Every single year when MLB announces the National League and American League Gold Glove winners there is always a discrepancy among fans if player X deserved it over player Z. I am not sure what formula MLB uses to determine this, but whatever they use is wrong. Likely the best stat to determine the award would be Ultimate Zone Rating(UZR). The definition of UZR from the great FanGraphs is: The number of runs above or below average a fielder is in both range runs, and error runs combined.
Even though some sabermatricians are frowning upon UZR, it is a very good stat to determine the player’s value for that given season. A thing to remember about UZR is that it is not a sign of things to come, could potentially be an anomaly. A lot of people well versed in sabermetrics tend to look for trends of things to come through WAR and other stats like that. UZR is not the stat to be used for future trends, but could be very good for a 1 year sample. And when you’re determining a given year’s Gold Glove Award winners, UZR could come in great use. Unfortunately FanGraphs does not show a UZR for Pitchers or Catchers, so we will award the real life pitcher and catcher winners the Gold Glove. But here are your TRUE AL and NL Gold Glove winners:
National League :
P: Bronson Arroyo
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Ike Davis – UZR +10.1 (Gold Glove Winner Albert Pujols UZR +1.5 – 5th in NL)
2B: Chase Utley – UZR +10.3 (Gold Glove Winner Brandon Phillips UZR +9.7 – 2nd in NL)
3B: Chase Headley – UZR +16.5 (Gold Glove Winner Scott Rolen UZR +10.6 – 3rd in NL)
SS: Brendan Ryan – UZR +11.5 (Gold Glove Winner Troy Tulowitzki UZR +7.1 – 3rd in NL)
OF: Andres Torres – UZR +21.2 (Gold Glove Winner Carlos Gonzalez UZR -2.7 – 21st in NL)
OF: Jay Bruce – UZR +20.2 (Gold Glove winner Shane Victorino UZR +2.6 – 16th in NL)
OF: Michael Bourn – UZR +17.6 (He won a Gold Glove)
So in the NL, the voters got 1 correct, were extremely close on 1, relatively close on a couple, and way off on the others. And one (Gonzalez) was actually below average.
P: Mark Buehrle
C: Joe Mauer
1B: Daric Barton – UZR +12.1 (Gold Glove Winner Mark Teixeira UZR -2.9 – 5th in AL)
2B: Mark Ellis – UZR +9.9 (Gold Glove Winner Robinson Cano UZR -0.6 – 5th in AL)
3B: Kevin Kouzmanoff – UZR +16.1 (Gold Glove Winner Evan Longoria UZR +11.1 – 3rd in AL)
SS: Alexei Ramirez – UZR +10.8 (Gold Glove Winner Derek Jeter UZR -4.7 – 7th in AL)
OF: Brett Gardner – UZR +21.9 (Gold Glove Winner Franklin Gutierrez UZR +7.3 – 7th in AL)
OF: Carl Crawford – UZR +18.5 (He won a Gold Glove)
OF: Ichiro Suzuki – UZR +15.6 (He won a Gold Glove)
The AL they did a little better. They got 2 correct, 1 was relatively close, but the others were bigtime misses. Just for fun, the 3 Yankees that won the Gold Glove were all actually below average, and the most talked about, Derek Jeter was the worst among all Gold Glove winners.
Everyone knows the Gold Glove voting is a very flawed system, and all you need to prove this theory is simple mathematics, calculate UZR and you will see the true winners for that given season. The voters got 3 out of 14 correct. That is simply not an acceptable number when you are trying to award people based on their success in the field in a given season.