What they’re saying about Jeter’s Gold Glove

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I haven’t seen an award decision that had such uniformity of negative opinion about it since Jethro Tull beat Metallica for Best Heavy Metal Performance Grammy in 1988. Or maybe it was Taste of Honey beating Elvis Costello for Best New Artist in 1978.  To be honest, we should probably rename the Gold Glove the Fielding Grammy Award:

  • Moshe Mandel, TYU: “Jeter’s selection, on the other hand, is a travesty. He was likely one of the 2 or 3 worst shortstops in the AL this season. The metrics, scouts, and most fans agree that he is mediocre at best, and atrocious at worst. He won because of his reputation as a hitter, which is incredibly silly but quite unsurprising. As a Yankee fan, I wish we could just forget it ever happened.”
  • David Brown, Big League Stew: “The worst shortstop in the league won a Gold Glove at the most important defensive position on the field. How does this happen?”
  • Rob Neyer: “Nobody who really follows baseball believes that Jeter is an outstanding defensive player. The Yankees, who see him every day, don’t believe that. The writers who cover the Yankees every day don’t believe that. Frankly, I’m not sure the managers and the coaches who actually voted for Jeter believe that.”
  • Matthew Leach, MLB.com: “Gold Gloves are like Supreme Court appointments: They’re hard to get, but once you have them, they’re for life.”
  • John Harper, New York Daily News: “If you watched the ALCS even casually it wasn’t hard to see that Derek Jeter looked closer to 46 than 36 compared to Elvis Andrus as a shortstop . . . it’s obvious he didn’t deserve the Gold Glove he was awarded Tuesday.” [note: if even the tabloids aren’t drinking the Jeter Kool Aid anymore, no one is].
  • Grant at McCovey Chronicles: “The Gold Gloves are ridiculous. They’re the subjective opinions of people who would rather use astrology charts than defensive stats to judge players they watched for seven to 18 games this year.” [note: that doesn’t stop Grant from wishing hard for Andres Torres to win the GG today. Such is the nature of this maddening but never-to-be-gone award. I think it’s because the name is so great].

Me? I’m still reeling. Say what you want about the BBWAA, but at least the guys who vote on those awards usually defend their choices and have some arguably rational basis for them. The players and coaches who gave Jeter his fifth — fifth! — Gold Glove won’t and can’t do the same. They don’t watch Jeter play every day because they’re busy with their own games. The people who do watch him play every day — Yankees beat writers and fans — almost all agree that he didn’t deserve the award.

Just remember that the next time an ex-ballplayer or manager gets a job as a cable network talking head based on his alleged expertise.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.