SweetSpot: Gerardo Parrra
September, 20, 2013
By Mark Simon | ESPN.com
Roy Absalon/USA TODAY SportsManny Machado will reign supreme in Web Gems for 2013.
Web Gems are fun. Players like them. Fans like them. There's no reason not to like them. They've been a staple on "Baseball Tonight" since the term was coined by then-producer Judson Burch prior to the 2000 season.
They're not necessarily a predictive statistic when it comes to indicating present or future defensive performance. But they give you a good sense of who in baseball is making the most eye-popping, wow-inducing plays, in the opinions of our production crew and analysts.
We're nearing the end of another season's worth of Web Gems and with that in mind, I thought I'd share some of the fun Web Gem stats that our group has compiled.
• Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado leads the majors with 18 Web Gems, a half-dozen more than the second player on the list, Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra.
We should have known that Machado would be the leader this year. He had seven in only 51 games last season, which was a 22-Web Gem pace.
This could be the first time there has been that big a gap between the Web Gem champ and the runner-up since 2009, when Ryan Zimmerman had 19 and runner-up Mark Reynolds had 13. Zimmerman's 19 are the most in any season in our five-year database.
• A brief word on Reynolds, who often gets mocked when we make reference to Web Gem historical stats on Twitter. There was a time when he was quite good at making the highlight-reel play. In the past five seasons, Reynolds has 39 Web Gems, the fourth-most of anyone in the majors.
• Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has the most Web Gems in the past five seasons with 52. He has never been a single-season Web Gem champion.
Phillips was runner-up in both 2010 (to Troy Tulowitzki) and 2012 (to Alcides Escobar). Phillips is the only player in baseball to have at least 10 Web Gems in each of the past four seasons.
Machado's 25 Web Gems the past two seasons are the most in the majors in that span. Escobar is at the top with 35 in the past three seasons.
• Phillips has been the No. 1 Web Gem four times this season. That's one shy of the major league lead, shared by Parra and Houston Astros outfielder Brandon Barnes.
• Three players have had at least six No. 1 Gems in a season in the past five years -- Reynolds in 2009, Tulowitzki in 2010 and Escobar in 2012.
• Carlos Gomez has had the most No. 1 Web Gems during the past five seasons with 13.
Other players in double figures are Tulowitzki (12, though none this year), Phillips (11), Escobar (11) and Evan Longoria (10).
• The Royals have the most Web Gems by any team in the majors this season with 44, five more than the Orioles and nine more than the Twins. The Cardinals and Rays rank last in Web Gems with 17.
• The Mets lead the majors in No. 1 Web Gems with 11, one more than the Reds.
• If you're a major league aspirant and want to make Web Gems, your best bet season is to be a center fielder or a third baseman. Center fielders this season have 145 Web Gems, two more than those who play the hot corner.
• The rarest of Gems is the catcher gem. Catchers have 13 Web Gems this season, less than half as many as their battery counterparts (pitchers have 28).