Tomorrow the offseason awards announcements start with one that is very near and dear to my heart: the Gold Glove winners.
C’mon, you just knew I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to write about Alex Gordon.
The Kansas City Royals best player is a finalist again this season for the honor of being named best defensive player at his position*, and if you’re basing the vote off of all objective measures, it really isn’t close.
*presumably the best defensively player at his position, except for the people that vote for the award don’t watch all the games, and base their tally on offensive numbers too. See: Palmeiro, Rafael.
A couple days ago The Fielding Bible released their award winners and featured this little nugget about the Royals leftfielder:
“(Gordon) lapped the field with his 24 runs saved defensively, his nearest competitors being Martin Prado of Atlanta with 12 and Tampa Bay’s Desmond Jennings with 9 runs saved. Gordon was a unanimous choice for the 2012 Fielding Bible Award, finishing first on every single ballot cast by the panelists.”
No surprise really, to Royals fans, that Gordon gets the love he does with the advanced fielded metrics and to the highlight reel junkies. What is a surprise though is that Gordon actually improved defensively in 2012 over a season ago, which is almost remarkable when you consider the 2011 defensive campaign for Gordon could have been chalked up to a combination of luck and a perfect storm of events.
After posting a 10.5 UZR in 2011 – which was heavily weighted with his arm and ability to throw out runners – Gordon increased his overall numbers to a 14.1 UZR in 2012 thanks to a vast improvement in the one area that received the most criticism, his range (-2.1 RngR in 2011; 4.4 RngR in 2012).
And he would only figure to get better. Gordon is entering his age 29 season and, after showing the type of durability that is more expected from a player of his level of athleticism and conditioning, we should only figure that he’ll continue to perform at the high level he’s been at the last two seasons. Plus, having yet another year under his belt at a new position could (hopefully) only lead to more good things to come.
Gordon should receive his second Gold Glove award when the announcements are made tomorrow. Now if we could only figure out how Alcides Escobar was left off the list of finalist for shortstops.