A little late, I know, but I had this half-written before the site went down last week and I am not one to waste work, so a belated congratulations to Torii Hunter on his ninth career Gold Glove (as well as his Silver Slugger and Branch Rickey awards). Now, not to rain on Torii's parade, but I can't help but wonder if he really was one a top fielder this year. We all know Torii can still make the highlight reel catches, but is he the best fielder or just pretty good?
From a statistical perspective, the results are mixed for Hunter. He was near the top of the AL in range factor amongst outfielders, but more advanced metric (Revized Zone Rating and Ultimate Zone Rating) both rate Torii as a generally mediocre fielder. So, I ask you Angel fans, did Hunter really deserve the Gold Glove this year, especially when you factor in the 40+ games he missed?
But this week's discussion doesn't stop there. What about the rest of the Angels? Erick Aybar had a similar profile as Hunter, lots of eye-popping plays but only middle of the road fielding stats, but came up short in his Gold Glove bid. No offense to Derek Jeter, but Aybar is a better fielder, hands down. The only flaw with that argument is that Elvis Andrus was really better than them both. And let's not forget Chone Figgins who looked real slick this year and the stats treated him well but treated Gold Glove winner Evan Longoria better.
What is really amazing is that Kendry Morales probably has the biggest complaint to being shafted in Gold Glove voting out of any Angel. Believe it or not, Morales led AL first basemen in range factor and ultimate zone rating and ranked above Gold Glove winner Mark Teixiera in Ultimate Zone Rating. But do those stats didn't outweigh his eight errors and general lack of spectacular playmaking skills in the eyes of the voters.
So which Angel got screwed over more in the voting: Aybar, Figgins or Morales?
Let us know your thoughts and join in on the discussion by leaving a comment below. NOTE: Comment moderation is currently turned on so I have to approve your comment if you have never made one at this blog before, but I will try and be fast about it, after that you can comment freely. I know it is a hassle, but it is outside of my control for now.