The UZR Gold Gloves – And Who Will Win The Real Ones

In just one year, UZR has gone from everyone’s favorite defensive metric to one that people have taken with a grain of salt. Despite it’s shortcomings, it’s still likely the best tool we have today at measuring a players overall value in the field. Now, each year the writers vote on and award Gold Golve winners for the best defender at each position in each league. These are often swayed by who has made the most highlight plays which caught national attention, and the easy to ingest error count. Here’s a look at who should win the Gold Glove this year based on a more mathematical approach, UZR (and who we’re guessing will actually win the award).

National League

1B- Ike Davis 10.1 UZR (Albert Pujols 1.5 UZR)
2B- Chase Utley 10.3 UZR (Brandon Phillips 9.7 UZR)
SS- Brendan Ryan 11.5 UZR (Troy Tulowitzki  7.1 UZR)
3B- Chase Headley 16.5 UZR (Ryan Zimmerman 13.9 UZR)
OF-  Andres Torres 21.2 UZR (Andres Torres)
OF- Jay Bruce 20.2 UZR (Jay Bruce)
OF- Michael Bourn 17.6 UZR  (Matt Holliday 8.2 UZR)
C- Yadier Molina 49% CS (Yadier Molina)

Thoughts: Headley came out of nowhere in 2010 to edge out Ryan Zimmerman for the best UZR at third base. Headley played 114 games in left field last year and posted an overall UZR of -6.7 before having the best infielder UZR in the majors in 2010. However he was aided by the fact that Zimmerman only played games, but he still just barely edged out Zim 17.9 to 17.8. While Utley just barely beat our Phillips in UZR, in large due to his excellent range rating, Phillips made just three errors in 2010, a number that will surely win him favor with the writers.

*This must surely be the first time in MLB history two players name Chase have had the highest UZR at their perspective positions in the same year.

American League

1B- Daric Barton 12.1 UZR (Mark Teixeira -2.9 UZR)
2B- Mark Ellis 9.9 UZR (Orlando Hudson 9.8 UZR)
SS- Alexi Ramirez 10.8 UZR (Elvis Andrus 0.1 UZR)
3B- Kevin Kouzmanoff 16.1 UZR (Adrian Beltre 11.8 UZR)
OF- Brett Gardner 21.9 UZR (Torui Hunter -2.2 UZR)
OF- Carl Crawford 18.5 UZR
OF- Ichiro 15.6 UZR 
C- Jason Kendall 29% CS (Joe Mauer 26% CS)

Thoughts: Oakland has three players on this list which helped them secure the best team UZR in the American League with a 38.9 mark, no doubt helping them finish at .500 this season. Overshadowed by newcomer Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner had the best defensive season in baseball in 2010 (according to UZR), but will he win the award? My guess is no, but with an ever evolving writers association you never know…odds are though it’s probably going back to Torii Hunter.

Ed. Note: This was just for fun. We also took CS% for catcher because there is no UZR available and it’s a metric often used on judging who is the best defensive catcher, regardless of how ridiculous that is.