Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Did Andres Torres Deserve a Gold Glove?

Shane Victorino. Michael Bourne. Carlos Gonzalez.

Your NL Gold Glove outfielders for the 2010 season.

Now, there's nothing wrong with those choices. If the writers gave  one to last year's winner (Matt Kemp), I would have had serious problems with the award (though the "legitimacy" of the award already is on shaky ground after Derek Jeter won the Gold Glove for AL shortstop and Orlando Hudson winning it last year).

But, as a Giants fan, it would have been nice to see a journeyman like Torres take away some hardware, especially when you look at his defensive numbers according to UZR (just freaking off the charts).

As Rob Neyer concluded, what probably killed Torres from earning a Gold Glove was him playing multiple positions throughout the year. Unlike Neyer, I think this is an asinine argument. Right field in San Francisco is one of the toughest places to play defensively. You have to give up considerable room on the foul line to protect Triple's Alley. There's a reason why Randy Winn started in right for so long though he didn't have a "typical" right fielder's arm: the guy could cover the necessary ground in right at AT&T. (Of course, so did Nate Schierholtz, but that is an argument for another day...this is 2010! The Giants are champs!)

So, if anything, that should have helped his chances, right? You had Torres able to not only play center, but play right in a park where the fielder needs to be athletic and apt enough to play center. You don't believe me? Ask Garrett Jones and Vlad Guerrero about playing right in AT&T. They'll tell you it ain't easy.

What do I believe killed Torres' chances this year?

He's not a name. And it's sad that baseball writers seem hesitant to think outside the box when it comes to this award. If the Academy Awards were ran like the Gold Glove awards, Tom Hanks would have beaten Robert Benigni that one year for best actor in 1997. Was Tom Hanks great in "Saving Private Ryan"? Yeah, he was. But Benigni was special, and the Academy actually had the guts to say "You know what, it isn't familiar, but let's do it because the under the radar guys need to be recognized."

The baseball writers had a chance to have a "Life is Beautiful" moment this year with Torres. Instead, like the Academy went safe with picking Sean Penn over Mickey Rourke for best actor, they did the same with the NL Gold Gloves. Completely safe, logical, but rather uninspiring choices. Look...I'm glad for Bourne, CarGo and Victorino. They're all likable players and they are certainly deserving. But, you can't question how much of an impact Torres had in terms of saving runs in the outfield (whether you are in the sabermetric or "I judge baseball with my eyes" camp). You can't question that Torres probably made Pat Burrell look better than he was, because he was chasing the balls Burrell probably should have gotten to. You think the baseball writers would take into consideration ballparks, especially considering how Coors and Citizens Bank are crackerboxes in comparison to AT&T.

But sigh...they didn't. Oh well, Andres. You're the Gold Glover in Giants' fans hearts, and the World Series trophy proves it.

I can't wait for the NL Rookie of the Year award to be presented.

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