As many readers know, defensive metrics were added to the Gold Glove Award process in 2013. For each Gold Glove, given by position by league, the SABR Defensive Index, or SDI, is assessed a weighting of 25 percent against the 75 percent from traditional manager and coach voting.
Several weeks ago, those who placed among top three overall by position by league were identified as Gold Glove Award “finalists,” an apparent move to generate additional buzz prior to the final results being divulged. Despite the implication, there was no second round of voting.
It is clear that the numbers favor Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta much more so than did the voters. In the SDI, Peralta ranked third among National League shortstops at 10.3, but he did not finish among the top three in the overall tally.
In a huge disconnect between the voting and SDI, consider the case of the third “finalist” at the position, Adeiny Hechavarria. Known to make spectacular plays at times, the Marlins shortstop obviously scored well on the voters’ “eye test,” yet was terrible defensively overall according to the SDI. In fact, at -5.7, Hechavarria was only one of three NL shortstops to log a negative score. Among the 15 ranked in SDI, Miami’s shortstop was 14th.
|2||Andrelton Simmons||ATL||13.1||GG winner|
If the metrics can be trusted at all, it sure seems like Peralta was slighted and Hechavarria was overvalued by the Gold Glove Award voters.
How did other Cardinals fare?
Looking at Cardinals players in the broader context offers a few surprises. On the positive side, Kolten Wong had the fourth-best SDI among NL second basemen. On the other hand, his predecessor Matt Carpenter was a distant 11th among Senior Circuit third sackers with a -2.1 SDI.
Here are the other top NL SDIs by position with all qualifying Cardinals included. The full listings, including the American League, can be viewed on the SABR website. While you are there, please consider joining.
|3||Zack Greinke||LAD||3.5||GG winner|
|1||Yadier Molina||STL||8.9||GG winner|
|NL first base||Player||Team||SDI||Recognition|
|1||Adrian Gonzalez||LAD||7.2||GG winner|
|NL second base||Player||Team||SDI||Recognition|
|2||DJ LeMahieu||COL||8.6||GG winner|
|NL third base||Player||Team||SDI||Recognition|
|2||Nolan Arenado||COL||10.7||GG winner|
|NL left field||Player||Team||SDI||Recognition|
|1||Christian Yelich||MIA||8.9||GG winner|
|1||Juan Lagares||NYM||16.4||GG winner|
|NL right field||Player||Team||SDI||Recognition|
|1||Jason Heyward||ATL||26.5||GG winner|
Overall, five of the nine NL Gold Glove winners were also the SDI leaders. Three award winners were second in SDI and one was third.
Other than Hechavarria, only one NL Gold Glove “finalist” had a negative SDI, first baseman Adam LaRoche. The Washington National was eighth at his position in SDI. Other NL “finalists” ranked fairly low in SDI include Pablo Sandoval, seventh at third base, and Denard Span, sixth in centerfield.