For a number of years, many A’s fans looked to the announcement of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards with great anticipation, hoping if not expecting to see one of their guys named as one of the 9 best fielders in the league. For 6 straight years from 2001 to 2006 former A’s 3B Eric Chavez took home the award for his stellar play at the hot corner. It was essentially a given at the conclusion of each season that he would be the man. On the other hand, in 2006 we saw Mark Ellis set a new single season record for fielding percentage by a second baseman, but lost the award to Mark Grudzielanek likely because he had a better offensive season. Therein lies the major flaw in the voting process for the Gold Glove Award, subjectivity. The award is voted on by the managers and members of their coaching staffs, and many of their votes are cast based on reputation.
This season the A’s have a chance to win their first Gold Glove since that 2006 season as both right fielder Josh Reddick and third baseman Brandon Inge have been named finalists for their respective positions. Reddick is joined by Shin-Soo Choo and Jeff Francoeur as the nominees for RF. Inge will battle Adrian Beltre and Mike Moustakas for the award at 3B.
On the surface, it seems like Reddick has to be favored to win the award over Choo and Francoeur, and personally I think it would be a travesty if he didnt. Inge on the other hand only made 76 starts between the Detroit Tigers and the Athletics at 3rd, so it would seem like a bit of an odd choice if he were to win.
Josh Reddick and Jeff Francoeur would seem to be the frontrunners in this race, and while Francouer had 19 assists to Reddick’s 14, Reddick had a 17.7 UZR to Francoeur’s -4.2 UZR. The difference is astronomical in favor of Reddick, so while he trails in assists, his obvious superiority overall at the position is crystal clear. This is Reddick’s award to lose.
Inge on the other hand would need a Rafael Palmeiro-like vote to win this award. We all know Inge is a phenomenal fielder at the position, but there is simply no way he should win the award over someone like Adrian Beltre (as much as it pains me to say it). Nevertheless, it’s pretty cool that Inge is still considered among the elite fielders at 3rd. Perhaps he gained a little bit of respect around the league for his gutsy display in Chicago when he popped his dislocated shoulder back into place right there on the field. I know I’d give him a vote just for that.
The winners will be announced Tuesday at 6:30 PM on ESPN2, A’s fans will eagerly await the news.