Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson did not win a Gold Glove Award this year, but he won a more relevant award. He was voted the top center fielder on the Fielding Bible All Defensive Team for 2011. The Fielding Bible awards are selected by a diverse group including statisticians, Baseball Info Solutions Video Scouts who study every game, sports writers, former MLB outfielder Doug Glanville and even fans. The fans were included as part of Tom Tango's Fan Scouting Report, a survey in which some of you participated.
The Gold Glove awards are selected by MLB managers and coaches. That sounds like a good idea on the surface. However, it appears that they don't always take the vote seriously. One year they named Rafael Pameiro the Gold Glove first baseman despite playing only 28 games at the position all year. Another year, Tigers manager Jim Leyland admitted that good offense is one of the criteria many voters use, which doesn't make much sense. That might explain why Derek Jeter has won multiple Gold Glove Awards despite consistently posting some of the poorest fielding statistics in the game.
This year, every Fielding Bible voter had Jackson as a top three center fielder except the fans. He finished fifth in the fan voting. The only other Tiger to finish in the top ten for his position was catcher Alex Avila, who finished eighth. Orioles receiver Matt Weiters, who also won the American League Gold Glove, finished first in the Fielding Bible voting. The statistics suggest that they got it right.
I will comment more on individual fielding during the off-season.