Rawlings will incorporate sabermetrics into Gold Glove awards
MLB, Gold Glove

Finally, Gold Glove awards might make a little more sense

3/9/13 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5134 respect

April 6, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis (21) and catcher Matt Wieters (32) pose with their 2011 gold glove awards before the opening day game against the Minnesota Twins at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY SportsFor years, the Gold Glove award has been viewed as more of a popularity contest than a legitimate award for the best defensive player at his position.

The straw that broke the camel's back for anyone who cares about who really deserves the award was when Rafael Palmeiro won the award in 1999, while playing only 28 games at first base.

The award continued to lose luster almost ever year, particularly years when Derek Jeter won it, for example.

Even before that, many people argued the legitimacy of the award, but that was the point that truly showed that Gold Gloves are a meaningless way to evaluate a player's career, and should never be taken seriously as an accomplishment.

The folks at Rawlings have announced that they'll be adding a Sabermetric component to the selection process. This means players will be judged (and awarded) not only by manager voting, but also by advanced fielding metrics that can better evaluate a player's performance. The "eyeball" test that has been used up to this point simply hasn't worked, and it was becoming more and more evident every year.

From a statement on Rawlings.com:
As part of the multi-year collaboration beginning with the 2013 season, SABR will develop an expanded statistical resource guide that will accompany the Rawlings Gold Glove Award ballots sent to managers and coaches each year.

In addition, SABR will immediately establish a new Fielding Research Committee tasked to develop a proprietary new defensive analytic called the SABR Defensive Index™, or SDI™. The SDI will serve as an “apples-to-apples” metric to help determine the best defensive players in baseball exclusively for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award selection processes. The collaboration also installs SABR as the presenting sponsor of the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award.

Beginning in 2013, the managers/coaches vote will constitute a majority of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners’ selection tally, with the new SDI comprising of the remainder of the overall total. The exact breakdown of the selection criteria will be announced once the SDI is created later this summer.

Hopefully this is only the beginning, and soon they'll completely do away with the manager votes because quite frankly, most managers are complete dinosaurs and don't individually scout opposing players' defensive tendencies nearly as much as they need to, in order to properly vote for an award like this. These votes are being made based on one or two plays over the course of an entire season, and sometimes managers don't even bother putting any effort into their voting whatsoever. Quite frankly, with the amount of other work they have to do, I don't even blame them.

This is definitely a step in the right direction, and hopefully we won't have any more blatant atrocities in the voting, but you never know. We'll see how this works out.
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3/10/13   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

Am on board with trying this out.  I suppose it couldn't be worse than the current system.  More based on reputation than a popularity contest...

I do not think stats can really tell a complete story of how good a defensive player is.  But obviously the subjective eyeball test isn't working either.  Hopefully a happy medium can be achieved out of this.  It will be interesting to see how this works out this season.