G-Money For Gold Glove?

For once, I am not talking about Gregg Zaun.  In this case I am referring to Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird.

Gerald Laird

Today the American League Gold Glove awards were announced and at the Catcher position, Joe Mauer of the Twins was awarded the…. award.

Let’s be clear: offensively, Mauer had an MVP calibre type season.  Defensively? You know the part of the game that the Gold Glove is supposed to be based on? Not so much.

Let’s compare 4 defensive metrics for these 2 catchers:  passed balls, fielding percentage, range factor and perhaps most importantly caught stealing percentage.

First off it needs to be stated that Laird played 1090 innings at the catcher postion to Mauer’s 939.

Passed Balls
Laird: 9
Mauer: 9

Fielding Percentage
Laird: .997
Mauer: .996

Range Factor
Laird: 6.83
Mauer: 6.93

Laird: 42%
Mauer: 26%

To sum up: Laird had the same amount of passed balls as Mauer while having played 151 innings more while having a nasty dirtballer named Verlander to catch.  Fielding percentage and range factor – although not huge stats for a catcher – are negligible.

Where it becomes particularly evident is the CS%.  Laird controlled the running game while Mauer did not, plain and simple.

As Keith Law said today on his Twitter account: “Mediocre Fielder Hits Way to Gold Glove Award.”

Perhaps the voters were throwing Mauer a bone in case he doesn’t win MVP or maybe it is because he is so damn pretty but regardless, this is one award he does not deserve to win.

Joe Mauer

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6 replies on “G-Money For Gold Glove?”
  1. says: Kman

    I wouldn’t go as far as calling Mauer mediocre (of course Law hates just about everybody), still, I have to agree with you. Livebloggin numerous Tigers games during the season and down the stretch I felt that Laird was the best defensive catcher in the AL, if not all the MLB. He called a good game, blocked just about everything, shut down running games and handled bunts exceptionally well.

  2. says: Callum

    Law wasn’t referring to Mauer in particular, moreso the pattern of how the GG is awarded. Guys like Jeter, maybe Polanco (even though his claim to fame is not making errors) and definitely the Rafael Palmeiro example.

  3. says: Kman

    Aw, my bad. I love me up some Polanco. He’s not flashy at 2B but always seems to be near the ball. Will check stats for back-up…. Polanco #1 in AL UZR. Shit, AHill is minus UZR. If that’s not a tip to take that stat with a grain of salt than I don’t know what is.

  4. says: Callum

    Yeah I have never given too much weight to UZR. Range factor, fielding percentage and using my own eyes to evaluate a player (not only the balls he can get to, but where he positions himself defensively) all play a big part in determining his defensive prowess.

  5. says: Ian

    Mauer was the sexy pick for Gold Glove – just like how they went with Hunter in CF. There are definitely more deserving guys out there, but they are not necessarily the popular picks. Unfortunately with the Gold Glove awards, it often is a popularity contest.

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