give you our choices at each position.

Tomorrow
: MVP & Cy Young Awards

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

beltran will probably get it again

Anonymous said...

beyond beltran i cant see another met getting a gold glove

Anonymous said...

nice post

Anonymous said...

david will just have to settle for the mvp

Anonymous said...

id settle for that

Anonymous said...

i think he would too