The Rawlings American League Gold Glove Awards were announced yesterday and, for the second straight year, White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle won in his category. Although many knowledgeable baseball fans have come to view Gold Gloves with a certain amount of cynicism -- the awards are based on the votes of MLB managers and coaches, not any objective defensive metrics -- Buehrle's win still seems well deserved.
As reported last week here on the Deep Dish, Mark also won a Fielding Bible Award this year. Granted, the Fielding Bible awards are also voting based. But the people doing the voting go beyond using (I'm guessing) fielding percentage, errors or the sound of a player's name (whisper it with me, "Derek Jeter") to pick the winners. That's not to say managers and coaches don't know good D when they see it -- after all, they are the guys on the field, not us -- but they're hardly objective observers and surely most of them have better things to do during the season than pore over tape of other teams' defensive wizards in action.
As a result, lesser-known players who deserve to be recognized for their run-saving abilities in the field are often overlooked. Case in point: Alexei Ramirez.
Although Alexei struggled somewhat for a second straight season at the plate, most would agree that he had a stellar season defensively. And at a premium position such as shortstop, that made him a good value to the 2010 White Sox. According to Fangraphs, Ramirez garnered a 10.8 fielding rating (very high) and was 10.8 runs above average in 1,376.2 innings of play per Ultimate Zone Rating (also very high). Without getting too deeply into the numbers, let's just say the guy who won the award, Derek Jeter, didn't rate so well. In fact, it wasn't even close.
So congratulations to Mark Buehrle on another Gold Glove. You won't find too many people arguing against his worthiness. But let's continue to dream a little dream that someday MLB will revise the voting process for Gold Gloves to make it a little more objective. Or, at the very least, let's hope the Fielding Bible Awards start getting a little more name recognition and mainstream media coverage, so guys like Alexei can get some props.