Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Selecting a Gold Glove Winner

We’re talking about the GOLD GLOVE AWARD. What third-baseman should be held up as the example of fielding excellence. Brooks Robinson. Clete Boyer.

Did Gold Glove voters consider Ozzie Smith’s hitting or base stealing abilities? To not consider Mr. Felix for a Gold Glove because of his lack of hitting, or because nobody knows him, speaks of big-city / regional media bias. Perhaps the Gold Gloves should be divided between the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Red Sox!

Likewise games played should be a factor, though it’s not as big a deal as when determining the MVP. Perhaps it’s like having enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title. Fielding percentage, range factor, great plays – yes, they all should be considered. Errors are a valid statistic, certainly not antiquated.

The MLB rulebook concerning Official Scorekeeping addresses errors in section 10.12. When it comes down to it, it says: “…in the scorer's judgment, the fielder could have handled the ball with ordinary effort, the official scorer shall charge such fielder with an error.”

While there may be minor differences in judgments of official scorers in different cities, those differences are minute. Review each error? I trust the scorers…they’ve attended tons of games just to qualify, many more than you or me. You could review the errors to see how greatly they contributed to the outcome of that game. The Mets had a losing record in games Wright committed an error. Great plays could be reviewed and tabulated as well.

Players make spectacular plays, but Zimmerman and Wright botched ordinary plays twice as often as Felix, Ramirez, and Jones. For that reason alone the GOLD GLOVE shouldn’t be given to Zim or Wright.

We’re pulling each other’s chains here. A bunch of words and pretty pictures aren’t convincing arguments, guys. I’ve only been watching / studying / loving baseball over all other sports for 45 years, but I don’t know everything. My CPA friend is more of a student of the game than me. He agrees that Wright shouldn’t have won. The last post gave the opinion of a veteran MLB beat-writer (who’s always respected Wright’s hitting), who was similarly perplexed.

Upon further review, perhaps travesty is a strong word. Between Zim, Wright, Felix, Ramirez, and Jones, there are numerous arguments and perhaps no clear favorite. But using any quantifiable measure of fielding, what places Wright first?

I can't believe the responses coming from the Fox Sports bloggers regarding Gold Glove criteria on my Tilting Windmills blog. I hadn’t been posting much there, but Saturday night I wrote up the Top 25 college football players list. About the same time I read DOB’s post on the Gold Glove, and quickly quoted him on the Fox blog. Evidently some thing Wright worthy. Range, hitting, and stolen bases matter more than errors!

Last night I checked the box score of every Met loss. Wright made 11 errors in losses, only 10 errors came when the Mets won. I didn’t review each box to see how damaging the error was.

Games / Error
Zimmerman 7.0
Wright 7.6
A. Ramirez 12.4
C. Jones 13.8

I’m sure Felix was closer to Jones/Ramirez than Wright/Zim.

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