Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Polanco Wins Gold Glove

Placido Polanco was named the Gold Glove award winner among American League second basemen by managers and coaches today. The Gold Glove awards are often based on reputation more than merit but in Polanco's case, they made a reasonable choice. There was no clear cut leader at second base this year but all the data suggest that Polanco was among the best:
  • His 11.1 UZR was best in the majors.
  • He was 7 runs better than average according to the +/- system which placed him third behind Aaron Hill and Dustin Pedroia.
  • The Fielding Bible panel of experts ranked him 4th behind Hill, Pedroia and Ian Kinsler.
So, congratulations to Placido and thanks to the voters for recognizing his achievements.

On the other hand, the voters always make at least one choice which makes no sense at all. This year it was Adam Jones. All the indications are he doesn't deserve it:
  • According to UZR, Jones cost his team 4.7 runs compared to the average center fielder. That was 13th in MLB.
  • He was +7 on the +/- system but that was only good for seventh in the league and 24 runs behind deserving winner Franklyn Gutierrez (+31).
  • The Fielding Bible ranked him 21st in MLB.
  • Even his own fans placed him in the middle of the pack among center fielders.
I'm accustomed to voters automatically giving awards to players like Derek Jeter and Torri Hunter every year based on reputation and offensive skills. But the Jones award is shocking because I didn't even know he had that kind of reputation.

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