The National League Gold Glove winners were announced last night, and it sparked some conversation between Pirate fans when zero Pirates were named as winners. Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Russell Martin were nominated, and they were beat out by Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, and Yadier Molina.
While the gold glove has been turning into a joke of an award in the eyes of baseball fans these past couple seasons, I disagree with two of these picks. It might sound biased, but in my opinion, Marte and Martin were very deserving of winning the gold glove award at their respective positions.
Unfortunately, I agree with Gomez winning over McCutchen. I’m not a big fan of Gomez, and he’s a player who constantly annoys me with the way he handles himself and plays the game. When it come down to it though, there’s no denying that he is a hell of a center fielder who was deserving of the award. And no worries, this will all be forgotten about when McCutchen wins the National League MVP award on November 14th.
Oct 9, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (6) makes a diving catch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the third inning in game five of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
When it comes to Marte, I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw Gonzalez get the nod over him. Some might say Marte going on the disabled list and missing some games played an affect in the voting, but that idea is immediately washed away when you find out that Marte played 25 more games than CarGo in 2013.
Gonzalez’s offensive season is what won him the award. In the 110 games that CarGo played, he drove in 70 runs on 26 homers, while carrying a .302 batting average. He was in the discussion for NL MVP before he got injured. I obviously watched Marte play a lot more than Gonzalez in 2013, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Marte was the more deserving player for the left field gold glove award. After watching Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, Josh Harrison, and others play left field for the Pirates this past season, I realized how solid of a defender Marte really is, and how he is one of the more complete outfielders in the MLB. His offensive season wasn’t as good as Gonzalez’s in 2013, and believe it or not, that’s what decided the award between the two.
When you move to the catching position, Molina won his sixth consecutive gold glove award at the catcher position. Molina’s 2013 season was nothing short of spectacular, and a lot of people have Molina listed as the NL MVP, right around McCutchen and Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s gained the reputation as a lockdown defender throughout the past four of five seasons, and his caught stealing percentage is just as good as anybody’s in the MLB.
When it comes to this past season though, choosing anybody over Martin is ludicrous. When you look at the defensive production by recent catchers such as Ryan Doumit, Rod Barajas, Chris Snyder, and Michael McKenry, you can’t take Martin’s defensive presence for granted. His most recent season behind the plate was incredible, and he threw out 36 base runners, which is eight more than any other player in the MLB, and 16 more than Molina. Sure, a lot more runners attempt to steal against Martin as opposed to Molina, but Martin was as solid as they come this past season in shutting down opposing base runners.
Apr 29, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin (55) throws to first base during the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Martin’s offensive season in 2013 wasn’t nearly as good as Molina’s, and you have to think that came into play here. The idea of batting statistics playing a role in gold glove winners is ridiculous, but it’s been looking more and more true these past couple seasons.
Molina is most likely going to win the majority, if not all, of the gold gloves until the day he retires, and the reputation he has gained these past couple seasons as the best defensive catcher in the MLB will be a big contributor in that. When you look at the more pure and deserving defensive catcher this past season, my pick would go to Martin.
While Gonzalez winning over Marte is worse than Molina winning over Martin, the wrong call was made on both of them. The reputation aspect is another thing that will accompany offensive statistics in this discussion for many years to come. I mean lets be honest: these voters don’t watch defensive film for these players. They watch the highlight reel plays made by them, rather than the overall steady play of the fielder, along with the offensive statistics which show that the player had a very good season at the plate.
While some fans may think the reputation and batting theory of the gold glove award isn’t true, I think these two picks further prove the point being made by many baseball fanatics.