Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan, who recently won a Fielding Bible Award as the best defensive shortstop in the major leagues, was beaten for the American League Gold Glove award by Baltimore's J.J. Hardy.
Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan and second baseman Dustin Ackley were beaten out Tuesday night in voting for Rawlings Gold Glove Awards.
The loss by Ryan was the more surprising of the two, after he was beaten out by Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy. Ryan had just won his first Fielding Bible Award last week as the best shortstop in all of baseball and led some of the game’s newer modern defensive statistics by a wide margin.
But the Gold Gloves have often been more about traditional metrics like fielding percentage and errors, while also paying attention to the offensive prowess of candidates as much as their glovework. In an infamous 1999 case, Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers received a Gold Glove at first base despite playing just 28 games there and serving as a DH the rest of the time.
Hardy led the league in fielding percentage by a shortstop and also had the fewest errors, but those measurements have been shown to be somewhat incomplete by some of the newer statistics. In terms of Defensive Runs Saved, Ryan led the AL with 27, while Hardy had 18 and the other finalist, Elvis Andrus of the Rangers, had 8.
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In Ultimate Zone Rating, Ryan led all shortstops with a score of 14.7, compared to 11.4 for Hardy and 8.8 for Andrus.
Ryan’s batting average may have cost him, as he hit just .194, compared to .238 for Hardy and .286 for Andrus.
The methodology for the Gold Gloves differs greatly from the Fielding Bible Awards and helps explain the difference in results.
Fielding Bible prizes are judged by a 10-member panel — including media members as well as experts in modern baseball statistics — and are heavily stats-based. The Gold Gloves are voted on by managers and coaches, some of whom only get to see certain players a few times per season — which has led to suggestions voting is based more on reputation than on actual production.
Fielding Bible Awards are also given to only one player in the majors at each position while the Gold Gloves go to a player from each league.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that modern defensive stats aren’t exactly flawless, either. In the case of UZR, it can often take a season or two of results to get a more definitive clue about a player’s defense.
But those stats also attempt to go beyond the scope of fielding percentage and more traditional stats — which measure only the plays where a fielder touches a ball. The modern stats attempt to also judge and grade plays where a fielder should have gotten to a ball but failed to make the play — which usually doesn’t result in an error being given, or hurt fielding percentage.
Ackley and fellow finalist Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox each finished with a DRS of 11, compared to 15 for Gold Glove winner Robinson Cano of the Yankees. In UZR, Pedroia led with a 10.0, followed by 9.7 for Cano and 7.6 for Ackley.
Former Mariners Adrian Beltre and Adam Jones each won AL awards at third base and in the outfield.
Other AL winners were catcher Matt Wieters, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and outfielders Alex Gordon of Kansas City and Josh Reddick of Oakland. Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson and Jake Peavy of the White Sox tied for the AL pitcher honor. In the National League, the winners were St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina, Washington first baseman Adam LaRoche, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, San Diego third baseman Chase Headley, Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins, outfielders Carlos Gonzalez of Colorado, Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh and Jason Heyward of Atlanta, and Miami pitcher Mark Buehrle.