Let’s go down the list:
AL, catcher: Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Salvador Perez
Mauer is still the AL’s best defensive catcher, but he played a mere 660 innings behind the plate this year, compared to 1,200 for Wieters and 1,115 for Perez. Wieters has won the last two, so he’s the favorite here. Still, I think Perez gets the nod.
AL, first base: Chris Davis, James Loney, Eric Hosmer
Even is his league-leading UZR oversells it a bit, Mike Napoli deserved a nomination over Davis or Hosmer. Loney will claim this one, and it probably won’t be particularly close. Weak field.
AL, second base: Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia
Both Pedroia and Cano have two Gold Gloves to their credit. The tie will be broken this year, and I imagine Pedroia will be the choice.
AL, third base: Manny Machado, Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre
This is easily the AL’s strongest position. Josh Donaldson was probably the best defender at any position not to get a nomination, and Matt Dominguez is no slouch in Houston. It will be interesting to see if the voters make the right choice with Machado. I think they will, but Beltre was the Platinum Glove choice the previous two years, marking him as the league’s overall best defender.
AL, shortstop: Yunel Escobar, Alcides Escobar, J.J. Hardy
Alcides Escobar’s defensive numbers finally match his rep this year, and he’s probably the best choice. Still, it’s hardly a slam dunk. My guess is that Hardy gets his second Gold Glove in a row.
AL, left field: Yoenis Cespedes, Andy Dirks, Alex Gordon
Gordon has won both years since the Gold Gloves separated out the outfield positions (though Brett Gardner deserved it in 2011). He’s the likely choice again, and I don’t see any better options. He played 500 more innings in left than either of the other nominees here.
AL, center field: Adam Jones, Lorenzo Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury
The numbers say Cain, but he played just 760 innings in center and he was shifted to right when both he and Jarrod Dyson were in the lineup at the same time. That makes him kind of a tough sell. Jones is a terribly weak nomination; Mike Trout, Gardner, Colby Rasmus, Michael Bourn, Coco Crisp and Austin Jackson are all better defenders. I guess Ellsbury is the choice of this trio, but really, Cain is the best of the bunch.
AL, right field: Nick Markakis, Josh Reddick, Shane Victorino
Markakis too? Did the Orioles grease some palms? Anyway, Victorino is the most obvious winner at any AL position.
AL, pitcher: Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Doug Fister
Buehrle has won four Gold Gloves in a row, including last year in the National League. Still, Fister deserves to win this award and I think he’ll get it.
NL, catcher: A.J. Ellis, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina
Martin was the last catcher to beat out Molina, doing so in 2007. It’s a given that Molina will keep the crown for a sixth straight year, and he deserves it, but Martin was really good, too.
NL, first base: Paul Goldschmidt, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo
The last two NL Gold Glove winners (Joey Votto in 2011, Adam LaRoche in 2012) weren’t even nominated. Gonzalez has the rep and will claim the award. Rizzo’s turn could come next year.
NL, second base: Darwin Barney, Mark Ellis, Brandon Phillips
Phillips won two in a row before Barney overtook him last year. The difference between 2012 and 2013 was that Barney was competent offensively last year. Since he wasn’t this year, the award is more likely to go back to Phillips.
NL, third base: Nolan Arenado, Juan Uribe, David Wright
How about a trade? The AL gets both Gold Glove third basemen and the NL gets both for center field. Uribe and Arenado both actually had pretty exceptional numbers. Personally I buy Uribe’s a bit more. Still, my guess is that Wright wins on name recognition. After all, Uribe and Arenado could split the analytical component of the vote.
NL, shortstop: Ian Desmond, Andrelton Simmons, Troy Tulowitzki
NL, left field: Carlos Gonzalez, Starling Marte, Eric Young Jr.
Gonzalez’s arm would have earned him the award if he had been able to play in the second half. Marte, though, was the better choice regardless, and since he did play an extra couple of hundred innings, I think he’ll be the pick.
NL, center field: Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen, Denard Span
McCutchen can have the MVP, but Gomez is far more deserving of the Gold Glove. Of course, that was true last year, too, and McCutchen was still the choice. I’m not sure the analytics component of the vote will sway that. I’m guessing McCutchen.
Also, Juan Lagares deserved a nomination here. He played more innings in center than Young did in left or Jason Heyward did in right.
NL, right field: Jay Bruce, Jason Heyward, Gerardo Parra
Heyward won last year, but he was limited to 104 games this year and started just 76 in right field. He is great, but so is Parra and Parra was out there for an extra 350 innings. Still, I imagine Heyward will be the selection.
NL, pitcher: Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright
No Mike Leake? Anyway, Wainwright was the only pitcher in either league to be involved in six double plays, and he didn’t commit a single error. Botched World Series popup not withstanding, he should be the pick. Greinke can settle for the Silver Slugger.