2012 Fielding Awards
Last night the Gold Glove awards were announced, and our very own Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano were named to the American League winners. This is Robinson’s 2nd time winning the award (2010) and Tex’s 5th win, previously taking home the trophy in 2005-6 and 2009-10. The Russ bus was nominated for the award, but was bested by Matt Weiters. The full rundown of winners is as follows:
Unlike some previous Gold Glove awards, this list isn’t quite as likely to cause a rash of laptop homicides. Yankee players have been on both sides of the GG travesty; Tino losing out to some guy that barely played the position, Jeter taking top honors two years ago over Asdrubal Cabrera among others and Brett Gardner getting the cold shoulder the previous two seasons come to mind. While there are certainly some snubs here, we’ve seen worse. Most notable on my list would be Mike Trout, but he may have lost some votes for playing another position as well *cough Palmeiro cough*. Brendan Ryan was also overlooked, and lost out to JJ Hardy who put up better dinosaur numbers but fell far short of Ryan’s DRS (27 compared to 18) and UZR (14.7 compared to 11.4). Part of the rub there could well be the hitting component, which somehow seems to creep into the managers and coaches minds when voting in their favorites.
With the GG stuff out of the way, let’s get to what I consider the real defensive player awards, The Fielding Bible Awards, brought to you by Bill James and John Dewan. The FB awards the best nine players, one from each position, regardless of the league they play in using scouting, sabermetrics and their own personal observations to come to their conclusions. The panel consists of ten experts, including James and Dewan, along with other notables Peter Gammons, Doug Glanville and Joe Posnaski. Below are the winners of the 2012 Fielding Bible Awards, along with some notes pulled from the FB site:
C-Yadier Molina Yadi lost out last year to the Matt Weiters, but made a comeback to win his fifth FB award. He threw out an outstanding 46% of runners and saved four runs on bunts alone, leaving him with a 16 DRS on the year.
1B-Mark Teixeira Mark was noted for his superb DRS in both 2003 and 2005; 19 and 13 runs saved respectively. In 2008 he ran up a 21 DRS but lost out to Albert Pujols.
2B-Darwin Barney In his second year, Barney blew away the field saving 26 runs at second base. Robinson Cano came in second in the voting, postin a 15 DRS on the year to give a little perspective. Barney flat out killed it this year.
SS-Brendan Ryan This kid is probably one of, if not the best defender in baseball the last few years. His 67 DRS the last three years is the best mark in baseball, and the next highest (Bourn, 51) isn’t even close. As good as that is, had Gardner stayed healthy in 2012 he may have easily beat that.It was Ryan’s .194 average that might have cost him the GG award, but I’d much rather take home the top honor from the FB any day.
3B-Adrian Beltre This makes Beltre’s fourth FB title, and not without cause. The guy has been amazing for some time now, but 2012 was one of the closest calls with Mike Moustakas nipping at his heels.
P-Mark Buehrle Still the champ, Mark takes home his fourth consecutive FB award. In nine years, only 42 runners have swiped a base on him, while 48 have been thrown out and another 31 have been picked off by Buehrle. He’s also racked up a 36 DRS in that span. Mark joins Molina and Gordon as unanimous winner in 2012.
LF-Alex Gordon With the two kings of the LF FB award, Carl Crawford and Brett Gardner out of the mix this year Gordon stepped in to take the title. Similar to Gardner, he lapped the field in 2012 and saved 24 runs on defense with Martin Prado (12) a distant second.
CF-Mike Trout No snub from the fellas of the FB panel here. Mike Trout would have had a shot at matching Fred Lynn in winning the GG, ROY and MVP in the same year had he not been beat out by Adam Jones. Trout’s incredible range allowed him to make outs on 23 more balls than the average CF’er on plays hit deep. He also robbed four home runs this year, besting Cameron Maybin who swiped three from going over the fence.
RF-Jason Heyward After coming close to top honors the previous two seasons this is Jason’s first FB award, saving 20 runs on the season. Despite a below overage gun for a right fielder, he’s made between 30 and 40 more plays than average RF’er the last three years.
So there lie the fielding awards for 2012… who are your picks?