Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What The Hell, He's a Winner, Right?

Baseball's joke of an award, the Gold Gloves (and not the Golden Gloves, as that is a boxing tournament), were announced yesterday for the American League, and once again the voters saw fit to award Derek Jeter one for shortstop, and for the fifth time in his career.

Simply beyond ludicrous.

Allan at The Joy of Sox pointed out today that Jeter is ranked 27th out of 28 shortstops, according to this ranking at Baseball Reference. And the good folks at The Fielding Bible took a survey of writers and broadcasters to rank MLB shortstops from 1 to 10. Twenty shortstops received at least one vote. How many did Jeter receive?

None. Nada. Zilch.

Listen, this post isn't a rip at Jeter. He didn't ask or campaign for this award. And of course, he shouldn't decline the award. But a good majority of the baseball world knows that he is a below-average shortstop. His range has never been good and it isn't getting better.

Managers and coaches vote for the Gold Gloves. And historically they have made some awful selections. Like when Rafael Palmeiro won the award at first base despite playing less than 30 games there one year. And in the early 1990s when Benito Santiago won the award for catchers despite leading the NL in BOTH errors and passed balls. The award is simply a popularity contest, pure and simple.

I can only imagine that the managers and coaches are handed the ballots in mid-to-late September, and I also bet that most don't give more than 30 seconds of their time to filling it out. They see a player who has been having a fine year at the plate and vote for him at his position whether the stats say he has been having a good year in the field or not. Or they feel a sense of respect for one player, or since he's won before, what the hell, give it to him again.

The system for picking the Gold Gloves has to amended. Letting it go to this vote has proven to be a mistake. The voters simply don't look at numbers, or just don't care about them. I am hesitant to turn the balloting over to sportswriters, but maybe MLB should get the sabermatricians in on it, like the guys from The Fielding Bible, who know their stuff in this area. The award should be based on some merits of the year, not some bowing down before players who don't deserve the award.

It is a complete and utter travesty, and has been long before Derek Jeter ever stepped on a baseball field.

1 comment:

Peter N said...

Well said, John. I laughed when I heard that he had won.