Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino have been awarded the Gold Glove at their respective positions in the American League--awards well deserved according to both the eyes and the numbers.
This is the first year that advanced defensive statistics have been involved in the Gold Glove voting. It's a welcome change after decades of the award being decided as much by a player's contribution with the bat as their ability with the glove. It's easy to see contribution with the bat, after all, and even easier to trick oneself into believing that a player so obviously good at the plate must be good in the field as well. The sheer number of writers and fans who have produced odes to the glove of the defensively-inept Derek Jeter are proof enough of that.
And unfortunately that brings us to center field and Jacoby Ellsbury, the only other member of the Red Sox nominated for the award.
There, Ellsbury came up against and ultimately lost to Adam Jones. Adam Jones who hasn't produced a positive DRS in four years, or UZR in five years. There's some debate as to what constitutes a legitimate sample size for these defensive stats, but those numbers are not within that scope, leaving them open to skepticism only from those who do not believe in defensive metrics to begin with--a battle that even the Gold Glove voters have given up on.
Ellsbury, for the record, has two negative years in his career by DRS, and one by UZR. This year those systems rated him at 13 and 10 runs saved respectively. You might call that superlative if you're not familiar with the work of one Leonys Martin, who has every bit as much right to complain as Jacoby Ellsbury for his snub.
So, yes, Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino have their awards.Who can doubt either one was deserving? The game where Shane Victorino doesn't show incredible range on a highlight play is far more remarkable than the one where he does. And Dustin Pedroia? Well, he's Dustin Pedroia. Unfortunately, even in a year where they've tried to take a step towards greater legitimacy, the selection of Adam Jones shows us that old, awful habits die hard.
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