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No Gold Gloves for Span, Desmond

Oct 29, 2013, 8:18 PM EST

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Superb defensive seasons by Denard Span and Ian Desmond weren’t quite superb enough to earn baseball’s highest fielding honor.

Neither Span nor Desmond won Gold Glove Awards, which were officially handed out tonight by Rawlings, though each Nationals player was a finalist at his respective position.

Span lost out to the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez as the NL’s top defensive center fielder. Gomez, a first-time Gold Glove winner, was the league’s top-rated center fielder in most advanced metrics, including runs prevented, ultimate zone rating and range factor. He and the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, the other finalist in the NL, shared the league lead with 11 assists from center field.

Span did enjoy a standout defensive season, his first in Washington. He was the NL’s only regular center fielder who didn’t commit an error. He ranked second only to Gomez with 379 putouts. He ranked third in runs prevented and ultimate zone rating, trailing only Gomez and the Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollack.

Desmond was a Gold Glove finalist for the second straight year but remains in search of his first award, having lost out this season to the Braves’ Andrelton Simmons. Not that there’s any shame in that: Simmons rated as the NL’s best defensive player at any position, saving 31.6 runs, recording 499 assists and turning 86 double plays. He committed 14 errors, tied for the fourth-fewest among NL shortstops.

Desmond enjoyed another sterling season in the field, though only the Cubs’ Starlin Castro committed more than Desmond’s 20 errors at shortstop in the NL. Desmond had the league’s third-best range factor, ranked fifth with 11.6 runs prevented and turned 88 double plays, second only to the Cardinals’ Pete Kozma.

The Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki was the other finalist in the NL at shortstop.

Gold Glove awards were selected from a vote of NL managers and coaches near season’s end.

  1. Sonny G 10 - Oct 29, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    2014, Gold Gloves for them both. Go Nats!

  2. Sonny G 10 - Oct 29, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    By the way, nice to be back home after our long trip across the USA and back.

  3. naterialguy - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    I think Span truly deserved to win

    • ArVAFan - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      When Span was acquired in the off-season, one of my friends from Minneapolis told me “you’ll love watching him in the outfield.” He was right: whether gliding to a ball, or the occasional incredible sliding catch, I definitely enjoyed watching him. I enjoyed watching him even more when he started hitting more effectively after working with Schu. I hope that carries over to next season.

  4. natsfan1a - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Welcome back, Sonny.

    Bummer about Simmons, but had Desmond won, McCann would probably have blocked the trophy hand-off, anyway. What? Have enjoyed watching Span in his first year as a Nat.

    • Sonny G 10 - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      Thanks, natsfan1a!

  5. Candide - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    A little disappointed for our boys, especially for Denard.

    But the only award that really matters in my book is this one:

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    I’ve got no beef with either of these awards, but I do love watching Span. Stan Musial said something to the effect of “Voting for the All-Star Game, I vote for the guy I want to watch hit, or want to watch catch the ball.”

  7. scnatsfan - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Well maybe next year Span will have negative errors and he will win

  8. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    The clear lesson: to win a Gold Glove for fielding, you have to hit better.

  9. Joe Seamhead - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    Gomez deserved the honor, though Span made a great case for himself. But is Adam Jones really the best CF in the AL?

    • nats128 - Oct 30, 2013 at 7:48 AM

      Joe, thats the same comment I was going to make. What a joke in the AL to vote Adam Jones. He had some of the worst dropped balls that made ESPNs worst plays of the day. He also had a couple where the official scorer didnt give him errors. Luckily for Jones those plays were in April and May and luckily for Jones his competition wasnt as good.

      Unfortunately for Span was the Carlos Gomez was in the NL and truly was the best in the entire Majors.

    • Hiram Hover - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      Yeah, Jones is not merely not the best – by most metrics he was actually poor to barely mediocre in 2013.

      Fangraph’s UZR hates him – he’s the worst qualifying CF in the AL. By baseball ref’s defensive WAR, he’s barely in positive territory, but ahead of only 2 other players, and behind 8 others.

  10. Doc - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Congrats to our guys Desi and Denard! They are my Gold Gloves!

    The truth of the selection matter is that the managers and coaches don’t pay attention to advanced metrics. Hence Adam Jones.

    It’s all about what they see, or what they think they see.

    • Hiram Hover - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      Although this year, for the first time, the stat-heads did get a say:

      “Until the 2013 season, the Gold Glove Awards had been decided by voting among Major League managers and coaches. This year, however, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) collaborated with Rawlings to formally incorporate sabermetrics as a component.

      According to Rawlings and SABR, a committee of experts in baseball analytics devised a SABR Defensive Index (SDI) that was to account for 30 votes — about 25 percent of the total.”

      • natsfan1a - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Right, as reported by Comak earlier. (Hat tip…well…er…me. ;-))

        natsfan1a – Oct 27, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        Possibly of interest to stat-heads, Comak also has an item on this in which she touches on the new sabermetric component to the selection process.

  11. Doc - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Thanks Hiram.

    Things are looking up SABR-wise in MLB Awards.

    Still, Jones escaped their 30 votes. LOL

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      Thanks Hiram. One reason I love it here is the sharing of knowledge. I didn’t know the new formula which is probably why Gomez wins over the popular vote of McCutcheon.

      Agreed Doc. I thought it was the best voting in a long time except for Jones. He’s Top 5 in the AL but not the best.

      In regards to the Nats is how good the middle defense really is between DSpan, Desi and ARen. Of course a healthy Bryce is a future Gold Glover too. Unfortunately the rest were below average. The corner infielders and their lack of range plus all of the 3rd base errors (RZim and Rendon) cost the pitching staff and team in runs.

      Defense is such an overlooked stat in range and runs saved. Errors of aggressiveness is one thing but this team suffered too often on the unforced errors.

      Matt Williams 4 Gold Gloves at 3rd base. He was brought up as a shortstop. The Giants moved him to 3rd base in-season. During Williams last year with the Giants, Dusty Baker had Williams play several games at 1st base.

      This is where I think Williams can really help this team as to corner defense and if a transition of position changes is to take place.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        By the way, after Williams was traded from the Giants he would never play 1st base again. He finished his careeralmost exclusively as a 3rd baseman.

        Also of note, when Williams was 26 he had 23 errors at 3rd base which was a big jump with less chances then the previous year. Williams bounced back the following year with only 12 errors and won his 2nd Gold Glove at that point in his career.

        I’m hoping Williams can mentor RZim as he lived it also with adversity and ups and downs.

      • nats128 - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:14 PM

        Interesting backstory on Matty Williams. If he can help Ryan Zimmerman that would be great. Any idea of what happened to him in his 23 error season. Real big to turn that around into Gold Glove.





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