It's a new day in the world of baseball awards. For the first time in the long history of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, statistics have become a systemic component of the process. In the past, voters -- major-league managers and coaches, plus whichever clubhouse boys and groundskeepers were pressed into duty -- were provided only the most basic fielding statistics, and most of those were immediately pitched into the circular file.
This year, though? A SABR-designed statistical component, the SABR Defense Index, was created and supplied to the voters, and the method essentially served as 30 "votes" ... or roughly 25 percent of the electorate.
Did the SDI make a difference? Probably at two or three spots, but there aren't many big surprises among the winners ...
C Yadier Molina
1B Paul Goldschmidt
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Andrelton Simmons
3B Nolan Arenado
LF Carlos Gonzalez
CF Carlos Gómez
RF Gerardo Parra
I would have voted for Darwin Barney, who probably lost some points (in voters' minds) because he was a terrible hitter playing for a terrible team. Phillips is a solid choice, though. I'm shocked that Arenado won, simply because he's so young and has played so little. He deserves it. He's tremendous. Hey, the process worked!
I was a Fielding Bible voter ... which would be more interesting if I could remember exactly who I voted for. But I don't. I did vote for Andrelton Simmons, who basically had a peak Ozzie Smith season. Statistically, anyway. Word on the street seems pretty good, too. Hey, the process worked again!
Meanwhile, Gómez and Parra were both fantastic. Gonzalez wasn't nearly as good, and the left-field award probably should have gone to Pittsburgh's Starling Marte, who would play center field for most clubs. Oh, and Yadier Molina had this one all the way. Goldschmidt's hitting probably helped him, but he did play real well at first base too.
C Salvador Perez
1B Eric Hosmer
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS J. J. Hardy
3B Manny Machado
OF Alex Gordon
OF Adam Jones
RF Shane Victorino
Eric Hosmer does not fare well, has never fared particularly well, in the sabermetric measures. He does look good, and he has always enjoyed a fine reputation. I probably would have gone for James Loney among the finalists, but somehow non-finalist, ex-catcher Mike Napoli did really well in the numbers. Go figure. Basically, Hosmer seems to have won because he finished 24 assists ahead of the No. 2 man (Loney).
Pedroia was great, as usual, and Machado was essentially a shortstop playing third base. Hardy was fine, but doesn't have the range of fellow finalist Alcides Escobar, who probably should have won this one.
Gordon always looks good and he led the American League with 17 assists. Victorino was great in right field. Adam Jones wins his third Gold Glove, and according to the numbers his third undeserved Gold Glove. There were so many better center-field candidates, including Jacoby Ellsbury, Leonys Martin, and Lorenzo Cain. Sabermetrics or no, Jones does look good and his reputation seems to have carried the day.
Some year for the Royals, with three winners and two more guys who easily could have won (Escobar and Cain). This does seem fitting, considering how important the defense was for a team that led the league in ERA.
Oh, right. Pitchers. Who knows? Adam Wainwright and R. A. Dickey did win the awards, though. I'm sure they're good! Dickey's certainly got the reputation, and he did win the Fielding Bible Award.