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Friday, October 27, 2017

Gold Glove Award finalists named | MLB.com

Ben Zobrist? He’s not even the best second baseman on his team.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2017 at 06:25 AM | 78 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, gold gloves

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   1. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 27, 2017 at 08:18 AM (#5563357)
How the hell did Joe Mauer not get nominated?
   2. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 27, 2017 at 08:54 AM (#5563372)
Congratulations to Freddy Galvis for getting nominated. I can't tell you who the GG winner should be, but Galvis had a fine year at SS.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:08 AM (#5563375)
I still don't like the LF/CF/RF thing.
   4. Lassus Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:16 AM (#5563378)
I still don't like the LF/CF/RF thing.

This statement confuses me. They are different positions.
   5. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:18 AM (#5563380)
I'm with Lassus. I don't know why "a left fielder is just a center fielder who couldn't hack it" is any different from "a second baseman is just a shortstop who couldn't hack it." Hell you could say the same about third basemen too.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:22 AM (#5563382)
LF/CF/RF require essentially identical skills and identical responsibilities. That's not quite the case with 3B/SS/2B, although of course there is much overlap. I think there's a difference.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:28 AM (#5563386)
And in the past exceptional corner outfielders would and could win the award. Ichiro, Bonds, Walker, etc. There was nothing broken.
   8. Lassus Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5563387)
LF/CF/RF require essentially identical skills and identical responsibilities. That's not quite the case with 3B/SS/2B, although of course there is much overlap. I think there's a difference.

I agree the overlap is more in the outfield than in the infield. I do not agree that greater overlap renders the distinction immaterial.

   9. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:36 AM (#5563389)
I guess it just feels weird to me to see Kole Calhoun win a GG while Kevin Pillar is left out. In a way that does not feel weird if Pedroia or Machado wins one but Elvis Andrus does not. Andrus might be better than either of those guys at their positions, but then again, he might not. Whereas I am goddam sure that Pillar is better than Calhoun. And in the cases where I was not goddam sure that Kevin Pillar is better than the LF or RF I'm still free to vote for the LF or RF.
   10. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:42 AM (#5563392)
How the hell did Joe Mauer not get nominated?


By BBREF WAR fielding runs, mauer was 3rd best in the AL, behind Moreland and Santana, bot finalists. Hosmer, the 3rd finalist, was 3rd worst, 14 runs behind Mauer.

Congratulations to Freddy Galvis for getting nominated. I can't tell you who the GG winner should be, but Galvis had a fine year at SS.


By BBREF fielding runs, Galvis was 12th in the NL, 20 runs behind Addison Russell, who was 1st and not nominated.

None of the NL top 3 were nominated, but 4 and 5 were, and they were close enough to 2 and 3 to not make it aggregious. Russell was far and away the best (by this metric), but playing only 110 games cost him I suppose.

For NL 3B, they nominated 1, 3, and 4, which isn't bad, but #2 Gyorko was 10 runs better than Rendon and Freese, but it doesn't matter, Arenado will win and deserve it.

At NL catcher, Posey and Molina got in on rep. Barnhart should win, but I suspect he wont.

NL 1b is a collection of the best hitters, Votto, Rizzo, and Goldschmidt, but they are also all top 4 in fielding runs. No obvious winner by the stats, so it may go to Rizzo by default.
   11. BDC Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5563399)
By observation (and by some metrics too) one guy I'd say should be on the ballot is Carlos Correa. He is a treat to watch at shortstop. However, he only played 108 games there this season (not that playing time has always factored into the Gold Glove awards). And Simmons is going to win anyway, deservingly, so it's no great injustice.

Seems odd that Simmons has not won a GG since 2014. He lost to Brandon Crawford in '15 and Francisco Lindor in '16: both pretty good, and in '16 Simmons played only 124 games, but you would figure Simmons to have become a permanent incumbent by this time.
   12. Lassus Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:53 AM (#5563400)
I guess it just feels weird to me to see Kole Calhoun win a GG while Kevin Pillar is left out. In a way that does not feel weird if Pedroia or Machado wins one but Elvis Andrus does not. Andrus might be better than either of those guys at their positions, but then again, he might not. Whereas I am goddam sure that Pillar is better than Calhoun. And in the cases where I was not goddam sure that Kevin Pillar is better than the LF or RF I'm still free to vote for the LF or RF.

Not everyone can be a winner, Mr. Millennial Baseball!
   13. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 27, 2017 at 10:06 AM (#5563411)
Zobrist? Seriously? WTF?

Seriously, I wonder if that's a mistake. Baez is the best defensive second baseman on the planet, and apart from being old and oft injured, Zobrist played about as much in the outfield as he did at second. If true, it's "Palmeiro's GG for 29 games at first base" dumb.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: October 27, 2017 at 10:09 AM (#5563414)
I guess it just feels weird to me to see Kole Calhoun win a GG while Kevin Pillar is left out. In a way that does not feel weird if Pedroia or Machado wins one but Elvis Andrus does not. Andrus might be better than either of those guys at their positions, but then again, he might not. Whereas I am goddam sure that Pillar is better than Calhoun. And in the cases where I was not goddam sure that Kevin Pillar is better than the LF or RF I'm still free to vote for the LF or RF.


I always hated the three centerfielder thing, and I'm glad they got ride of it.

They are three positions. Shortstops are overwhelmingly better infielders than first basemen, the place where you stick someone if the DH isn't available. But baseball never treated them as a single position. I've never seen a good reason to treat the outfield any differently.

   15. BDC Posted: October 27, 2017 at 10:16 AM (#5563422)
I remember a thread where it was suggested that the three outfield positions have become somewhat more distinct over the past 50-60 years (the lifetime of the Gold Gloves), with a big shift in that direction in the 1970s. Hence changing the award to reflect that is just catching up with strategic realities. Before 1960 or so the three OF positions were perhaps more "fungible," and guys would move between them pretty fluidly (look at some of Babe Ruth's game-log pages from the 1920s, for instance). As backup outfielders still do today: no fourth outfielder is a pure right fielder, for instance. Of course, no utility infielder is a pure third baseman, either.
   16. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 27, 2017 at 10:20 AM (#5563429)
Seriously, I wonder if that's a mistake. Baez is the best defensive second baseman on the planet, and apart from being old and oft injured, Zobrist played about as much in the outfield as he did at second. If true, it's "Palmeiro's GG for 29 games at first base" dumb.

I talked about it a little in the Gonfalon thread, but Zobrist played a little more 2b than Baez did this year (81g/65starts 542innings to 80/56/504 innings); Russell's injury probably cost both Russell and Baez GG nominations.
   17. stanmvp48 Posted: October 27, 2017 at 10:30 AM (#5563434)
Parra played only 106 games in the outfield and is nominated, surprisingly
   18. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 10:38 AM (#5563441)
Not everyone can be a winner, Mr. Millennial Baseball!


Hey that's not fair! We both want 9 winners. And I'm not a millenial, I'm a textbook Xennial.
   19. esseff Posted: October 27, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5563506)
The annual reminder:

These are not nominations in the sense that only now will a winner be chosen from the three listed at each position. It's not a ballot.

The voting is already over and these are the top three finishers. This pre-release is a device to get people to debate why X didn't make the list instead of Y, and thus keep the award in the public eye.

   20. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: October 27, 2017 at 12:47 PM (#5563579)
They are three positions. Shortstops are overwhelmingly better infielders than first basemen, the place where you stick someone if the DH isn't available. But baseball never treated them as a single position. I've never seen a good reason to treat the outfield any differently.

You say shortstops are "better infielders," but what's that even mean? They have better range and generally stronger arms, but they aren't necessarily more sure-handed, and we really have no basis for comparing how they are at things they don't do, like scooping, fielding bunts, making reflex plays or turning the pivot. The four positions are self-evidently distinct. Meanwhile, outfielding consists of the same handful of actions in the same general proportions across all "three" positions, with the real difference being that the guy in the middle gets the plurality of chances. The situations aren't analogous.
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 27, 2017 at 01:11 PM (#5563595)
Before 1960 or so the three OF positions were perhaps more "fungible," and guys would move between them pretty fluidly (look at some of Babe Ruth's game-log pages from the 1920s, for instance)

Fungible may not be the right concept here. My understanding is that the Babe was flip-flopped from RF to LF depending on the ballpark, more often being in the smaller territory, and sometimes avoiding the more difficult sun field, too. Back when ballparks had more variations, it may have made more sense to move your poorer fielders or better arms around more often.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: October 27, 2017 at 01:20 PM (#5563604)

You say shortstops are "better infielders," but what's that even mean? They have better range and generally stronger arms, but they aren't necessarily more sure-handed, and we really have no basis for comparing how they are at things they don't do, like scooping, fielding bunts, making reflex plays or turning the pivot.


Because the crappiest shortstops frequently move to first and do just fine. The only move crappy first basemen make is to DH or retirement. It's a much easier infield position, and the best shortstops would absolutely be better than most first baseman (perhaps not as good the Hernandez types, but that's only because his handedness forced him to play a position that's below his skill set, while being lefthanded is an absolute advantage at first).

There are nine positions on the diamond. It was silly to honor seven of them with gold gloves, while one of the positions could triple up on awards.

   23. zack Posted: October 27, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5563643)
I like the separation of the outfielders, for the same reason I hated it when the All-Star game would have an outfield of 3 LFers. A lineup card doesn't read OF/OF/OF.

That said, LF/RF is a lot fuzzier than corner-/center-fielder and there are a lot of applications where I would not draw a distinction between the two corners.
   24. JAHV Posted: October 27, 2017 at 02:12 PM (#5563687)
You say shortstops are "better infielders," but what's that even mean? They have better range and generally stronger arms, but they aren't necessarily more sure-handed, and we really have no basis for comparing how they are at things they don't do, like scooping, fielding bunts, making reflex plays or turning the pivot. The four positions are self-evidently distinct. Meanwhile, outfielding consists of the same handful of actions in the same general proportions across all "three" positions, with the real difference being that the guy in the middle gets the plurality of chances. The situations aren't analogous.


Shortstops do all of the things first basemen do in some form or another (field short-hops, charge groundballs, turn to make throws, etc.) and a whole lot more. I find it hard to believe that there's a competent shortstop out there who wouldn't be a very good first baseman.

All that to say, I also like that the three outfield positions are separated for Gold Glove purposes. I think it makes more sense to honor all the positions than to ignore two of them.
   25. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 02:26 PM (#5563712)
I find it hard to believe that there's a competent shortstop out there who wouldn't be a very good first baseman.


I wonder how much length/stretching matters. The Mets had Rey Ordonez and John Olerud on the field at the same time. Ordonez would have had much greater range than Olerud, and although Olerud was well-appreciated for his scooping ability and consistency, Ordonez had preposterously quick hands and no doubt would have been at least his equal in that regard. But he was never going to be as tall as Olerud or have arms as long. And sometimes that matters. And he was a righty, of course.

I honestly don't know the answer - I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the tall slow fellow is better, and I also wouldn't be surprised to learn that you get as much value out of a rangey Ordonez type at first base as you do at the other infield positions.
   26. Gaelan Posted: October 27, 2017 at 02:43 PM (#5563738)
Preservedfish is right.

The infield positions are clearly different. They require different skills. It isn't true that the best shortstop would necessarily be the best 3B, 2B, or 1B, and in any case, that is immaterial because if they were also the best it would be by showcasing those different skills.

The outfield positions, on the other hand, are identical.

There aren't two sides to this debate.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 27, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5563743)
Zobrist? Seriously? WTF?

Seriously, I wonder if that's a mistake. Baez is the best defensive second baseman on the planet,

Yeah, but Javy is pretty much a slam dunk for the Golden Mullet Extension award. So it's like why pitchers who win the Cy Young sometimes don't get the MVP.
   28. JustDan Posted: October 27, 2017 at 03:00 PM (#5563751)
That said, LF/RF is a lot fuzzier than corner-/center-fielder and there are a lot of applications where I would not draw a distinction between the two corners.

Plus LF seems to be a rotating position for many teams. In the NL only two players had more than 450 plate appearances as a LF (Ozuna and Duvall). And only 8 had 300 PA (adding Kemp, Schwarber, Braun, Pham, Cespedes and Parra).
   29. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 27, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5563761)
Shortstops do all of the things first basemen do in some form or another (field short-hops, charge groundballs, turn to make throws, etc.) and a whole lot more.


First basemen field short-hops (bad throws) without having the option of adjusting their position to field the ball (keeping a foot on the bag).
Watching Justin Smoak scoop throws from Donaldson/Goins/Tulowitzki/Barney makes you realize that is a special skill that they utilize that isn't used anywhere else on the field (or nearly as often).
He's REALLY good at it, and it's definitely saved the other infielders a few errors this season.
   30. Tim D Posted: October 27, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5563778)
Playing 4 major league regular SS in the IF would give you the best defensive IF anywhere, ever. Put the tallest one at 1B. Players who can stay at SS full-time in the bigs are by far superior defensive athletes than any other infielders and would easily dominate. That said it would be ludicrous to give the GG to the top 4 (or 9) SS and let the other positions go begging. If Kevin Pillar actually played RF he'd probably get a GG. But he doesn't, he plays CF and he isn't as good as Buxton. So we should give him a GG because if he played left or right he would be better than those guys? Bull Crap.
   31. Tim D Posted: October 27, 2017 at 03:27 PM (#5563780)
Donaldson/Goins/Tulowitzki/Barney could probably each and all scoop better than Smoak with a little practice, and get to a helluva lot more balls.
   32. Lassus Posted: October 27, 2017 at 03:38 PM (#5563790)
The outfield positions, on the other hand, are identical.

Gaelan, why? Just, why would you write something so ridiculously hyperbolic?
   33. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 27, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5563795)
Gaelan, why? Just, why would you write something so ridiculously hyperbolic?
I thought we were all familiar with Gaelan's penchant for hyperbole, no?
   34. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 03:54 PM (#5563800)
Playing 4 major league regular SS in the IF would give you the best defensive IF anywhere, ever.


I do not think this is true. But it's an interesting proposition.

According to fangraphs positional adjustments, 4 average shortstops would be +30 runs above an average infield. They'll get +5 runs over an average 2B, +5 runs over an average 3B. SS > 1B is the whopper, +20 runs.

+30 is terrific but it's not the best defense ever.

Let's put some names to this: Xander Bogaerts, Alcides Escobar, Didi Gregorius, Trevor Story. Four average starting shortstops. Is that the best defensive infield ever? Sure doesn't sound like it to me. I'd rather have Bryant, Russell, Baez and Rizzo. The adjustments ignore the different responsibilities at different positions. Some positions are undoubtedly are better suited to some players - do you think Nolan Arenado, a legit +20 3B, would be a +15 shortstop? I don't.

And, I mean, come on. It's not unusual to have multiple capable SS defenders on one roster. Sometimes when a shortstop switches positions it's a revelation (think Pokey Reese or Manny Machado). But sometimes it's not. I'm sure there have been teams that have played 3 real shortstops in the infield. I doubt they were automatically exceptional. A +5 here or a +7 there doesn't make history.
   35. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 04:01 PM (#5563806)
I watched the 1999 Mets play a lot of games. They had a legit +15 3B, a legit +20 shortstop, a +5 2B, and a +10 1B. That's +50. That's better than a random collection of four shortstops would give you.
   36. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 27, 2017 at 04:04 PM (#5563809)
Donaldson/Goins/Tulowitzki/Barney could probably each and all scoop better than Smoak with a little practice, and get to a helluva lot more balls.


That's the point, right? They would need to learn the skill that the first baseman already has at that position.

If you think you could drop Beltre (last year's AL 3B GG winner) at 1B and expect him to field the position as well as Moreland (last year's AL 1B GG winner) without any (extensive) practice...well I think that's crazy.
And once they've learned the skills, they are now 1Bmen.
   37. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 04:10 PM (#5563812)
The outfield positions, on the other hand, are identical.

Gaelan, why? Just, why would you write something so ridiculously hyperbolic?


I don't see it as ridiculously hyperbolic. It's essentially true. The jobs have the same responsibilities, exactly. And each favors the same skills. There are some mild differences of emphasis, like putting the guy with the stronger arm in right and the weaker arm in left, but that's nothing compared to the skill difference between 2B and 3B, for example.
   38. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 27, 2017 at 04:12 PM (#5563816)
Once again, Javy is probably the exception to this rule. He's a SS by trade, but is very clearly superior at 2b and 3b and was virtually immediately, and I believe he'd be just as good as Rizzo at first, if not better, today.
   39. DavidFoss Posted: October 27, 2017 at 04:20 PM (#5563827)
There are some mild differences of emphasis, like putting the guy with the stronger arm in right and the weaker arm in left, but that's nothing compared to the skill difference between 2B and 3B, for example.

For LF vs RF, I somewhat agree. I mean, if the arm is a total noodle, then he needs to play LF but you can get by in RF with an adequate arm.

The original statement included CF, though. That's a totally different position because of the range required. Lots of best-player-in-baseball types play CF, but it is also not uncommon to have a guy batting 8th or 9th in CF.
   40. Tim D Posted: October 27, 2017 at 04:29 PM (#5563833)
The average SS is plus whatever at SS, by far the hardest position. They are going to be BETTER at the other positions. Most players who move off SS (ARod and Machado the notable exceptions) do so because they can't cut it anymore. You take 4 players who can handle SS, who don't need to move, you are going to have one incredible infield. And sure, a little practice would be necessary. An off-season and a spring training would suffice. But none of this means Freddy Galvis should get a GG rather the the best 2B or 1B in the NL. That's a what if argument. If Yasiel Puig pitched he could probably be a hell of a closer. Should we give him the relief man award?
   41. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 04:29 PM (#5563834)
That's a totally different position because of the range required.

But the skills - judging flyballs in all directions and running and catching them - are identical. You want the better guy in the center, but the job is identical.

You can't say the same for 3B and 2B. Yes, they both field ground balls and throw the ball to first, but the realities of the position are so different that the stereotypical 2B and 3B are now hilariously different figures - the tall 3B with catlike reflexes and strong arm vs the tiny fast guy with the fancy handwork on the DP turn.

Look, this isn't controversial. The differences are more significant in the infield. You know they are. What Lassus said in #8 is pretty much the only argument available here.
   42. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 27, 2017 at 04:40 PM (#5563840)
You can't say the same for 3B and 2B. Yes, they both field ground balls and throw the ball to first, but the realities of the position are so different that the stereotypical 2B and 3B are now hilariously different figures - the tall 3B with catlike reflexes and strong arm vs the tiny fast guy with the fancy handwork on the DP turn.


But this is the point. Look at the best in the game at those spots; Machado was a minor league shortstop who came to the majors...and moved to third base. Javier Baez was a minor league shortstop who came to the majors...and moved to second base. Virtually everyone who is in the majors at 2B/3B/LF/RF started life as a shortstop or center field (I'll concede first base is a bit different because of the height issue). Heck, all three 2nd base finalists this year played more games at short than 2nd in the minors but were moved. Pedroia moved in the minors because he was teamed up with Hanley and the Sox knew he didn't have the arm for short.

Dozier 289 SS/47 2B
Pedroia 132 SS/131 2B
Kinsler 184 SS/148 2B
   43. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 04:50 PM (#5563845)
Jose, my point is that one can typically assume that the second best CF would be better than the best RF/LF,* because of the almost totally perfect overlap of skills and the complete lack of learning curve involved with a switch. But one cannot always assume that the second best SS would be better than the best 2B/3B. (Zack Cozart or Nolan Arenado, who you got?)


*Please note that this isn't true 100% of the time, and that the old voting scheme allowed voters to deal with this possibility as they saw fit. I think the historical results argue in favor of this approach - only the most superb LF and RF would win awards.
   44. jmurph Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:00 PM (#5563853)
Jose, my point is that one can typically assume that the second best CF would be better than the best RF/LF,* because of the almost totally perfect overlap of skills and the complete lack of learning curve involved with a switch. But one cannot always assume that the second best SS would be better than the best 2B/3B.

Even if all of this is stipulated, the Gold Glove seeks to honor "the best individual fielding performances at each position" in each league, each year. It's not supposed to be a theoretical exercise about who the best 9 fielders are in baseball at any given moment.
   45. Tim D Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:03 PM (#5563854)
"only the most superb LF and RF would win awards."

Instead of people who actually play the position. So just give the 2B and 3B GGs to the second and third best SS too, because they are better than the guys who had to move to 2B or 3B because they couldn't cut it at SS. Hell, they'd probably be better catchers, too. If all that mattered was defense everybody would have 10 shortstops and 5 center fielders and nothing else.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:14 PM (#5563861)
#44 - Clearly it's up for debate, as that wasn't the case for four decades.

#45 - Not sure what the point of such a clumsy argument is.
   47. Tim D Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:18 PM (#5563863)
"do you think Nolan Arenado, a legit +20 3B, would be a +15 shortstop?"

No, but I think Trevor Story or Elvis Andrus would be just as good or better at 3B than Arenado or Beltre. Having 4 SS in the infield would cut ground-ball hits to almost nothing. Most great 3B are still there because they lack the range of a SS, and since a 3B job is to get to every ball he can, guys with better range would make more plays. With 4 SS your middle infielders can afford to cheat up the middle. It would be murder. But if everybody did it you would playing a bunch of guys like Brendan Ryan and never score any runs.
   48. jmurph Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:19 PM (#5563864)
#44 - Clearly it's up for debate, as that wasn't the case for four decades.

The quote in my post is from the Rawlings website- I'm assuming the only change was that they specify all 9 positions now, rather than the nebulous outfielder of years past?
   49. Tim D Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:19 PM (#5563865)
Clumsy perhaps your grace but right.
   50. Tim D Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:22 PM (#5563867)
honor "the best individual fielding performances at each position"

This. Not the "athletes who could, if given the chance, play the position better than anybody else."
   51. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5563872)
#48, 50 -

You can't argue that I have some weird aberrant interpretation if the official award did it this way for 90% of its history.
   52. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:30 PM (#5563873)
Clumsy perhaps your grace but right.

I see you didn't respond to #34. I think the rest of us are having a nice argument here, but you're just throwing out unsupported assertions, not looking at my actual words, and declaring victory. Clumsy is a generous way to characterize your contributions here.
   53. Barnaby Jones Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:43 PM (#5563879)
But the skills - judging flyballs in all directions and running and catching them - are identical. You want the better guy in the center, but the job is identical.


This is not true. Due to spin, the ball moves differently when hit to the different parts of the outfield. Balls hit to CF do not typically move the same as balls hit to LF or RF. Reading the ball of the bat is not the same in the corners.

Further, RF typically benefits the most from having a cannon arm.
   54. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 05:49 PM (#5563883)
It's like 95% true. It's rare to hear about a fielder that can handle one but not the other. The difference is much, much less than the difference between 3B and 2B, where you have a wildly different amount of time to field and throw the ball.

Again. Are you really arguing that the outfield positions are just as similar to each other as the infield positions? Of course not, nobody believes that.
   55. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2017 at 06:16 PM (#5563896)
#21: Regarding BDC's point ... the main shift is that once upon a time, CFs hit about as well as the other OF positions. There was no obvious attempt to put fast guys in CF with a few notable exceptions. As the 60s and 70s hit, you see a substantial drop in offense among CFs.

This is correctly noted in the Rpos ratings.

Cobb -96 (generally -3 to -4 for the years we know he was in CF)
JoeD -18 (generally -1)
Mays -20 (generally -1)
Flood -9 (0 or -1)
Geronimo 0 (CF years)
White +24 (1 to 3)
Beltran +29 (CF years, 1 to 3)
Trout +8 (2-3)

That's not massive, 3-4 runs between 1950 and 1980. It's similar and maybe a bit more noticeable when looking at top offensive production. # of qualified CF seasons (80%) with an OPS+ of 120 or more by decade (number of teams, number of qualified CF seasons):

1920-29 48 (16 teams, 117 qual'd seasons)
1930-39 32 (16, 123)
...
1950-59 42 (16, 108)
1960-69 43 (18-24, 110)
1970-79 49 (24-26, 143)
1980-89 45 (26, 155)
1990-99 47 (26-30, 167)
2000-09 44 (30, 175)
2010-17 31 (30, 129 ... on pace for about 40)

When we get to the 80s, it's clearly under 2 per team per decade, then 1.5, maybe now 1.3. On a percentage of qualified seasons basis, it hovered around 40% until the 70s when it dipped below 35%. Then under 30% in the 80s and 90s, 25% in the 00s and a bit under that so far in the 10s. The 30s stand out quite a bit here.

This could all be about changes in the underlying distribution (and supply) of baseball talent == whether due to expansion or the tightening of the distribution of talent over time (a la Gould) -- tilting some positions towards defense and maybe others towards offense.
   56. Tim D Posted: October 27, 2017 at 06:58 PM (#5563907)
"Clumsy is a generous way to characterize your contributions here"

More appropriate for yours. I responded to 34. You take SS #s and distribute them around the IF without accounting the fact that say Baez or Russell, at 1B instead of Rizzo, or at 3B instead of Bryant, would get to way, way more balls and allow the middle infielders to cheat up the middle. The collective numbers of the IF would be way, way higher. Your infield defense would be hugely better. If you want to play the absolute best defenders at all 9 positions you would likely have about 6 SS, 2 CF and, maybe, a catcher if you had Javy Molina. But likely your catcher would be a SS too. They are simply the best athletes. But you have to score runs, so compromises are made as you move down the defensive spectrum. Take away the need for that compromise and Brendan Ryan or Andrew Romine is a better 3B or 1B than most of your Gold Glovers. By far.

But none of this is to suggest that we should take GGs away from the people that actually play the position. The way they do it now is best, IMH clumsy opinion. The old way with 2 or 3 CF's winning it was, well, clumsy. About like 61* was clumsy.

I can't help it that you're blind along with deaf and dumb too.
   57. Baldrick Posted: October 27, 2017 at 07:15 PM (#5563912)
I have always been somewhat agnostic on the argument about letting CFs win all three outfield GGs, and have found interesting comments on both sides. But in this particular conversation the "SS: other infield positions = CF: other OF positions" argument is getting beaten like it's the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Time to go back to the drawing board and start over, folks.
   58. JAHV Posted: October 27, 2017 at 07:29 PM (#5563915)
Again. Are you really arguing that the outfield positions are just as similar to each other as the infield positions? Of course not, nobody believes that.


No, but they're different enough that it makes sense to separate the award. And I think they're more different than you're giving them credit for.
   59. The Duke Posted: October 27, 2017 at 08:02 PM (#5563928)
Wow. David Freese with a GG nomination. Congrats. I saw him early in the season and he looked like a changed man. Thin, fast, quick. Strange aging curve. Whatever he’s doing or whatever he’s stopped doing - he should stay there course.
   60. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 08:06 PM (#5563930)
I have always been somewhat agnostic on the argument about letting CFs win all three outfield GGs, and have found interesting comments on both sides. But in this particular conversation the "SS: other infield positions = CF: other OF positions" argument is getting beaten like it's the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Time to go back to the drawing board and start over, folks.


Who's winning?
   61. cardsfanboy Posted: October 27, 2017 at 08:21 PM (#5563936)
I have always been somewhat agnostic on the argument about letting CFs win all three outfield GGs, and have found interesting comments on both sides. But in this particular conversation the "SS: other infield positions = CF: other OF positions" argument is getting beaten like it's the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Time to go back to the drawing board and start over, folks.


Agreed. The big difference really lies in how often you see players move to other positions. In the outfield teams are usually(not always) willing to move the veteran cf with the big contract to the corner for a younger more athletic defender, even during the season. You don't see that happening at short.(at least not as frequently) And as far as the corners goes, starting position players for many teams routinely see time at both corners in a season. Not your Larry Walkers of course, but the lesser defensive players move around based upon the skills of their other teammates at the time.

You don't often see a team with an established major league starting shortstop, move the guy to second or third during the season when they call up a defensive wiz from the minors, instead the rookie gets the job of moving around.(and yes I get that a large portion of that is "rank has it's privilege", but a small portion is the learning curve associated with the different positions on the infield)


To me, the real problem with locking in the 9 positions, is that for the corner outfield spots, it's tough to find enough guys who qualify at the position to make a good list. We were talking about this during the season, and you have to have 698 innings played at the position by your teams 138th game.... In the NL, there were only four eligible left fielders(Duvall, Ozuna, Parra and Kemp)

Edit: after having typed that, I find out that Zobrist had less than the innings to qualify, so it's possible our interpretation of the rule was wrong in the previous thread. (reading the full rule, I see how he has qualified now..... and we did miss the last part of the rule when we had the discussion earlier in the season)


Player Qualifications
To qualify for consideration for a particular position, a player must have played a minimum number of games or innings (based on position) at that position:

• All pitchers must have pitched in at least 138 innings by his team’s 138th game;

• A catcher must have played in at least half of his team’s games by his team’s 138th game (a minimum of 69 games);

• All infielders and outfielders must have played in the field for at least 698 total innings through his team’s 138th game: this equates to playing in the field for approximately 7.5 innings per game in approximately 67% of his team’s games by his team’s 138th game; this ensures that only full-time players are considered);

All infielders and outfielders with at least 698 total innings played qualify at the specific position where he played the most innings (i.e. where his manager utilized him the most)
   62. Baldrick Posted: October 27, 2017 at 08:44 PM (#5563956)
Who's winning?

You!
   63. SoSH U at work Posted: October 27, 2017 at 08:48 PM (#5563957)
PF: One of your objections seems to be that Kevin Pillar could go play right and you know he'd be good. But reverse it. Do you honestly believe that the Gold Glove first base candidates would play first (at least initially - you might stick a Votto or a Goldschmidt there if you saw that his bat was too damn valuable - as the Cards did with Pujols - to give him a meaningful/defensive responsibility) if they could hack it at somewhere else in the infield? History says no.

Forget what cinematic Wash said. First is, by far, the easiest defensive position. It's where shortstops and third basemen who can still hit but can't field any more play. It's where old corner outfielders go when they can't chase fly balls any longer. It's where David Ortiz or Edgar Martinez play when the rules won't allow them to be a DH. If you're going to honor the best of the worst defenders with a Gold Glove, then why wouldn't you do the same with corner outfielders? I just don't see how the fact that playing first requires slightly more varied requirements than playing the other infield positions compared with the differences between center and the corners is justification for the distinction you want to draw.

All but the very worst shortstops are better infielders than the best first basemen. I have absolutely no doubt that the best would go there and be the very best at the position in short order. They're being compared to lugs.

You wanna give gold gloves to the best four infielders independent of position and three to the best overall outfielders, that's reasonable. Or one to the best at each position, sure. But drawing the line between the two just makes no sense to me, and never did.

   64. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 08:53 PM (#5563961)
Who's winning?

You!


Woohoo! I am so smart! I am so smart! S M R T!

Now I'm going to scrupulously ignore SoSH U's comment because I just read the first line and I'm betting it's going to be an excellent point that I cannot respond to.
   65. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:16 PM (#5563998)
SoSH U, I don't know what to say except that I disagree. The differences in the infield seem significant to me in comparison to the differences in the outfield.
   66. PreservedFish Posted: October 27, 2017 at 10:21 PM (#5564070)
Funny that a relevant link just popped up in the newsblog. The BP article we need to talk about defense discusses how transferable skills are between positions and finds that that they are less transferable than expected.

I looked into one skill, which is the ability of a player to range over and get to a ground ball hit in his general area ... I then found players who had experience with at least 100 such ground balls at second base and another 100 at shortstop. Their “success rates” correlated at a mere r = .237. That’s … not what we might expect. We’re measuring a single skill for the same group of players within the same time frame. That correlation should be higher...

It seems that Smith is a different man at shortstop than he is at second base, or at least that knowing what Smith is like at shortstop tells us very little about Smith at second base.


I took the analysis one step further. I found players who—over the seven years in the data set—had at least 500 ground balls at shortstop, and found their success rate on those balls. Then, I looked at what happened when those players were playing second base ... Can we use the player’s shortstop success rate to predict whether he would get to that ball now that he was playing second? It turns out that the answer was no. And that when I swapped positions out across the infield, the sort of cross-pollination that we might expect never happened.



It also links this article, which argues that moves down the defensive spectrum are much less predictable than we expect, and this article, which argues that unfamiliarity with first base represents as much as a 10 run penalty.

However, none of these articles, from what I can tell, addresses moves from one outfield position to another. It's almost as if the writers didn't think it worth considering?
   67. Tim M Posted: October 28, 2017 at 01:12 AM (#5564239)
I'll register a vote in favor of OF/OF/OF for the 3 gold gloves. The skills are so similar. Reminds me of the new All-MLB teams, where Tommy Pham makes 1st team as the LF, while Stanton gets bumped to 2nd team.

Also where's JBJ? [Looks it up] "only" 1.3 dWar, which is a bit out of the top 10. Still to the naked eye he is awesome out there.
   68. Barnaby Jones Posted: October 28, 2017 at 05:08 AM (#5564247)
Again. Are you really arguing that the outfield positions are just as similar to each other as the infield positions? Of course not, nobody believes that.


That’s a straw man. They don’t have to be just as similar, and nobody is claiming they are. They just have to be different to some degree. The corner infield positions aren’t as similar as the middle infield positions, but who cares?

I think Ender Inciarte is probably a better CF than Jason Heyward. I think Jason Heyard is probably a better RF than Inciarte. Because they each have a million more repetitions at those positions. I don’t think the difference is huge, but I think it exists.
   69. PreservedFish Posted: October 28, 2017 at 08:16 AM (#5564262)
Barnaby, you might be right about that. It's an unusual situation. But Heyward's the type of rare corner outfielder that would win a GG under the old voting guidelines, when all outfielders were lumped together. So again, I see no reason to have changed things. Sometimes you want to award Jason Heyward. Sometimes you want to award both Devon White and Kenny Lofton. It worked fine.
   70. cardsfanboy Posted: October 28, 2017 at 09:26 AM (#5564279)
I'll register a vote in favor of OF/OF/OF for the 3 gold gloves. The skills are so similar. Reminds me of the new All-MLB teams, where Tommy Pham makes 1st team as the LF, while Stanton gets bumped to 2nd team.


I'm assuming you were just using this to illustrate a point, but Pham vs Stanton shouldn't be the complaint. in 128 game season Pham put up the 4th highest War(among position players) in the NL. If you are doing an all-team in the outfield for 2017 it makes perfect sense for it to go Pham/Blackmon/Stanton.... The complaint would be about who ever was the first team right fielder(I'm assuming Harper?) , not the first team left fielder.

Edit: if you got your Marlins mixed up, and meant Ozuna being second team in left instead of Pham, I can see the complaint to an extent, but Pham did have the better season.
   71. Moeball Posted: October 29, 2017 at 05:23 PM (#5564983)
Looking at the comments on the differences between outfield positions makes me think about something I've always wondered about. Just how much of outfield defensive value comes from the actual fielding and how much comes from the throwing? I ask because of players such as Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson. Tremendous range allowed them to catch anything hit their way, but weak throwing arms had teams shying away from playing them in CF, although the Yanks did have Rickey! in CF for a few years. But every defensive measure I've seen shows them both as excellent CFers for whatever time they played there, so I'm not sure the throwing aspect really matters as much as traditional baseball people seem to think. Were managers afraid that the strain of playing a more difficult position would hurt their hitting? Another interesting experiment 2 decades before those guys came when the Red Sox decided in 1964 to make Yaz their CF, and by all analysis I've seen, he played the position very well, but the team did feel it hurt his hitting so they moved him back to LF in 1965. One unusual thing about that example, however, might be that Fenway's unique situation with The Green Monster may have made Yaz actually more valuable in LF than CF, as an ability to play caroms off the wall quickly and with a strong throwing arm could potentially save a ton of runs.
   72. PreservedFish Posted: October 29, 2017 at 06:10 PM (#5564999)
#71 - both got bumped to left at a young age by superlative entrenched centerfielders, Dwayne Murphy and Andy Van Slyke.
   73. The Duke Posted: October 29, 2017 at 07:54 PM (#5565038)
There’s huge differences in the three OF positions. In CF you have to cover gaps to your left and right and the trajectory of the ball is very different. The LF is always the weakest arm. The RF always the strongest arm because of the need to make throws to third and home more frequently. The CF requires more speed and quick-twitch capability.

They should be separate awards
   74. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 29, 2017 at 09:14 PM (#5565141)
There’s huge differences in the three OF positions. In CF you have to cover gaps to your left and right and the trajectory of the ball is very different. The LF is always the weakest arm. The RF always the strongest arm because of the need to make throws to third and home more frequently. The CF requires more speed and quick-twitch capability.

They should be separate awards


If you can run and throw, you play CF. If you can run but not throw, you play LF. If you can throw but not run, you play RF. If you can do neither, you play 1B.
   75. cardsfanboy Posted: October 29, 2017 at 10:19 PM (#5565301)
The thing about the outfield is that player routinely move around to multiple outfield positions depending on a wide variety of factors, and that includes starters (I mean Stan Musial has over 300 games at all three outfield positions). The infield, movement is a bit more limited, at least among starters. (note: the utility player, is much more common now than it was in the past though..so that might be changing, what the Cardinals are doing with Carpenter and others is pretty unusual historically, but it's happening all over baseball nowadays)

I honestly think people are being a bit disingenuous when they act like the infield positions are as fungible as the outfield positions, simply to be contrarian.

Yes the outfield positions have their own idiosyncrasies, but it's not to the same level of change as moving from short to another infield position.
   76. Lassus Posted: October 30, 2017 at 09:11 AM (#5566379)
but that's nothing compared to the skill difference between 2B and 3B, for example.

The reality of many fungible utility infielders seems in conflict with this statement.

Also, my argument has never been IT'S THE SAME AS THE INFIELD, my argument is quite simply THE POSITIONS ARE NOT IDENTICAL (and shouldn't be treated as such for award purposes). That's basically it.
   77. jmurph Posted: October 30, 2017 at 09:37 AM (#5566401)
Also, my argument has never been IT'S THE SAME AS THE INFIELD, my argument is quite simply THE POSITIONS ARE NOT IDENTICAL (and shouldn't be treated as such for award purposes). That's basically it.

Right, I think most people are using the infield comparison to make the point that if gold gloves were just about rewarding the truly superior defensive players, we would give the 9 awards to like 5-6 shortstops, 1-2 catchers, and 1-2 center fielders. Something like that. But, in reality, the awards are about* rewarding actual defensive performance at the 9 positions on the diamond each season in each league, hence the award for all 3 outfield positions. It doesn't matter that Andrelton Simmons would field the pitcher's spot better than Chris Sale, everyone knows that and no one cares.

*Well technically they're about rewarding the best defensive performances from those players above a certain baseline offensive performance and/or level of fame. But you know what I mean.
   78. Rally Posted: October 30, 2017 at 09:47 AM (#5566410)
I find it hard to believe that there's a competent shortstop out there who wouldn't be a very good first baseman.


Hanley Ramirez was a competent shortstop who turned into a craptastic LF and then into a competent 1B - definitely would not call him VG at first. But he was a few years removed from SS, and looks to be quite a bit bulkier than he was when playing short.

Ernie Banks was a fine shortstop, and as far as I know, just an ordinary first baseman, but that's the result of age and injuries. Ernie was not close the same player he had been earlier in his career.

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