Five Royals nominated, but who will win? Probably Meryl Streep. AGAIN.
ESPN 2 will televise the Rawlings (TM) Gold Glove Show tonight at 7 p.m. ET. Five Royals are nominated - Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, and Lorenzo Cain. Let's take a quick look at their chances.
Perez faces off against Matt Wieters and Joe Mauer. Wieters and Mauer seem to be here more for their past defensive reputations (and their offensive game), although Mauer was pretty good in runs saved this year. Perez lapped the field though and has drawn rave reviews around the league for his defensive prowess. Wieters is the two-time reigning champion, and Mauer has three Gold Gloves to his name, but Perez seems to be a strong candidate for his first Gold Glove.
Its always tough to determine how good a first basemen's defense is, which is why Rafael Palmeiro once won it despite hardly playing the position. Hosmer looks like he should be good, with athletic tools, smooth movements, and a flair for flipping his glove on short hops. But he still misses far too many ground balls than he should, and even messes up routine plays at times. With five-time winner Mark Teixeira out much of the year, there is no obvious candidate, so Hosmer faces Tampa Bay's James Loney and Baltimore's Chris Davis. Davis is probably just here to reward his offensive performance, and Loney is another guy who looks like he should be good, but doesn't really have the stats to back it up. The Fielding Bible says Nick Swisher was actually the best this year, but he's not up for the award so its pretty much wide open. I'd say Hosmer is the slight favorite because of his pedigree.
Alcides somehow went from a -13.5 UZR in 2012 to a 10.9 UZR this year. Better positioning? Legitimate improvement? Someone forgot to carry the "1"? All possible. By the eye test, Escobar was still a bit inconsistent, but dazzled us at times with his play. He faces off against last year's winner J.J. Hardy of the Orioles and Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar. Yunel has a great defensive reputation but has probably lost a step from his prime, and it was actually Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus that led the league in defensive runs saved. Curious that he was overlooked, yet not surprising considering the bias the media has for high profile teams like the Royals.
Alex Gordon is a man among boys. He is the two-time defending Gold Glove winner in left-field, and led league left-fielders in defensive runs saved again in 2013.
He also does cool things like this. And this. And this. Yoesnies Cespedes and Andy Dirks don't stand a chance. Gordon has already won a Fielding Bible Award. How bout a high five for your third straight Gold Glove Alex?
Oh cool, maybe next time.
According to Baseball-Reference, Cain was second among ALL AMERICAN LEAGUERS WHO PUT ON A GLOVE AND TRIED TO CATCH A BALL THIS YEAR in defensive Wins Above Replacement. That seems pretty good. He is up against Jacoby Ellsbury of the Sawks and Adam Jones of the Orioles, each of whom have a Gold Glove Award (Jones has two) on their resume. I'd put Cain as a slight underdog against both due to name recognition.
Royals Gold Gloves:
Frank White - 8 (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987)
Amos Otis - 3 (1971, 1973, 1974)
Alex Gordon - 2 (2011, 2012)
Willie Wilson - 1 (1980)
George Brett - 1 (1985)
Bret Saberhagen - 1 (1989)
Bob Boone - 1(1989)
Jermaine Dye - 1 (2000)
Mark Grudzielanek - 1 (2006)