Braves’ Gold Glove Nominees Announced

This morning, Rawlings Sports announced via twitter their finalists for the 2013 Gold Glove Awards.  The selection method appears to be changing – hopefully for the better – over past years, as data from SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research; twitter: @SABR) provided information to the voters – the managers and players.  Three finalists are announced for each position in each league.

Two Atlanta Braves are among the nominees:  Shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward for Right Field.

 

Simmons

We’ve chronicled through the season just how well Simmons has manned his athletically-demanding position in 2013 – with historic numbers to prove it.  Seemingly every week, he did something that was GIF-worthy.  So it’s fitting that we look at a couple:

Well, heck, somebody put together a whole list of them:  click here and enjoy.

If there was ever a mortal lock on this award, if should be this year, this position:  it will be a total upset if Simba doesn’t get it.  Oh, I almost forgot:  Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Desmond are also going to be on that ballot.

 

Heyward

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Now this one may be a bit more of a nail-biter.  Jason won the award for 2012, but there’s reasons that he might not repeat for 2013.  The reason?  697.2 innings in RF this year – and he finished 2013 in Center Field.  He was doing well again in RF (no errors; 15 Defensive Runs Saved [DRS] vs. 20 in almost twice the innings in 2012; UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating)/150 numbers are essentially the same), but he was out for close to half the year.

Well, okay – what’s his competition?  Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce and Arizona’s Gerardo Parra are the other finalists.

Jay Bruce logged 1438.2 innings in RF this year:  UZR/150 of 10.1, 18 DRS, 3 errors.  By those numbers, this was probably the best season he’s had defensively – UZR doesn’t really like him that much, though his Range rating (RZR was .968 – besting Jason’s .947).

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Parra bounced around the outfield in 2013 himself:  41 innings in LF, 272 in Center; 1042 in RF.  He was better on the corners, though committed no errors in any of them.  His DRS for RF was 23 and UZR/150 was 32.3 with a Range rating that matched Jason’s .947.  Just based on those numbers alone, you’d probably have to give the nod to Parra.  However, that’s not the only criteria, and the voters (players and managers) tend to consider other factors – offense and prior defensive reputation definitely included.  I would rate this as a coin-flip contest between Heyward and Parra.

 

Wait a Second… no Freddie?

Ummmm…. no.  Our erstwhile slick splitting scooper was snubbed.  The finalists for first base are the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez, and Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In short:  defensive metrics loathe Freddie Freeman.  It’s a range thing.  Among qualifiers, he doesn’t have the worst range rating, but he’s fifth and that drags down his overall rating.  He also tied for the National League worst with 8 fielding errors.  His throwing errors were low (2), but the fielding errors honestly matter a bit more.

Freddie was credited with 55 “scoops” at first base – obviously a highlight of his defensive abilities, but Godschmidt had a crazy-high number:  74 this year (Freddie was second with 10% fewer innings).

In terms of the UZR numbers:  Rizzo was #1, Brandon Belt second, AGonz 3rd, Goldschmidt 4th, and Freddie 5th.  Belt seems at first glance to be a finalist snub as well, but he had a lot fewer chances at first base this year – and fewer innings.

Hard to tell who wins this race – there’s good reasons to call it for any of the finalists:  Gonzalez based on reputation, Rizzo on the numbers alone, and Goldschmidt when adding the offense.  West coast voters could split on the LA/AZ players and give the glove to Rizzo.  I’m going to guess that Goldschmidt gets it anyway.

————–

Winners of the awards will be announced next Tuesday evening – October 29 – in an event sponsored by American Airlines… kind of a ‘recursive’ sponsorship of the Rawlings award.  Welcome to America:  what a country!

Topics: Atlanta Braves, Awards, Gold Glove, Gold Glove Nominations

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  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    Shame about Freddie. I’d give it to Simba for sure. JHey… uhmmm. I guess.

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  • Jesus

    fine point about Freemanm he’s a good 1b, but fans are blinded as they don’t get to see how limited his range truly is. When you see guys like Napoli,A-gon and Rizzo play, you can see the difference

    • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

      Yeah, Braves fans will hate me, but they won’t be the first. You’re absolutely correct. Freddie’s range is not as bad as some think it is, because he is sort of “lumbering” when he moves, and it appears he’s slow or clunky. He makes more errors than Napoli, Rizzo, etc. though, which is somewhat akin to his slightly more limited range.

      • Jesus

        He’s a big dude, bigger than most of the other 1b guys out there, so his range is going to be limited. it’s just harder to get more mass moving in any given direction. Heyward was the 2nd best RF’er in the NL this year, but he did that in a lot less innings, more innings and he would have been a lot better. Interesting to see if Parra edges him out, or if the voters consider Heyward’s CF time as a plus .

  • Matthew Jones

    All I have to say is that they’d better give the dang GG to Simba. If they don’t, then the statheads may all destroy the internet. :D