So all the stat nerds’ whining and complaining finally got ’em somewhere, as 2013 marks the first time that the Rawlings Gold Glove award voting took into account advanced defensive metrics, which I still don’t understand. I’m sure you’ve already read 15 articles about it today, so I’m not going to get too deep into this. Just a few things: the eye test is the only one that matters to me. The Gold Glove award is not a statistic, its an award given by people, won by people. People are emotional. When they see a great play, it makes them happy, sad, shocked, amazed. They remember it. You can get all the brainiacs and graphing calculators in the world, but when it comes down to it, people vote with their hearts. They don’t vote for the guy who leads the league in algorithms or acronyms, they vote for the guy who makes the great plays that everybody remembers. It’ll be that way forever, and it should.
With that said, I do really like that they are now giving players and coaches some defensive statistics to reference before voting, so we can avoid another Rafael Palmeiro situation (he won a Gold Glove at 1B despite playing 29 games there back in 1999).
Here are the American League winners and their gloves. We’ll do National League winners tomorrow. Thanks to all the manufacturers and “sources” who got back to me so promptly today so I could get this posted.
NOTE: If the glove has a link, its available, if it doesn’t, no dice.
R.A. Dickey – Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO504-12JB
When you throw a knuckler, you’re naturally in a better position to field a comebacker than a guy who’s driving his legs for 95 mph. R.A. Dickey uses that to his advantage, clearly.
Salvador Perez – All Star 32″ CM3000XSBT
Eric Hosmer – Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRODCTSL-125
Hosmer most recently wore the blue leather above.
Another interesting glove we saw Hosmer wear this year. Check out the Pro Mesh back.
Rawlings also sent us a couple photos of a glove (same model) just shipped to Hosmer in the offseason, below. Anybody’s guess as to why its in orange.
Pedroia is known to use a glove for a long time, and his “latest” is a perfect example. The A2K DP15 is barely recognizable anymore, and we had to go all the way back to 2011 to actually see the “A2K” on the index finger.
Pedroia’s Wilson leather in happier times:
The old one isn’t available, but Pedroia’s 2014 Wilson A2K DP15, available at the link above, is sure to turn some heads.
The most ironic Gold Glove choice of 2013, Manny Machado denied Adrian Beltre his 3rd consecutive Gold Glove and 5th overall, and who’s glove did he do it with? Adrian Beltre’s. Machado adopted Beltre’s Rawlings leather in 2013 after beginning his career with Wilson. Machado, a SS-turned-3B based on team needs (see below), most likely led the league in “web gems,” too. Guy was a vacuum at the corner.
JJ Hardy – Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO200-4RT
Jeter was robbed.
Kidding… JJ Hardy might not strike you as a defensive specialist, but he is very much the epitome of a pro Shortstop. He is durable, efficient, has great footwork, and a decent hose generated by an awkward but quick release. For these reasons, he led the Bigs in double plays turned (and made a lot of pitcher-friends in the process). This is his second Gold Glove, as evidenced by his gold labeled Modified Trap. Hardy’s gorgeously well-worn Rich Tan leather and lace combo is available, thanks to WPW reader Brooks who sent in the tip.
Alex Gordon – Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO303-6JBT
Gordon is one of the three OFers to win a Gold Glove this year with a Rawlings PRO303 pattern. This is his third consecutive Gold Glove win, and he’s done it as much with his arm as his glove. Gordon led the league in both 2011 (20) and 2013 (17) and finished second in 2012 (17) in outfield assists, leading the Majors in that span. He won me over with this quote: “I would say throwing a guy out at home plate is my favorite play.” AMEN BROTHER!
This is Jones’ third Gold Glove and second consecutive. Jones wore the Pro Mesh you see above, might I say the ugliest of all the winners. Why black and brown? And then camel lacing? Do you wear brown shoes with black pants? No, that’s because you’d look like a schlub. Jones’ glove is a schlub. He can catch though.
Shane Victorino – Akadema AMR 34 Mesh
He who is unconscious at the plate this October can also chase ’em down. A 4-time Gold Glover, Victorino wears the affordable Akadema AMR 34 pattern, worn by Bryce Harper (not lately) and Manny Ramirez among others. Below is not Victorino’s current model, but it does give you a good look at the details, including his mesh back.
A few takeaways here:
1. Orioles killed it, as did the Royals (2 winners for the Sox, too). The Rays, whose entire infield were finalists, totally snubbed.
2. Rawlings straight up dominated the vote with 5 winners. Every other manufacturer, even Wilson, could only muster one. We see a lot of parity on this site when it comes to the guys we profile, but it is interesting to look at it from this perspective and see who comes out on top. Rawlings is the clear king, at least on the American League side—though you probably already know the NL winners and the results aren’t much different (we’ll feature them tomorrow).
3. With almighty sabermetrics involved, the winners look pretty much exactly the same as they would had we kept our savage, caveman methods intact. Go figure.
So, what do you think? Who’s do you love? Hate? I’m going with JJ Hardy’s as my favorite. Would love to hear your comments, and in the spirit of the moment, lets take it to a vote!