Gold Glove Winners Announced Last Night

Kiermaier robbing Machado’s HR.

Here is a list of winners for everyone to argue:


Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel, Astros

Catcher: Salvador Perez, Royals

First base: Eric Hosmer, Royals

Second base: Jose Altuve, Astros

Third base: Manny Machado, Orioles

Shortstop: Alcides Escobar, Royals

Left field: Yoenis Cespedes, Tigers

Center field: Kevin Kiermaier, Rays

Right field: Kole Calhoun, Angels


Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Dodgers

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

First base: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Second base: Dee Gordon, Marlins

Third base: Nolan Arenado, Rockies

Shortstop: Brandon Crawford, Giants

Left field: Starling Marte, Pirates

Center field: A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks

Right field: Jason Heyward, Cardinals

Of note, Yadier Molina surpasses Bob Boone with his 8th Gold Glove, although really, Molina? Okay. Three Royals, Escobar, Hosmer, and Perez also won Gold Gloves. In the National League, Nolan Arenado won his third consecutive shiny glove.

(Why Kiermaier’s picture? Because his defensive metrics are better than anyone else in baseball, it was well deserved, and I’m a shameless homer. 🙂 )

99 thoughts on “Gold Glove Winners Announced Last Night

      1. If it were possible to make kcrobert’s head explode, I’d send him the list of 1B so he could spazz at Miggy being 4th and above Hosmer…because, you know, he maintains that Hosmer’s defense makes him more valuable than Miggy (and makes up for the difference in offense).


      2. And yet Fangraphs has Simmons ahead of Crawford and Beltre ahead of Manny. Going to “defensive numbers aren’t perfect”. I guess what I really haven’t been able to grasp is why there’s such a disparity inn the two methods of evaluation.


        1. That’s interesting. I’ll check out Fangraph’s numbers. Here’s how SABR computes their numbers:

          “What fielding metrics make up the SDI?

          The SDI is built from two types of defensive metrics — those that come from batted ball location-based data, and those which originate from the play-by-play records of games. We gave more weight (70%) to the batted ball location-based metrics, which evaluate the degree to which a fielder makes plays in specific zones on the diamond. The player’s performance is measured in comparison to his peers. The play-by-play based metrics (30% of the SDI) are important in that they approach defensive measurement from an alternative vantage point — a more generalized approach that estimates the number of batted balls hit into a fielder’s area.

          Within the batted ball location-based category, we’ve included 3 measures — Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) from John Dewan’s company, Baseball Info Solutions; Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), authored by noted sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman; and Runs Effectively Defended (RED) from Chris Dial. The play-by-play based metrics include two measures: Defensive Regression Analysis (DRA) from Michael Humphreys and Total Zone Rating (TZ).”


      3. In Simmon’s case the disparity has to be based on range. That is where he excels so fantastically. And that to me is where the defensive metrics struggle. If you don’t get to the ball you can’t commit an error. But if you get to it and then close out the play 95% of the time you are better. But the metrics may not capture all of that. Just the 5% that are errors.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Fielding Bible also has excellent taste in center fielders. “Kevin Kiermaier did what no other defensive player has ever done. He recorded 42 Defensive Runs Saved, the highest total since Baseball Info Solutions developed this metric in 2003. The thing that sets him apart from all other center fielders is his ability to range deep in center stealing doubles and triples right and left. The metric that really highlights this is: he saved an incredible 65 bases on the plays he made compared to an average center fielder. That’s a lot of dead doubles and triples! The next best center fielder in bases saved was Arizona’s A.J. Pollock, far behind with 38. Kiermaier was a unanimous choice by the voters.”

          Yes, I am Kiermaier’s press agent, why do you ask?

          Liked by 1 person

      4. Hi there Sally! 🙂

        Contrast with Odubel Herrera whose adventures in center field induced lots of Phan Heart Attacks, especially on the day Cole Hamels no-hit the Cubs. We can but hope that his outfield defense improves with time.


    1. I am seriously stumped this morning. Pillar won the Wilson award over Kiermaier. Pillar is excellent, but Kiermaier was outstanding–better than him in every defensive metric. Wtf?


  1. One other thought. Having Kazmir at Houston for two months really made me appreciate a pitcher who can field his position. Even the home announcers gagged on how he fielded.


        1. Nope. My main point though, was…if you are going to complain about deserving players on your team not getting it…you have to balance that out by recognizing when undeserving players on your team win too.

          The GGs aren’t as bad as they used to be, but clearly there is still a lot of laziness in the voting.

          There is so much inertia in votes that it would be like giving a pitcher with a 5.00 ERA this year the CY because he used to be awesome.


        2. Of course. I think Scout and stex are being very gracious in pointing out that players on their own team might have been less than deserving. I’m a homer, but I like to think I’m fair. If someone on my rooting interest won it who didn’t deserve it, I would point it out myself. (I don’t think David Price deserved the Cy Young the year he won it. I was happy, but Verlander was better that year.)

          A very deserving player on my rooting interest (“my team”–he, I don’t own them) won it this year by excelling over every other major leaguer in practically every known defensive metric this year. In past years, Kiermaier still would have lost to Trout, who is no slouch defensively himself because Trout is far superior offensively, played on a winning team, and is much more well known. I’m happy for him. I know it meant a lot to the kid from Indiana.


        3. Yeah, the voting has improved. Social media and highlight shows don’t hurt. K made so many “oh my fucking god how the hell did he do that” catches that he couldn’t be ignored.

          I don’t know if Molina is the best catcher in the NL anymore or not…and I really don’t think anyone knows. Catcher defense (which one could argue includes everything they do to help prevent runs, including managing the pitchers and calling games) is easily the most poorly measured on-the-field aspect of baseball. I think most experts would make a guess, but admit that it was impossible to really know….kinda of how it is easy to identify which managers are good or bad at in-game strategy, but most people admit that those things are relatively small parts of the value managers provide….so I have faith that an allegedly smart organization is right that Matheny is a good manager despite his on-the-field short comings.


        4. I guess, if I am being honest, the 2nd most poorly estimated defensive position is 1B. I guess it is possible that Hosmer does some important defensive things well that the metrics don’t currently take into account. At the very least, I know that I don’t know.

          I know he looks average, and that the current metrics think he’s about average….but I know they aren’t very good metrics for what first basemen have to do. shrug


      1. What I don’t understand about Royals fans is that they homer so much over Moose Tacos and Hosmer when they have really good players (Cain, Perez) they should rave about instead. They just spout indiscriminately. I’m never going on about Easy Out Castellanos’ defensive work. Ever.


        1. Every fan base has their blind spots.

          A large portion of the Cardinal fan base was really pissed they let Eckstein go and many of those same people think Holliday sucks and was a horrible signing.

          People are stupid and fans are people.


        2. You are most welcome.

          Not my fault, overcast and misting here today.

          And it is a holiday, but I am at work.


        3. Hmmm, cloudy with incoming storms here. My brother and his wife got home yesterday, so we’re doing some bonding. He looks good. I really needed that uplift from Paper “Power of Positive Thinking” Lions though. 😉

          Why are you working?


        4. Um….busy and stuff.

          Life of an academic scientist, I guess.

          We also have a Belgian PhD student visiting this fall (October and November), so I am making an effort to be around as much as possible….kinda shitty to say “yeah, come on over to collaborate” and not be available as much as possible. He leaves in a couple of weeks…trying to make sure he makes the progress he needs before heading off….even though these days remote collaboration is pretty easy after the relationship is established.


        5. Ha. No. But the first week he was here one of the grad students grilled him about the stereo types, he said something like, “Ok. Let’s get the stereotypes out of the way. You like Beer? (no) Chocolate? (of course) Waffles? (of course)….” not sure what came next…don’t remember the sprouts.


        6. Well, you should be used to that by now.

          If it helps, there have been a couple of times when he couldn’t get an analysis to run and when asked why that might be I said, “Probably because you are Flemmish.”


        7. You could really annoy him by saying something about liking tulips and when he says that’s Dutch, not Belgian, you can just shrug and say Americans don’t know geography…or say you thought Belgium was part of the Netherlands… he he


        8. I already struck an apparently exposed nerve when I ask if the part of Belgium he is from is essentially ethnically Dutch….he responded with a firm “NO!” before I even finished the question.


        9. Tell him you love how they welcomed the Puritans as religious refugees before they came to America.


        10. Yeah, I’ll get right on that…should be really easy to work that into a conversation.

          I already make fun of his computer as all commands and software are in Dutch…which just looks like randomly generated strings of letters.


        11. I would edit it to every fan has his or her blind spots. Sometimes I have to check the numbers because my eyes deceive me. I am aware that whether I like a player or a team influences my recall, so I go to the data, which is heartless and objective. Those that think they lack this bias are typically fooling themselves.


        12. Totally.

          There are guys I root SOOOOOO hard for….as you note, I have to keep checking the data to maintain some semblance of realism about how good they are (or, usually, aren’t).


          Liked by 1 person

        13. I had to do that with yes, Kiermaier, again. I wanted to make sure he wasn’t just another gritty white guy like Sam Fuld who made seemingly great plays that made highlight shows but really took lousy inefficient routes and made routine plays look hard and so on because I liked how hard he plays. Then when the data backed up my eyes–yes!! He really is awesome!


        14. This is like the reverse of a lot of my experiences this year looking up young Cubs….nope, they really are very good. Damn!


        1. Pete was removed from the 40-man roster. I think he can choose to be a FA now if he wants to…haven’t heard anything.


      2. Wow, Paper, in reference to your Belgian guest. I spent the best part of two years commuting to western Holland in a previous job. The Belgians never got over being annexed in 1814 and still make a big deal about separating in 1839. The Dutch will tell you it’s the biggest mistake the Belgians ever made. Ethnically, it’s unclear whether you say the Dutch are Belgian or the Belgians are Dutch. But it’s clearly not French Belgian.

        And you can hit a nerve with it.

        But great wine and seafood.


        1. Yeah, I 100% unknowingly pounded on that nerve…but he understood it was out of ignorance and let it go.

          He does like wine, rather than beer….and he’s done well eating American food. We took him to a good pizza place and to a 1950s style diner that serves burgers, fries, and shakes…..planning on going to a NY-style Deli this Friday.

          He’s definitely digging the fact that we have so many open spaces and so much public natural land to just hike or bike around.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. FWIW, I did ask him how Belgium came to be a country considering the odd companions Flanders and Wallonia seem to make and he said he didn’t really know what precipitated it. Considering the odd grouping that those two regions, The Netherlands, and Luxemburg make…not a surprise that it split up…but how it split up is weird to me.

          If I had to guess, the Dutch saying Belgium made a mistake is probably like the English saying the US made a mistake.


        3. Well, we’ve made lots of them…but telling the English to GFTS was probably not one of them….I mean, unless you hate baseball and wish we were all soccer playing ponces.


        1. He’s really not. It is hard for a “good” first baseman to have negative DRS and negative UZR. He has the range of a statue. Good fielders actually move.


    1. I’m looking at Machado’s defensive numbers on Fangraphs. They’re pretty good. It’s not an egregious award.For the Fielding Bible award (thanks, FC), he placed 3rd in the voting (101 points), just behind Beltre (102 points).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. The Fielding Bible awards were much better, I wish they did them for each league. This had some real WTF moments (Hosmer being the largest), some slights (Kinsler), and some that were pure inertia despite better players over the past year (Molina).

      I noticed your comment on catching and first base, and while I agree with it I still think that a baseline of the things we can measure is a good starting point. It is unlikely that the things we cannot measure are game breaking, and in most cases I’d be willing to bet that someone who is good at the things we can measure is also decent at the things we do not measure yet, with the inverse being true. Furthermore, as we add to the things we do measure we diminish the potential impact of the things we do not since we are capturing more of the total job.

      I am not saying there couldn’t be a total reversal, OBP has almost completely obsoleted BA for instance, but I think it grows less likely as time goes on. I think Molina was the best defensive catcher in the game for about 4 years. I think he has been superceded. I doubt any new metric will change that too dramatically.


      1. Well, framing has dramatically changed the way we view catchers, and that value is ignored in most catcher metrics and just held separate.

        There is nothing about game calling, and I doubt anyone would argue that the ability to call a game has little effect.

        Game calling is just as unmeasurable as leaderofmenness is for managers.

        Of course, we really don’t know who does or doesn’t call a good game, we just know the narratives.


      2. When it comes to framing, I feel it may have had an unmeasured effect in the past, but as we move increasingly towards well defined strike zones and penalties on umpires who consistently miss them, combined with the fact that umps are not unaware of the tactic that over time it will become less important and impactful. I also feel that it has been somewhat overrated in that it advances certain wishful narratives about specific catchers, and as such is pushed more by fans of those catchers more than those who study catcher defense as a whole.

        As for pitch calling, again I feel this was more important in the past than today. The impression I get is that catchers in most organizations are calling by the book, playing percentages based on a strategy that was set out ahead of time. There is little skill or instinct to it now, if you know what a given batter can do, and what their odds are you make the call. The ability to memorize these details is important, however it would be like gauging a football player by their ability to memorize a playbook, its just an expected task these days for both pitchers and catchers, and increasingly the defense due to the prominence of shifts.

        But the real issue is: There isn’t a lot of evidence that catchers who rate very well in known defensive skills do not also rate well in lesser quantified areas, and vice versa. At least not enough to significantly change the understanding of their contributions. Molina was considered a top defensive catcher long before the discussion of pitch framing. I have little doubt that I-Rod was also good at the skill despite it not being identified at the time.


  2. Injustice is the seasoning that makes palatable the orfseason miasma of awards. It’s the adobo that makes us see red, pump blood, clamor like Luddites. If not for injustice, we’d be crumpled in our barely shaded doorways snoozing away like mestizos at noon, the manure unraked, the seeds mummifying in the gunnysacks, the cows going slatribbed out in the fields. Long may the spawrtsriters of Amerika slurp the teats of their stats, vote for folks they never really watched afield, and ignore the deserving. And long may we impotently bellyache about it.

    While we’re about the business of cultivating cynicism at every level of the hierarchy, my congratulations to Dee “Flash” Gordon, who ackcherley did deserve his Gold Glove award. I watched him fight Sailor Donovan at the YMCA once. He took him out in two rounds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just got some pork chops marinated in adobo and vacuum sealed! And Dee Gordon was very deserving. Wonder if Donnie Baseball will like mangoes as much as avocados?


    1. It looks good, but I’d bet a whole bunch of money that I wouldn’t like it. I’m kinda picky with my food.

      One of my exes loved to take a bunch of breakfast food, throw it all in a pan like that, and then shove it in in the oven for a while. She thought it was delicious…..while I just wished I could have had a plate full of bacons, sausages, eggs and biscuits in their own little piles instead of having them all baked together into one big pile.


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