2010 NL Gold Glove Predictions

by on October 29, 2010 · 8 comments

The Gold Glove which is technically the “Rawlings Gold Glove Award” is voted on by the managers and coaches of each league.  Voters are not permitted to vote for players from their own team in an effort to eliminate bias.  That said, it’s probably fair to say that most voters don’t take the time to analyze detailed sabermetric reports on a position-by-position basis.  While that probably shouldn’t be the sole means of assessment, it would be nice to know that the voters aren’t basing their votes solely on reputation.  Instead of relying on reputations or statistics alone, I’ve cranked up the ol’ “Abner Doubleday Predict-o-Matic 3000″ to predict winners for the 2010 Gold Glove awards.  Here is what the machine churned out for us:

WINNERS

  • Catcher- Yadier Molina (.995 Fielding %, 7.70 RF, 3.276 ZR, 33/68 CS, 3.24 CERA, 5 E) – Molina probably could win this on reputation alone, but he’s also got the numbers to back it up. 
  • 1B- Albert Pujols(.998 Fielding %, 10.53 RF, 2.401 ZR) – With A-Gon having an off-year, this was Albert’s for the taking, and he went out and took it. 
  • 2BBrandon Phillips (.996 Fielding %, 4.81 RF, 5.289 ZR, 3 E, 703 TC) – Clearly Phillips didn’t allow an up and down year at the plate affect his play in the field.  Great sign for a Reds team that benefited greatly from solid defense up the middle.
  • 3B- Placido Polanco (.986 Fielding %, 2.90 RF, 8.658 ZR, 5 E, 351 TC) -  He won it last year with Detroit, and he just keeps getting better with age. 
  • SS- Troy Tulowitzki (.984 Fielding %, 5.06 RF, 4.887 ZR, 10 E, 609 TC) – He put together a complete package of highlights and solid defensive stops this year.  I don’t see how he loses this one. 
  • OF- Andre Ethier(.996 Fielding %, 1.79 RF, 14.178 ZR, 6 A, 1 E, 230 TC) – Toughest call of the outfielders, but Ethier gets the nod for terrific zone rating. 
  • OF- Michael Bourn(.992 Fielding %, 2.78 RF, 9.1116 ZR, 8 A, 3 E, 370 TC) – Covers ground like a tarp.  Bonus points for dealing with Tal’s hill.
  • OF- Shane Victorino (.995 Fielding %, 2.64 RF, 9.601 ZR, 11 A, 2 E, 373 TC) – Best combination of sure hands and a cannon arm. 
  • PBronson Arroyo (1.000 Fielding %, 2.04 RF, 12.571 ZR, 0 E, 5 DP, 49 TC)

HONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Catcher- Carlos Ruiz (.993 Fielding %, 8.07 RF, 3.126 ZR, 20/70 CS, 3.33 CERA, 14 E) – Tough break playing in the same league as Yadier Molina, but ”Chooch” has quietly put together a pretty good start to a career in Philly including some valuable playoff experience.
  • 1B- James Loney(.997 Fielding %, 9.17 RF, 2.786 ZR) – Loney doesn’t get the attention that Adrian Gonzalez does, but he made half as many errors as Gonzalez, and that shouldn’t be overlooked. 
  • 2BFreddy Sanchez (.991 Fielding %, 4.33 RF, 5.834 ZR, 2 E, 458 TC) – Former batting champ can handle the leather as well.  He’s probably one of the few $6M/yr bargains ever in MLB.
  • 3B- Scott Rolen (.977 Fielding %, 2.87 RF, 8.697 ZR, 8 E, 350 TC) – He’s lost a step, but that’s no slight for a guy who was written off by many years ago.
  • SS- Brendan Ryan(.974 Fielding %, 5.01 RF, 4.924 ZR, 17 E, 644 TC) – Made just as many highlight plays as Tulo, but he made far too many errors.
  • OFMarlon Byrd (.992 Fielding %, 2.69 RF, 9.479 ZR, 3 E, 380 TC)
  • OF- Jeff Francoeur (.987 Fielding %, 2.13 RF, 11.779 ZR, 11 A, 3 E, 235 TC)
  • OFDexter Fowler (.996 Fielding %, 2.29 RF, 11.025 ZR, 2 A, 1 E, 242 TC)
  • PAdam Wainwright (.983 Fielding %, 2.23 RF, 11.121 ZR, 1 E, 5 DP, 58 TC) – Reigning GG winner could win based on reputation and a superior highlight reel, but Arroyo’s superior stats should carry the day. 

 Agree?  Disagree?  Bring it on!  The “Abner Doubleday Predict-o-Matic 3000″ can handle the criticism.  At this point, there are no wrong answers. 

Definitions of Baseball Terms Used For The Sake of Sounding Knowledgeable

  • Fielding % -> Fielding percentage = ( putouts + assists ) / ( putouts + assists + errors )
  • RF -> Range factor = (putouts + assists) / 9 innings
  • ZR -> Zone rating = percentage of balls fielded in player’s typical defensive “zone”
  • TC -> Total chances
  • CERA -> Catcher’s earned run average = earned run average of team’s pitchers with specific catcher behind the plate
  • E -> Errors
  • A -> Assists
  • CS -> Caught stealing
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Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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{ 8 comments }

William October 30, 2010

Great list. Don’t think there is a controversial pick among your litter

Kyle November 8, 2010

UZR should be used here instead of ZR. It’s clear to me that Andres Torres deserves an NL gold glove this season. He’s quite possibly the best fielding outfielder that I’ve seen in San Francisco since I’ve been watching the Giants (started in 2001). The fact that he’s not even in your honorable mentions is disturbing IMO. There’s a bunch of problems that I have with the list… But I’ll save it cuz everyone hates the saber peeps.

Lynn Walker November 9, 2010

Couldn’t agree more. Torres deserves the Gold Glove this year and somebody must be feeding wrong info into the machine if he’s not even mentioned. Makes the whole list sound a little bogus, doesn’t it?

Dennis November 9, 2010

To both Kyle & Lynn, I first want to thank you both for taking the time to read PH8 and provide feedback. I’d also like to ask that you both reconsider your complaints, because I believe that you both completely missed the point of the blog post. The point was to use recent history to PREDICT future results, and it was not an article about who I personally believe deserves to win the Gold Glove awards.

As for UZR and ZR, I believe that both are useful evaluation tools and both suffer from inherent assumptive flaws that are naturally present for most compilative statistics. That’s completely a sabermetric issue and a completely different story, and it’s not even relevant to this particular discussion. For this discussion, I simply determined that ZR has been a better predictor of GG awards for outfielders for the past 3 years than UZR when combined with a few other stats. It’s not an exact science, but it’s better guesswork than one might imagine.

Now, if you are even remotely interested in my personal views on this particular subject, I’ll give you a disclaimer. I’m a huge fan of Torres, Jay Bruce, and Angel Pagan. The primary obstacle for Torres is that he split time among LF-CF-RF along the lines of 37-84-43 games, and that tends to hurt players, because they aren’t “identified” with a particular OF position. Obviously, this is absurd, because the GG isn’t split into OF by position, but it is what it is. The other potential obstacle for Torres is lack of exposure. I question whether or not he received enough face time with voters to make a difference, although I think his playoff experience will make him an early favorite for 2011 without a doubt. If he does happen to win this year, then you could make a case for him being a frontrunner for the next several years based on reputation alone. Then again, you both are quick to tear down that which you don’t really understand, so this may just be “bogus” to both of you.

Andrew November 10, 2010

I must admit I went online to see if Torres was announced as the winner already… You all make interesting points about it… but if Torres doesn’t get the award because he plays multiple positions in the out field often times in one game… including shared time in one of the most difficult right fields you can be in, in all of baseball… well then the glove isn’t really gold at all is it. I think that it is kind of silly to post something a machine say and then act as if it is not your pick when people say they have beef with it… You should take the abuse on the issue… or post your own picks and take the abuse on those along with what your calculator says. I mean really… what do you expect people to write if they can’t object? Not all of us can be like william!

Dennis November 10, 2010

If detractors can do better than the equivalent of “You’re list is stupid, and I don’t like it.”, I’ll gladly take the abuse. However, it’s a list of “predictions” which is based on some rudimentary attempt to align some basic components with recent selections (reverse criteria appliation). In theory, there should be nothing to really “defend” at all, because it’s simply a theoretical exercise. Now, if I wrote an article in which I declared that I had decided to pick winners in my own opinion, that would set a completely different tone.

This is more like “Hey, I’m guessing who will win. Why don’t you guess who will win? When we’re both 6/9, then we’ll get together and complain about why we couldn’t guess all 9.”

As for Torres playing in “one of the most difficult right fields you can be in”, that statement is representative of the very problem I have with the Gold Glove awards. While I agree with the premise behind what you say, I don’t believe that there is a way to perfectly quantify just how difficult that right field position is. There is no RF-park day/night LHP/RHP soft/medium/hard UZR factor, and I really hope that there never is. That’s just too much. If he’s involved in a toss-up against another player, I would hope that the degree of difficult comes in to play, but I don’t think that it always is. That’s why I didn’t pick him.

Kyle November 10, 2010

Good response Dennis. Sorry if I sounded snarky, but you cleared up the ‘prediction’ aspect of it… Which I should have recognized, obviously. But you did give your opinions on each of these players, and so that’s why I was a bit confused. It was more just me being bitter because I’m a diehard Giants fan and I hate how one of my favorite players (if not my favorite player) isn’t recognized as much as he should be. You definitely make good points about how gold glove winners are awarded. But it should be pointed out that Carlos Gonzalez won a gold glove this year despite having split time between all 3 outfield positions (you were consistent in your thought process by not putting him on the list). I definitely recognize it as an obstacle though… But it really shouldn’t be an obstacle if you’re THAT good, which Torres is.
I think one other reason to add about Torres not being picked, is that he made everything look so easy that he didn’t manage to have ‘highlight’ diving catches and things of that sort. He was under the ball immediately and didn’t mess around. He managed some highlight catches of course, and they really looked incredible when you recognize just how much ground he covered because of his excellent jumps and track-runner speed.

Dennis November 10, 2010

Kyle, I really do appreciate you taking the time to reply, and I fully appreciate your feelings about Torres. One aspect of defense that I think gets overlooked is positioning, and Torres is really good at that. In a certain sense, he may be somewhat penalized for good positioning, because he doesn’t have to make a mad sprint to track down a ball with a diving play that becomes the “highlight” play you referred to. That’s a shame, but there really is no way for voters to appreciate all those subtle differences unless they actually watch all the potential award winners play a lot.

No, splitting time shouldn’t be an obstacle, and I can’t explain the Carlos Gonzalez thing at all. My guess is that he did have a few good highlight plays and a great offensive year that kept him on ESPN quite a lot, and you really can’t underrate the impact media exposure has on the Gold Glove awards. Far too many voters simply don’t stay up and see enough NL West games I suspect.

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