For years, sabermetrics experts have chastised Gold Glove voters for relying on traditional stats like fielding percentage and errors, because they don’t account for a player’s true defensive value.
Baseball Reference, a usually dispassionate clearinghouse of baseball’s numbers, couldn’t resist weighing in with an mini-editorial.
Even the Jeter-friendly New York media was forced to admit that the award should have gone elsewhere.
It’s not Jeter’s fault that MLB players and coaches don’t understand things like “zone rating” and “fielding runs above average.” But as more and more fans recognise that the slowing 36-year-old can’t possibly be the best shortstop in the game (he may, in fact, be among the worst), the calls for a new Gold Glove system grow louder and louder.
Jeter is just the most famous example of the system that seems to reward name recognition and (ironically) hitting power over actual glove work.
But there’s more at stake than just hardware. Performance bonuses, free agent contracts, and even Hall of Fame honours are won or lost on the tally of a player’s Gold Gloves. Jeter liabilities in the field will certainly be an issue as he tries to secure his final Yankee contract.
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