Categorized | Baseball

Gold Glove awards joining 21st century

Every year, the Gold Gloves are announced and the eye-rolling begins.When Derek Jeter was the Gold Glove shortstop in 2010 — his range even at that point was in the lower half of the league — it was damaging to the reputation of the awards.

Jeter in 2010 led AL shortstops in fielding percentage, but that’s only part of the position, of course. Can you imagine evaluating hitters on batting average alone? We’d revere Hal Morris and Mark Grace over Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle.

So how best to judge fielders objectively? Sabermatricians have done their best over the years, and Rawlings — the baseball equipment giant that gives out the award — has listened.

The company is partnering with the Society for American Baseball Research, and the SABR’s new Defensive Index will be used to help pick the winners. SABR designated a committee to come up with the index, which will account for 25 percent of the vote, along with the traditional methods of polling managers and coaches.

From the SABR announcement:

The SABR Defensive Index draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball, location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts. The three metrics representing batted ball data include Defensive Runs Saved from Baseball Info Solutions, Ultimate Zone Rating developed by noted sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman, and Runs Effectively Defended built by SABR Defensive Committee member Chris Dial. The two metrics included in the SDI originating from play-by-play data are Defensive Regression Analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and Total Zone Rating.

This is long overdue, and a noteworthy attempt to get the awards winners right every year.

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