Ivan Rodriguez and Placido Polanco walked away with gold gloves today. While neither was a surprise, it’s the omissions from the Tigers that are somewhat glaring. Still, Pudge is Pudge and he’s going to win gold gloves until he shows serious signs of deterioriation while Polanco went the entire season without making an error while posting the second best zone rating in the American League. It’s hard to argue about either one of these guys.
Things get odd when you look at the outfield. Ichiro won and he was probably the best fielding outfielder in all of baseball so there’s not much of an argument there. Torii Hunter won again and while he was only decent this year, he had six gold gloves prior to this season and he was good enough to where, like Pudge, he’s going to win an award or two well past his prime out in the field. The oddity is Grady Sizemore. Sizemore, who was eighth in the American League in zone rating which is hardly spectacular and the only thing you can really say about him is he led the league (tied) in plays. And if you don’t like zone rating, Baseball Prospectus actually has Sizemore at 7 fielding runs below average so Sizemore actually cost his team almost a game compared to what an average centerfielder would have given his team.
Curtis Granderson’s season in center this year was nothing short of spectacular and in my opinion, he got robbed. He led the league with a .921 zone rating and his 85 plays outside of the zone were second to Ichiro and almost double the amount Sizemore had (45). Baseball Prospectus had Granderson at 26 runs above average so the difference between Sizemore and Granderson was more then three wins in favor of Granderson.
The other guy who probably got the shaft was Brandon Inge. Adrian Beltre walked away with the award and he probably should have won it last year. Instead, the managers punched Eric Chavez’s ticket again so Beltre lost out. In what looks like an attempt to make up for it, they gave the award to Beltre this year. Inge was second in the American League with .712 zone rating (Beltre was seventh with .668) and Inge made just one play less then Beltre did outside of the zone. Inge finished the season with 16 fielding runs above average where as Beltre had just two fielding runs above average. So while we’re not talking about as significant of a difference between Granderson and Sizemore, we’re still talking about more then one win between the two in the field.
I’m still convinced Inge will win a gold glove in his future. Granderson might have a tougher time but you have to be impressed with a guy who was pegged as a corner outfielder just a couple of years ago.