Award Season kicked off on Tuesday night. Yeah, it's the Gold Gloves. Yeah, it's kind of a joke. But when they get one right, it's worth celebrating.
The Royals were the only team with four players who made the cut to the award show (or whatever it was they called it on ESPN2) for the Gold Glove. Interesting in that they finished dead last in the AL in defensive efficiency.
Alex Gordon won the award in left field.
Gordon had another exceptional year in left. According to The Fielding Bible, he led all left fielders in Runs Saved with 24. His closest competition in left was Tampa's Desmond Jennings who finished with nine Runs Saved. Yes, Gordon practically lapped the field. In fact, his 24 Runs Saved was tied for the best mark among all outfielders. Impressive.
Also according to The Fielding Bible, Gordon made 46 "Good Fielding Plays" up from 32 last year. (A Good Fielding Play is defined to include events such as assists, robbing a home run, holding a runner to a single, etc.)
With such high marks, it wasn't a surprise that Gordon won his first ever Fielding Bible Award. Bonus points for being a unanimous selection. Now he adds his second Gold Glove to his award cabinet.
We bash the Royals regularly (and deservedly so for the most part) but they deserve some credit here. I know some will argue they had to move Gordon to left to accomodate Mike Moustakas, but they could have just as easily had kept him at third until Moose was deemed ready and then flipped him for pennies on the dollar or let him walk as a free agent (or, given how his career was going before the move, even non-tendered him as an arbitration eligible.) Credit to Gordon for seamlessly making the switch and kickstarting his career.
More to come...
According to a Royals press release sent immediately following the announcement of the award for Gordon, fellow finalists Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas didn't win Gold Gloves.
Moustakas had a helluva defensive season at the hot corner. Moose ranked second in the league with 14 Runs Saved - one ahead of Adrian Beltre. (The leader, Brett Lawrie with 20 runs saved wasn't even a finalist for this award. How does something like that happen?!?) With Moose and Gordon on the left side (along with Alcides Escobar) that side of the Royals defense is just really solid. Although The SS Jesus needs to put in a little more work to realize his potential.
Aside from Hosmer at first and the Royals fourth finalist was Jeff Francoeur in right. Both players finished outside the top 30 in Runs Saved at their position. Francoeur makes the shortlist on reputation... And arm strength. But come on... If you think Francoeur was the best fielder in the AL, you didn't watch any Royals baseball last summer.
As for Hosmer, the former Royal Minor League Defensive Player of the Year (cough) has been a disappointment with the glove at first. At least to me. His footwork around the bag is excellent and his instincts seem solid, but he seems slow to react to the ball off the bat and his range to both sides is well below average. He improved his fielding on bunts but he still has a way to go before he can meet his defensive reputation.
BOLD PREDICTION: Next year, Salvador Perez wins his first of eight consecutive awards.