Bruce, Phillips Gold Glove finalists

Rawlings released its finalists for the AL and NL Gold Glove Awards on Friday. Each position had three finalists per league. The Reds had two finalists in right fielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Brandon Phillips. Last year, Cincinnati had six finalists. Ballots went out in September and voting was done by Major League managers and coaches.

The voting was slightly altered this year. The managers and coaches got an assist this year from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). For the first time, Rawlings collaborated with SABR to formally incorporate sabermetrics as a component of the Gold Glove Award.

A committee of experts in baseball analytics and defensive measurement devised the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), which draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball, location-based data, and those collected by from play-by-play accounts.

Click here for my story on Bruce and Phillips.

Click here for the national story on

NL finalists:

P: Corbin (ARZ), Greinke (LAD), Wainwright (STL)
1B: Goldschmidt (ARZ), Gonzalez (LAD), Rizzo (CHC)
2B: Barney (CHC), Ellis (LAD), Phillips (CIN)
3B: Arenado (COL), Uribe (LAD), Wright (NYM)
SS: Desmond (WAS), Tulowitski (COL), Simmons (ATL)
C: Ellis (LAD), Martin (PIT), Molina (STL)
LF: Gonzalez (COL), Marte (PIT), Young (NYM)
CF: Gomez (MIL), McCutchen (PIT), Span (WAS)
RF: Bruce (CIN), Heyward (ATL), Parra (ARZ)

AL finalists:

P: Buehrle (TOR), Dickey (TOR), Fister (DET)
1B: Davis (BAL), Hosmer (KC), Loney (TB)
2B: Cano (NYY), Pedroia (BOS), Zobrist (TB)
3B: Beltre (TEX), Longoria (TB), Machado (BAL)
SS: A Escobar (KC), Y Escobar (TB), Hardy (BAL)
C: Mauer (MIN), Perez (KC), Wieters (BAL)
LF: Cespedes (OAK), Dirks (DET), Gordon (KC)
CF: Cain (KC), Esllbury (BOS), Jones (BAL)
RF: Markakis (BAL), Reddick (OAK), Victorino (BOS)

Based solely on the advanced statistic numbers both Bruce and Phillips would not likely win the award this year. But the voting is often more subjective and based on what the managers and coaches see with their own eyes and hear based on reputation. That could possibly help Bruce, who has gained in reputation as an excellent right field each year. In traditional stats, Bruce and Parra each had three errors but Parra trumped Bruce in advanced stats like ultimate zone rating (UZR) and defensive runs saved (DRS).

If there was one surprise (while understanding it’s a subjective process), it was that Todd Frazier wasn’t a finalist. Frazier had a very good year defensively, especially in his first full year at third base. Frazier was third in the NL with a 9.7 UZR and third with a DRS of 5 behind Arenado and Uribe. Meanwhile, Wright missed a lot of time this year with an injury.


Best news about this award?…the fans don’t have a say; nor should they. As for Frazier (one of my favs), he was solid, but not exceptional. His fielding technique, quickness and range are solid, but not exceptional, imo.

He still had a better defensive year than David Wright.

You’re right Jordan. It’s called star power. Politics.

Frazier ranked #17…
Todd Frazier has seen his share of ups and downs at the plate in 2013. He’s helped keep his OBP afloat by drawing more walks, but he still has a swing-and-miss tendency that hasn’t helped him. In particular, he’s extremely susceptible to sliders from right-handed pitchers. He’s also not hitting line drives like he did in 2012, which hasn’t helped his BABIP. Strip away the walks, and Frazier’s hitting talent would look even worse.
In 2012, Frazier hit for just as much power on the road as he did at home. It hasn’t been the same story in 2013, as his power numbers at home dwarf his power numbers on the road. Balls that have gone out at Great American Ball Park have stayed in the yard elsewhere, and Frazier’s decreased line-drive percentage hasn’t helped him save face with more doubles. The big picture is that of a step backward in the power department.
Frazier can steal an occasional base, but he’s better at doing the little things than he is at running the bases. He advances on pretty much any chance he gets, and he’s very good about not making outs on the basepaths. Baserunning is an underrated part of his game.
Frazier didn’t really get a chance to settle in at third base last year, but it was obvious when he played there that it was where he belonged. The story hasn’t changed this year, as Frazier has given the Reds quality defense thanks to plenty of range beyond the bag and very sure hands. He’s a guy who really doesn’t get enough credit for his defense.
There’s nothing in Frazier’s injury history that’s even so much as worth noting. As of early September, he’s only missed one game in his career due to an injury.
Frazier’s bat has been a disappointment following his strong offensive showing as a rookie last year. But it’s really only declined to average territory, and Frazier’s baserunning and defense more than make him worth the trouble.

Wright ranked #2…(Cabrera ranked #1)…
David Wright isn’t on the same level as some other third basemen who we’ll be talking about in just a minute, but he’s a patient hitter with outstanding discipline, and he has a smooth swing that produces bullets to all parts of the yard. He hit over .300/.390 in 2012, has done so again this year and probably does so in his sleep.
Wright still hasn’t rediscovered the power that he had earlier in his career, but he’s gotten pretty close this year, and there’s very little to complain about regarding his power in the first place. He has home run pop to all fields and is a solid source of doubles and triples thanks to his ability to hit hot smashes on a line to the warning track.
Wright is the best baserunning third baseman going right now, and there’s not even really a close second. He’s still very much capable of stealing bases and doesn’t play it station-to-station when the ball is in play. Like most Mets players, he’s very good at taking the extra base.
Wright’s defense used to be erratic, as a lot of times his mind was willing but his body just wasn’t able to keep up. He’s gotten better in the last couple years, cutting down on his errors in a big way and turning his impressive athleticism into plenty of plays outside of his zone. He’s now one of the best in the business at the hot corner.
It had been two years since Wright’s last DL stint, but then he had to go and strain his hamstring. It was a serious injury, and it’s going to make it two injury-shortened seasons in the last three for Wright. For the record, he’ll turn 31 this winter.
He’s not the third baseman you would most want on your team, but there’s little question Wright is the best all-around player the position has to offer.

Hey Neb. I love your stats but isn’t the Gold glove a defensive award ?

Yes, I just threw in the rest because they came with the D notes.

He still had a better defensive season than David Wright.

Here is ESPN’s 3B ranking for defense for the 2013 season:

Those aren’t rankings. That is their fielding percentages in descending order. There is a big difference. If you are choosing to go by errors alone, then you have to account for the fact that Todd Frazier played 254 more innings than David Wright. Wright was on pace to have more.

Still, I am not saying that Todd Frazier is a better 3rd baseman than David Wright, however, in 2013, Todd Frazier DID have a better defensive season and should have received more consideration for the Gold Glove Award than David Wright.

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