Gold Glove Nominees Out

Over on MLB.com, the nominees for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards are posted. They will handed out in a live one-hour show on ESPN2 tonight at 10:00 PM ET.

Sometimes, it’s is hard to predict how these will go. Since 1965, the voting has been conducted by managers and coaches from each team. Those managers and coaches are not permitted to vote for their own players. Sometimes, a player’s offensive performance can skew a vote or two. Some still scream due to Derek Jeter getting the nod for AL shortstop last year.

Last year, three Reds were presented with a Gold Glove: Scott Rolen (8th, only Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt have more), Brandon Phillips (2nd) and Bronson Arroyo (1st).

This year will be even more interesting due to each outfield position being presented its own award. In the past, three outfielders regardless of outfield position were honored.

Here’s the list of nominees…

Catcher:
Yadier Molina – St. Louis, Brain McCann – Atlanta, Carlos Ruiz – Philadelphia

We know this will probably go to Molina, but should it? Actually, all three of these backstops threw out less than 30% of would be base stealers. Molina posted a career low 29%. McCann sat at 22%. Ruiz checks in at 23%. McCann allowed 104 steals. The league leader was Miguel Montero with 40%. Isn’t this part of being a great defensive catcher?

And Montero was right on par with these three in regards to passed balls and wild pitches. What gets him is errors committed. Montero made 11 while Molina and McCann each committed only 5. Ruiz only made 4. I know fielding percentage isn’t everything when it comes to defensive stats, but it appears to be he case here.

Really, it will be Molina claiming #4.

First Base:
Joey Votto – Cincinnati, Gaby Sanchez – Florida, James Loney – Los Angeles

No matter who wins, he will be a first-timer. Some thought Votto should have claimed his first last year. Wasn’t meant to be as Albert Pujols received the honor.

For 2011, Votto claimed the highest number of putouts (1,341) and assists (173) by a first baseman. His putout total led all of the NL. It does help that you also played the most games there, too. Votto was third in fielding percentage (.996). Sanchez (.996) was just above Votto in that category and Loney (.996) ranked fourth. Yes, there were that close.

This year should be a bit of a vindication for Votto. After a few felt he was snubbed in 2010, 2011 may make up for that.

Second Basemen:
Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati, Neil Walker – Pittsburgh, Omar Infante – Florida

BP is the only one nominated that has a Gold Glove in his case. While Reds fans feel Phillips is a shoo-in here, I might have to argue that…a little. Walker himself had a fine season for the Pirates. Walker actually held a better fielding percentage, range factor (for both RF/G and RF/9), led all NL second basemen in assists and putouts. Like Votto, he played the most games, so those last two may be a tad misleading.

Of these three, Infante committed the most errors with 8. BP and Walker own 6. If the coaches and managers look at the RF/9, RF/G, and total zone runs, Walker and Infante rank ahead of BP in all of those stats. Maybe the flash and the number of web gems that Phillips owns puts him over the top here for #3.

Third Base:
Placido Polanco – Philadelphia, Daniel Descalso – St. Louis, Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco

These three represent three of the top four in fielding percentage. Polanco was atop that list (977), Descalso was 3rd (.967) and Panda was 4th (.966). Polanco also led all NL third basemen in RF/G and RF/9. Despite that, Descalso committed the fewest errors with 6. He also played in less games so he had less chances. Sandoval made the most errors of the three with 10.

I feel this is Polanco’s. Oh, who was second among 3B in fielding? Chipper Jones (.976).

Shortstop:
Ronny Cedeno – Pittsburgh, Alex Gonzalez – Atlanta, Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado

Tulo garnered the nod last year. There really isn’t much to debate here either. Tulo is heads and shoulders above the other two. He committed the least errors, held the highest fielding percentage (by ten points), and had the highest range factors.

No-brainer here as Tulowitzki nabs another, his second…and back-to-back wins.

Left Field:
Ryan Braun – Milwaukee, Gerardo Parra – Arizona, Matt Holliday – St. Louis

Another first-time winner here. And I know what you might be thinking. How did Matt Holliday get a nomination? Honestly, I haven’t a clue. Maybe because he only made three errors. If that’s the case, shouldn’t Ryan Ludwick have been nominated? He only made two errors and had 10 assists (9 as a LF). This will be between Braun and Parra and Parra looks like he has the slightest of edges here.

Parra had more assists (12 to 8), but Braun had a higher fielding percentage (.996 to .993). This is so close, but I think Braun will get the hardware. Why? Better offensive season. Sometimes, that will be a tie-breaker.

Center Field:
Shane Victorino – Philadelphia, Matt Kemp – Los Angeles, Chris Young – Arizona

Another D-back? No wonder they won the NL West. Well, Young did have a solid defensive season. He only committed three errors and owned four assists. Kemp made five errors while nailing down 11 assists. Victorino was spotless in the field…no errors; however, he also had no assists.

This is a toughie as all three would be worthy. Kemp and Victorino already have Gold Gloves, too. Kemp might be the favorite despite the errors. Again, offense. And that sucks. I think Victorino should win it even though he has no assists.

Wait. Where’s Rick Ankiel or Drew Stubbs? Either could fit in here, too.

Right Field:
Jay Bruce – Cincinnati, Carlos Beltran – San Francisco, Andre Ethier – Loas Angeles

Like Victorino, Ethier was flawless with a perfect fielding percentage. Beltran was second and Bruce was fifth. When you look at assists, it’s close as both Bruce and Beltran had 10 and Ethier had eight.

In all honesty, if Ethier does not win this, I’d be shocked.

Pitcher:
Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles, Hiroki Kuroda – Los Angeles, Kyle Lohse – St. Louis

Know something? For a team that ranked 12th in the NL in total defense, the Cards have four players nominated for Gold Gloves? It may sound like I’m knocking them (I am a little), but I’m simply amazed at that. Lohse is different. He posted the most putouts (24) among these three. That can involve a couple of things: line drives back up the middle and covering first base.

Not sure if that will really factor in here. I think it did last year when Bronson Arroyo won. This is the hardest of all the nine positions to predict, but I think Lohse should win. Thing is, will Kershaw get a few votes based on his pitching performance?

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