The Gold Glove award winners were handed out on Tuesday night, and for the first time, the awards were handed out on ESPN 2 in what I am sure was very riveting television. I unfortunately had better things to do like picking lint out of my bellybutton, or sniffing glue. I think the glue sniffing came first (kids, don’t you try that).
There were two Tigers up for the awards on Tuesday night, and though they are good defenders, it is no surprise to me that Austin Jackson and Alex Avila came up empty in taking home some hardware. While I don’t really understand the criteria that people look for in selecting these candidates, I can say that neither of those guys deserved to win.
Jackson just plays a position where there is quite a bit of defensive prowess, where a multitude of dudes could win that award. I can’t say that I am surprised it was Jacoby Ellsbury who won the Gold Glove. He is statistically speaking, according to UZR/150, the best center fielder in the American League according to Fangraphs. Shocker! They (award givers) got it right for a change. The fact that Jackson was there even at all is quite a feat actually, considering a league that boasts fantastic defenders at the position like Franklin Gutierrez, Peter Bourjos, Ben Revere, and…….Denard Span?
Avila, on the other hand, a better case could possibly be made for him. But I believe the right guy won that award as well, the Baltimore Orioles Matt Wieters. The guy did throw out 37% of attempted base confiscators, as well as only having one ball that passed him by. Or in baseball terms, a passed ball. Avila, in contrast, only threw out 32% of those mangy thiefs, and allowed 7 balls to reflect off his leather like it was stone. A big difference? Wieters had 25 wild pitches on his watch to Avila’s 56. I guess on second thought, Avila doesn’t have that good of a case at all.
Avila and Jackson probably represent the Tigers two best defenders at this point, on a team full of guys that either have poor hands, weak arms, no range, or just flat out shouldn’t be trying to catch a baseball. Okay, well in fairness to Jhonny Peralta, he does catch what he gets to, and makes accurate throws. Booooorrrrriiiiing……….but solid nonetheless. In fact, Jim Leyland was publicly talking about Peralta for the Gold Glove Award during the League Championship Series. Anyone else think that was weird timing? Must have been prompted by one of Detroit’s brow beating tough reporters.
Anyway, Jhonny, despite his outstanding defensive season that caught most of us by surprise, didn’t get invited to the party. At SS they had J.J. Hardy, Erick Aybar and Asdrubal Cabrera there? Cabrera? What? He is a horrible defender. Sure, he makes some wow plays, but in general he stinks. It’s like the people who selected him as a finalist were sniffing my glue before that selection. No wonder why the bottle was half gone! Regardless, Peralta didn’t necessarily deserve to be there. The guy that got screwed was Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez, and maybe Alcides Escobar of the Royals. Aybar won though, and that didn’t make sense either, because Hardy was a better defender.
But then again, this whole Gold Glove thing doesn’t make sense. In the effort of full disclosure though, here are the winners for the American League.
You know what? I really don’t have a beef with those selections other than Aybar over Hardy.
As for the Tigers and their defense, yeah, it would be nice if they could get a guy to win a Gold Glove Award. But this has been a problem for them for years.Like a lot of years. Why change now? Its not as if they didn’t win their division going away with a guy in LF that runs like he has wooden legs, and a guy in RF that runs like he has a piano strapped to his back. See, defense doesn’t win championships. Luck with injuries, a mashing first baseman, Don Kelly and career years wins divisions.
Oh, and scoring more runs than your opponent. That is what really wins games.
If you’re keeping tally, they scored 787 and allowed 711. I’m too lazy to look up how good that is, but I know they scored 76 more than they allowed, and they did it with that crappy defense.