Thoughts and observations on Orioles offseason awards and an Arizona Fall League update
By EDUARDO A. ENCINA and The Baltimore Sun
Nov 08, 2013 | 7:41 AM
If it's getting difficult for you to sort out the plethora of postseason awards being handed out these days, join the club.
Last night, the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards were announced. Don't confuse them with the Gold Glove Awards, which are awarded by another prominent sporting goods company, Rawlings. And don't get the Gold Gloves confused with the Platinum Glove Award, which will be awarded tonight.
They're all different, but by the end of this post, you will hopefully be well-schooled.
Back to last night: It was a bit of a surprise to see Orioles third baseman Manny Machado miss out on the Wilson American League Defensive Player of the Year Award to Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, especially since the award was based heavily on sabermetric stats. It caused quite a roar among Orioles fans on Twitter, as well.
Machado led all AL defensive players in both defensive runs saved (35) and defensive wins above replacement (4.3), which together accounted for 50 percent of the award. Pedroia recorded 15 defensive runs saved and a 2.2 defensive WAR.
Pedroia had a higher fielding percentage (.993) than Machado (.973), but that accounted for only 10 percent of the award.
That means the remaining 40 percent made the difference for Pedroia. That portion came from fielding rankings (20 percent) and arm accuracy rankings (20 percent) from Inside Edge, a scouting service that provides data and reports to major league clubs. I haven't seen those rankings --they're not publicly available --but they had to favor Pedroia drastically, considering Machado's sabermetric stats were much better than Pedroia's.
The Wilson awards, which are in their second year of existence, are unique for the fact that they're mostly statistically based. In addition to the league awards, they also recognize one player on each team. Machado, unsurprisingly, won for the Orioles.
He could get redemption against Pedroia tonight when the Platinum Glove Awards are announced. The award, created in 2011, is given to the top overall defensive player in each league. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has won the AL award the past two years. He won't win three straight because the award is selected from the pool of Gold Glove Award winners, and Machado beat him at third base this season.
The same kind of defensive statistics -- defensive runs saved, ultimate zone rating and total zone runs -- will give Machado a good chance of winning the Platinum Glove when it is given out tonight at the Rawlings Gold Glove Award banquet in New York City. The SABR Defensive Index, the new sabermetric element added to the Gold Glove vote, will play a signficant part in the award, but so will an international fan vote.
I thought Machado would win the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award, but he didn't. I'll go out on a limb and say he gets the Platinum Glove, which would probably look better in his trophy case, anyway.
Next week, the Baseball Writers' Association of America awards begin. Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is a finalist for AL Most Valuable Player, which will be awarded Thursday.
** The general manager and owners meetings will also take place next week in Orlando, Fla. Some hot-stove rumors will come out of there, and owners will have some housekeeping to do, including voting on an expanded instant-replay proposal for 2014. Expanded replay is being tested during Arizona Fall League games this week.
** Speaking of the Arizona Fall League, the Surprise Saguaros team that features Orioles prospects and is managed by Double-A Bowie manager Gary Kendall has the best record in the league (16-8). They lead second-place Glendale by 4 1/2 games with six games left, so they're looking good to clinch a spot in the league title game.
Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia continues to play well in Arizona, hitting .386/.444/.544 in 15 games. He's also 5-for-9 in his past two games. However, out of his 22 hits, 17 of them are singles, and he doesn't have an extra-base hit over his past seven games.
In his brief time in the major leagues, Urrutia showed promise, but he wasn't much more than a singles hitter. That hasn't necessarily changed in the AFL.
But that won’t stop the Orioles from giving Urrutia a hard look in the spring. The team wants to see how he finishes out the fall and handles the remaining offseason and ultimately his first major league spring training -- he worked out mostly at minor league camp when he arrived last spring. His skills, specifically his base running and defense, still seem to be raw, but the potential is there.