Blog Entry

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?

Posted on: September 20, 2011 10:16 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 10:57 pm

By Evan Brunell

As C. Trent Rosecrans explained when selecting the most-deserving players to win the NL Gold Glove, it's one of baseball's most difficult awards to give out.

An award that should specifically celebrate the aspect of defense in baseball is instead largely given to those who are considered good defenders, but who reign supreme in popularity and offense. With managers and players voting on the award, you sometimes see some strange occurrences -- such as Rafael Palmeiro winning a Gold Glove in 1999, when he played just 28 games at first base while functioning as a DH.

Here, though, defense rules and offense drools. Let's take a look at some of the best defenders the game has to offer...

Catcher: Matt Wieters, Orioles
-- Wieters doesn't have fantastic range, but he has plenty. Combine that with great hands that have led to a .995 fielding percentage and just one passed ball all season, and it's easy to see why the Oriole receives the nod for the award. Also, runners fear Wieters' arm -- he's only allowed 56 stolen bases all season, while the next-lowest total among catchers who qualify for the batting title is J.P. Arencibia's 77, achieved in 10 less starts. Oh, and Wieters has nabbed 32 runners for a caught-stealing rate of 36 percent, a high percentage for a catcher.

Others considered: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, Jeff Mathis

First base: Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- What Texiera has over his competition is the ability to do everything a regular first baseman is asked to do -- except very well. He brings the complete package to the table, showing an uncanny ability to scoop balls out of the dirt and possessing enough speed and quickness to  make plays out of his zone. No matter what defensive aspect you bring up, Teixeira is among the elite, both in the eyes of scouts and in defensive statistics.

Others considered: Adrian Gonzalez, Casey Kotchman, Mark Trumbo

Second base: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- Pedroia's fielding has been a major boon to his overall value this season. His numbers at the keystone position are what has vaulted him into the fringes of the MVP race and he dominates the game in all facets fielding. Range, plays out of the zone, total balls handled, errors ... no matter what you throw at Pedroia, he's going to go all out to get to the ball and make the play, which happens more often than not.

Others considered: Howie Kendrick, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist

Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Rangers -- Beltre somehow only has two Gold Gloves despite a career of success. That success continues in 2011 in Texas, as Beltre has tremendous range compared with soft hands. Evan Longoria is a fantastic defender as well, but in the AL there simply is no comparison to Beltre. With 11 errors, Beltre is on pace to post his lowest error total since 2004, when he had 10.

Others considered: Alberto Callaspo, Evan Longoria, Brent Morel

Shortstop: Brendan Ryan, Mariners -- There's some pretty good competition at shortstop for best defender, but Ryan takes home the honors, showing the junior circuit how it's done in his first season in the AL. Ryan has an impeccable reputation on defense and did nothing to sully that reputation in Seattle. Elvis Andrus and Alcides Escobar, also in his first year in the AL, gave Ryan a run for his money and is also deserving of this award. Only one can win it, though.

Others considered: Elvis Andrus, Alcides Escobar, Alexi Ramirez

Left field: Brett Gardner, Yankees -- Was there any doubt? Gardner absolutely blows away the competition in left field. His prowess is so remarkable, words can't describe it. Luckily, there's a graphic drawn of his amazing range compared to the average left fielder, which you can view right here. There really isn't another left fielder that comes close, not even perennial Gold Glover Carl Crawford, who has seen his defensive numbers suffer due to the Green Monster. As advanced as metrics are these days, the Green Monster still fouls up the data, but Gardner is too far ahead of the pack that even adjusting for the Monster would still leave Gardner the clear victor.

Others considered: Alex Gordon, Vernon Wells

Center field: Austin Jackson, Tigers -- Like shortstop, center field is littered with strong defenders. That isn't a surprise, given the emphasis placed on both positions being strong defensively. Jackson has made himself at home in Comerica Park's spacious outfield, running down 114 balls outside of his zone. That's an astronomical number, and Jackson blends it with a strong overall game, even if his arm could be stronger.

Others considered: Peter Bourjos, Franklin Gutierrez, Jacoby Ellsbury

Right field: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- Ichiro Suzuki simply does it all, with strong talent across the board. He knows where to go when the ball comes off the bat, rarely out of position. While Suzuki is 37, he still has enough speed to cover the ground required of him and continues to flash a strong arm, even if runners quit running on him 10 years ago.

Others considered: David DeJesus, Jeff Francouer, Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher

Pitcher: Mark Buerhle, White Sox

Buehrle has been considered the class of fielding pitchers since Greg Maddux retired and is working on two straight Gold Gloves. Buerhle's claim to fame on defense comes from this play on Opening Day 2010, which was the best fielding play of the entire season. As a left-hander he adds that much more value on defense with the ability to hold runners closer to first base, limiting steals.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:11 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 4:49 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 7:08 pm

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?

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Since: Oct 26, 2011
Posted on: October 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?

The best? Seriously? They weren't even as good as Baltimore's outfield. As you like to say "Look it up". Adam Jones is in search of his second Gold Glove. He should get consideration this year as well after leading AL center fielders in total chances and assists with 16. He also ranked first in range factor. He made several amazing catches and many strong and mostly accurate throws this year. Markakis had 14 assists and led the league with assists at home (a true testament of arm strength) as opposed to Fran who got most of his assists on throws to second. So don't throw out such lofty claims lightly next time. Peace

Since: Oct 1, 2011
Posted on: October 1, 2011 5:28 pm

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?

I disagree with Mark Teixeira over Kotchman. Teixeira definitely has more range, but Kotchman makes more saves than most 1st basemen. If you look at the Rays' fielding percentage, the figure that doesnt go in the scorebook are digs by fielders which saves "Team Errors"..  With a total of 2 errors being tops by first basemen and the team fielding percentage of the Rays, I would go with Casey....

Since: Aug 4, 2010
Posted on: September 27, 2011 9:30 pm

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?

No consideration for JJ Hardy at shortstop?  Just compare the stats.  Watch him play.  Has he made one bad throw all season?  The Orioles have played some bad defense this year, but JJ Hardy has been excellent all year.

Since: Jan 21, 2009
Posted on: September 21, 2011 10:03 pm

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?


Since: Jan 21, 2009
Posted on: September 21, 2011 10:01 pm

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?

NOT one Royal.  I understand the team has no pitching, but they have the best overall OF defense in the league.  Look it up.  Gordon has the most assists.  Cabera and Frenchy are not far behind.  At least one of them deserves it, it would be a fraud if one of them did not win it.  F in Brett Gardner.  He has no great arm.  Gordon leads the league in ASSISTS.  F in YANKEE BS.  

Since: Jul 21, 2007
Posted on: September 21, 2011 4:50 pm

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?

Thanks for displaying some good insight to why you chose certain players. I like this much better than another CBS writer who tries to be funny and instead writes nothing of any value at all about the power ranking of various MLB teams. I'll be looking for more of your material!

Since: May 11, 2009
Posted on: September 21, 2011 4:47 pm

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?

I agree with most of your picks...but I couldn't help but laugh, and laugh hard, at your paragraph about the deserving shortstops. The fact that Elvis Andrus is mentioned as deserving with 25 errors is hilarious. TWENTY FIVE. I don't care if he gets to 10 more balls a season Jhonny Peralta won't get to. Andrus has 25 errors and Peralta has 7. Peralta's UZR is much better too. Peralta has a UZR of 9.4 and Andrus a UZR of 5.6. Peralta is more deserving of a gold glove than friggin' Elvis Andrus.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or