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There is Gold Glove and then there is the Fielding Bible

Major League baseball announced their Gold Glove winners today, below is the summary:

2009 AL Gold Glove winners
Position Player Team
C Joe Mauer Twins
1B Mark Teixeira Yankees
2B Placido Polanco Tigers
3B Evan Longoria Rays
SS Derek Jeter Yankees
OF Torii Hunter Angels
OF Adam Jones Orioles
OF Ichiro Suzuki Mariners
P Mark Buehrle White Sox

The major league GG winners always seem to be won by players who can hit. I have pretty much ignored the Major League Gold Glove winners ever since I figured out they were basically a farce, like the time Rafael Palmeiro won the award even though he only played 28 games at 1st base. The award is based on peer vote but it has been obvious forever that not much thought goes into the vote.

One of the welcome sights of the Bill James Handbook are the John Dewan 2010 Fielding Bible awards.  Unlike MLB,  Dewan does not distinguish between the leagues. How the winners are decided are detailed in the book. Every baseball fan of statistics should buy the book. Everyone.

Pos Player
1st Pujols
2nd Aaron Hill
SS Jack Wilson
3rd Ryan Zimmerman
C Yadier Molina
RF Ichiro Suzuki
CF Franklin Guiterrez
LF Carl Crawford
Pitcher Mark Buehrle


How did the Dodgers do?

James Loney  - 9th place with 23 points, highest ranking was 7th.

Orlando Hudson - 5th place with 47 points, highest ranking was 1st place

Rafael Furcal - Not in top 10 and received only five points.

Casey Blake - 10th place with 11 points, highest ranking was 6th

Russell Martin - 4th place with 55 points, highest ranking was 3rd (4 times)

Manny Ramirez - 0 points

Matt Kemp - Not in top 10, received only 12 points

Andre -  0 points

To put it mildly, the panel of 10 judges were quite unimpressed with the Dodger outfield defense. However this is a subjective panel. How about the objective Plus/Minus system? Only the top ten for each position are listed in the Bill James book. For the complete list you'd need to buy the 2009 Fielding Bible. They use two different approaches. The Defensive Runs Saved (combines Plus/Minus, bunts, double plays, outfield arms, catchers' earned runs, cathers' stolen bases allowed, pitchers' stolen bases allowed, and home run saving catches)

James Loney  - Plus 3, 9th place

Orlando Hudson - Not in top 10

Rafael Furcal -  Plus 8, 9th place

Casey Blake - Plus 8, 9th place

Martin - Plus 5, 5th place

Manny  -  Minus 7,Fifth Worse

Matt Kemp - Not in top 10

Andre - Not in top 10

Now lets take a look at Plus/Minus

The Plus/Minus system is a way to evaluate defensive range by measuring how often defenders turn grounders and fly balls into outs.

James Loney - Plus 4, 10th Place

Orlando Hudson - Not in top 10

Rafael Hudson - Not in top 10

Casey Blake - Plus 8, 9th Place

Manny - Not in top 10

Kemp - Not in top 10 - Adam Jones winner of the Gold Glove was a Minus 20

Andre - Not in top 10


Worse Plus/Minus in 2009

1st - Adam Dunn Minus 24 and Nick Johnson -14 (Man the Nat's were bad)

2nd - Alberto Callaspo Minus 19 (No wonder the Royals are trying to trade him for AJ Ellis)

SS - Orlando Cabrera  Minus 40

3rd - Mike Lowell Minus 23 (Not long ago he was a plus fielder)

LF - Ryan Braun Minus 31

CF - Vernon Wells Minus 30 (doing everything he can to make his contract the worse in baseball)

RF - Jermaine Dye Minus 28

Other simple notes. Watching Brendan Ryan this year we thought he was a hell of a SS and the Plus/Minus supports that theory as he was Plus 24 good for 2nd.

I'm sure all of us are disappointed that Matt Kemp did not show better as we felt he was playing incredible defense all year.  Does this mean we lose our faith in the Plus/Minus system or in Matt Kemps abilities to play centerfield in an above average manner?