The finalist for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award were announced on Friday morning and the winners will be announced tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
The Rays, known for their spectacular defense, had a finalist at each infield position. James Loney will be up against the Baltimore Orioles Chris Davis and the Kansas City Royals Eric Hosmer. Ben Zobrist has to overtake the name brand duo of Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia. Evan Longoria, who won the award in 2009 and 2010, will compete with the Texas Rangers Adrian Beltre and the Baltimore Orioles Manny Machado. Yunel Escobar will try to win the award over the Kansas City Royals Alcides Escobar and the Orioles J.J. Hardy.
According to the Rawlings press release:
“Each manager and up to six (6) coaches on his staff vote from a pool of qualified players in their League, and cannot vote for players on their own team. For the first time in its 57-year history, Rawlings added a sabermetric component to the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process, as part of its new collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). The SABR Defensive Index comprised of approximately 25 percent of the overall selection total, with the managers and coaches’ vote continuing to carry the majority.”
According to Adam Berry of MLB.com:
Advanced defensive metrics aren’t considered to be as reliable as most offensive numbers, but the Rays graded well on that front, too. Longoria finished second in the AL with 12 defensive runs saved, albeit far behind Machado’s 35. Loney ranked fourth with four, ahead of both other finalists at his position.
Zobrist’s seven defensive runs saved ranked seventh in the AL behind Pedroia (15), but just ahead of Cano (six). Escobar also finished seventh in the league with four defensive runs saved, tying him with the Royals’ Escobar, but Hardy posted eight.