You never know with postseason awards. They’re sometimes too difficult to handicap because of who’s voting and what those people consider when evaluating the best players.
But I’ve been saying for a while that Manny Machado will win a Gold Glove this season. Those who have watched him this year – and his ability to make both routine and difficult plays seem easy – would agree.
I might not be going out on a limb here, but I’m telling you definitively he will win when the awards are announced Tuesday night on ESPN2.
In case you didn't see that play Machado made at Yankee Stadium in July to throw out Luis Cruz, or you haven't seen they was he charges a ball, barehands it and slings it across the infield, the statistics also speak for themselves.
Simply put, he dominated the competition at third base, which is traditionally one of the most competitive positions.
It is much more difficult to determine whether the other five Orioles finalists – center fielder Adam Jones, catcher Matt Wieters, shortstop J.J. Hardy, first baseman Chris Davis and right fielder Nick Markakis -- will win Gold Gloves. We will wait for that until next week.
In yesterday’s paper, I wrote about this year’s changes in deciding the Gold Glove award and how sabermetrics will play a significant role for the first time.
Rawlings partnered with the Society of American Baseball Research this season to create the SABR Defensive Index (SDI) – a combination of five different defensive metrics that will account for 25 to 30 percent of the vote. The remaining vote is comes from major league managers and coaches.
Two of those defensive metrics aren’t made public and Rawlings and SABR won’t likely release SDI data until after the Gold Gloves are announced.
But I took a look at the three metrics that are available that make up the SDI -- Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and Total Zone Rating (TZ) – and compared Machado to the other two finalists, Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria and Texas’ Adrian Beltre.
Either Longoria or Beltre have won the last six Gold Gloves at third base. Beltre has won four times, including the past two seasons.
But honestly, even though Beltre has a reputation of being one of the game’s best defenders, I was surprised he was selected a finalist over Oakland’s Josh Donaldson.
I took a shot at a little bit of Encinametrics here. Here’s a breakdown of the three finalists and Donaldson, taking a look at the three known SDI metrics as well as fielding percentage and defensive wins above replacement total (dWAR). I also added the number of ESPN “Web Gem” plays each players had over the course of the season. It’s by no means a quantitative stat, but can definitely give an indication that the defender is making difficult plays.
Player DRS UZR TZ Total Field% dWAR WG
Manny Machado, Bal 35 31.2 32 98.2 .973 4.4 18
Evan Longoria, TB 12 14.6 13 39.6 .972 1.7 6
Josh Donaldson, Oak 12 9.9 7 28.9 .961 1.8 8
Adrian Beltre, Tex -5 -1.2 3 -3.2 .959 0.2 <5
As you can see, Machado takes each category, often by a wide margin. The only category that is close is his edge over Longoria in fielding percentage.
But it’s enough to show that anyone other than Machado winning the Gold Glove at third would be an outrage. He might compete for the Platinum Glove Award, given to the top defensive player in each league regardless of position. Beltre won the AL award the past two years.
There could be a new winner this year.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun