Tag: Gold Gloves

gold glove

Derek Jeter denied a National League Gold Glove award


Derek Jeter won his fifth American League Gold Glove yesterday, but in a tremendous slight to the future Hall of Famer he’s been denied the National League version of the award.

Jeter not actually playing in the NL perhaps made it difficult to honor him, but then again Jeter not actually being a good defensive shortstop didn’t keep the AL from giving him the hardware.

Here are the NL winners:

C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B – Albert Pujols, Cardinals
2B – Brandon Phillips, Reds
SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
3B – Scott Rolen, Reds
OF – Shane Victorino, Phillies
OF – Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
OF – Michael Bourn, Astros
P – Bronson Arroyo, Reds

Nothing close to yesterday’s Jeter craziness and in fact I’d say the NL did a pretty solid job as a whole.

Ryan Zimmerman won the award at third base last season only to be displaced by Rolen this year. I tend to think Zimmerman is the best defensive third baseman in baseball right now, but Rolen held that title for a long time and he’s still very, very good. It’s his eighth career Gold Glove.

Phillips over Chase Utley at second base is questionable based on advanced defensive metrics, but Utley’s defensive reputation has never quite matched his numbers and Phillips is plenty good.

Jay Bruce, Jason Heyward, and Chris Young are among the outfield snubs and it’s interesting that Carlos Gonzalez gets his first Gold Glove despite the voters’ previous tendency to pick “outfielders” rather than a left fielder, a center fielder, and a right fielder.

Zimmerman, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Jimmy Rollins, and Adam Wainwright all won a Gold Glove in the NL last season and didn’t get one this year despite remaining the league, with Molina, Bourn, and Victorino the only back-to-back winners.

Derek Jeter now has more Gold Glove awards than all but four shortstops in baseball history

Mark Texeira, Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter has never fared well in advanced defensive statistics, typically ranking somewhere between below average and awful. He also now has five Gold Glove awards and a legion of Yankees fans who’ll swear he’s a great defender, so clearly not everyone cares about defensive statistics.

And that’s fine, but the notion that Jeter, at age 36, was the best defensive shortstop in the American League this season is simply absurd, whether you love defensive statistics, hate defensive statistics, or merely prefer the Ultimate Warrior to Ultimate Zone Rating.

Derek Jeter is a lot of things, including one of the best players of this era and a deserving future Hall of Famer, but he’s not the best defensive shortstop in the American League. He just isn’t. This is as close to a fact as something relatively subjective can get.

As for who was the AL’s best defensive shortstop, Ultimate Zone Rating says Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox and The Fielding Bible electorate agreed. There’s also Cliff Pennington, J.J. Hardy, Cesar Izturis, Elvis Andrus, and … well, the list of shortstops who’re better than Jeter defensively is a long one. And yet Jeter now has more Gold Glove awards than every shortstop in the history of baseball save for Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, Luis Aparicio, and Mark Bellanger. Seriously.

I stopped being shocked or even especially frustrated by the Gold Glove voting somewhere between Rafael Palmeiro winning the award at first base in 1999 despite playing a grand total of 28 games in the field and Jeter winning three in a row from 2004-2006. In fact, at this point I’m far more surprised about this year’s winners at the other eight positions being mostly deserving than I am about Jeter winning yet another completely undeserved award.