Will Trout, Braves OF win Gold in 2012?

October, 30, 2012
10/30/12
8:58
AM ET
The baseball season is over, but the baseball awards season begins Tuesday night.

Rawlings will name its Gold Glove Award winners today at 9:30 pm ET on ESPN2.

What are some of the storylines we’ll be following this year?

Reel in a Trout?
There’s plenty of debate over whether Mike Trout should be the American League MVP. But should he be the AL’s Gold Glove centerfielder?

Mike Trout
Trout
The numbers show that Trout had a heck of a year defensively. He led American League centerfielders with 23 Defensive Runs Saved (which measures the ability to turn batted balls into outs and the value of a throwing arm in deterring baserunners), edging out Denard Span of the Minnesota Twins, who finished second with 20.

Trout also led the majors with four home run robberies. His five No. 1 Web Gems (as awarded by Baseball Tonight) were second-most in the majors, trailing only Alcides Escobar’s six.

Trout is one of three finalists for the centerfield spot. He’ll be competing with the majors leader in outfield putouts in Baltimore Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones and Austin Jackson of the Detroit Tigers, whose 34 Defensive Runs Saved over the last two seasons are the most at that position.

An All-Braves Outfield
The Braves have an outfield nominee at each position, with Martin Prado in left field, Michael Bourn in center, and Jason Heyward in right.

Each of those three led National Leaguers at their position in Defensive Runs Saved.

In each of the last two seasons, a team has had a pair of outfielders win a Gold Glove- the Seattle Mariners had Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro Suzuki in 2010, and the Los Angeles Dodgers had Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in 2011.

Will this be the first time we see three from the same team?

Big Red Defensive Machine
The Cincinnati Reds have the most finalists among teams with six, including two winners from last season- first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips.

Votto led NL first basemen with nine Defensive Runs Saved. Phillips was second among those with at least 400 innings at second base, to Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney.

Shortstop Zack Cozart has the best chance of the newcomers to win. His 12 Defensive Runs Saved were the most among the nominee at shortstop.

New Metrics vs the Eye Test
The advent of advanced defensive stats (like Defensive Runs Saved and UZR) has brought about new ways of evaluating defense.

But the Gold Glove will not be decided by a player’s numbers, but by a voting panel of major league managers and coaches.

There are a number of instances of finalists not faring well in these advanced defensive metrics, but doing well in basic stats.

For example, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins rated as the top shortstop in fielding percentage, but did not rate well in Defensive Runs Saved.

The chart on the right shows the leaders in Defensive Runs Saved among the nominees.

It will be interesting to see how many of those players receive top recognition from the voting panel.

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