Beltran and Wright Go Gold

So Carlos Beltran and David Wright have won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for their respective positions.

Wow.

Beltran was not a surprise, obviously, since he’s won it before and he remains one of the better centerfielders in the NL (take that, Mike Cameron). Wright, though, is a jaw-dropping shock.

Yes, this is a Mets website and I’m a fanatic and I should be excited about David winning the Gold Glove but it seems a bit premature — and undeserving. While there is absolutely no doubt that D-Wright works his proverbial butt off in making himself a better player, and his dedication to improving his defense is almost legendary, I didn’t see him as a Gold Glover in 2007. I definitely saw flashes of him becoming a brilliant defender, and believed that one day he would win the coveted defensive award. Just not this year. Maybe my anti-bias is based on seeing him play every day, and that’s often the only way to see the chinks in a player’s armor.

So who was more deserving? From what I had seen, Ryan Zimmerman looked pretty darn good — though that’s based on what I saw of him last year in addition to this year. With Scott Rolen injured for much of the season, 2007 was the year for “someone else” to get the gold, and I always thought it would be Aramis Ramirez’s “turn” when that happened; Ramirez has been a steady, nearly excellent if unspectacular fielder for a long time while playing in Rolen’s shadow. And don’t laugh, but I sincerely believe Pedro Feliz is better defensively than nearly everyone, other than possibly Zimmerman. But that’s based on my own two eyes and seeing him in limited games over the past few years — perhaps my eyes have deceived me. But I suppose Feliz is not a big enough name for Rawlings to honor.

And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? With Rolen out of the picture, who is the best “face” for the award? Wright, of course. Well, you can’t argue with popularity, I suppose.

As far as merit, though, I’d rather have seen Jose Reyes earn a Gold Glove at short over Jimmy “Team to Beat” Rollins. I think I’ve watched enough of both to believe Reyes is the better of the two, though I’m a bit surprised that Omar Vizquel didn’t take home another one. And if we’re talking solely defense, I’d take Troy Tulowitzki before Rollins any day of the week — as well as Rafael Furcal and Edgar Renteria. Again, all about the marketability for Rawlings. Jimmy Rollins had the big year with the bat and the mouth, Jose Reyes had a down year offensively, and no one knows who the heck Tulowitzki is — much less pronounce his name.

Let’s see, any other choices for me to criticize? Maddux is the easy pick at pitcher, ho hum. I’ve always thought Glavine deserved a few more, including this year, but whatever. Orlando Hudson is a good to very-good but not excellent second baseman, but looking around the NL there simply isn’t a defensive whiz at the position. Derrek Lee is a solid choice at first base, where no one really cares about defense — Todd Helton, Adrian Gonzalez, Lance Berkman, or a few others could have just as easily and deservedly been honored. Russell Martin behind the dish is a nice choice, though Brian Schneider might be better. And don’t laugh, but Miguel Olivo is close. As far as the outfield, I’m mildly surprised Jeff Francoeur snuck in — not because he didn’t deserve it but because they almost always vote in all centerfielders.

I’d comment on the American League but I don’t particularly care, since they don’t really play “baseball” but a modified version of the game.

Your thoughts ?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude November 7, 2007 at 7:13 am
    Agree with all of the above. Much like the all-star game, it seems as though the gold glove vote is now based strictly on popularity rather than defensive skill. it’s pretty sad, too, because pundits like us will sit in front of our TVs all summer, looking at players and rating their talents and formulating who is the best candidate for gold glove/mvp/cy young/roy/etc, but when it boils down to it, it’s nothing more than a popularity contest and has very little to do with on-field performance. there’s no other way to explain wright winning the award over zimmerman. even as a Met fan and David Wright supporter, I can see that. A sad day.

    On another note, I saw overnight that Marlon Anderson has officially been resigned. The Mets went the “Julio Franco” route and signed Marlon to a 2-year deal based on one good year of pinch hitting, but if that was the only way to bring back the guy who was arguably the best pinch hitter in 2007, then I’m ok with it. It’s not like $2.2-mil is going to break the bank…and marlon’s versatility and experience should wind up making the deal a good one.

  2. Walnutz15 November 7, 2007 at 8:28 am
    If I’m Ryan Zimmerman, I’m marching into Rawlings HQ and terminating my contract. j/k

    Hmm, more innings played, a couple more errors — but more chances and a better fielding percentage.

    The kicker? Zimmerman’s a Rawlings guy.

    Wright? — he’s with Wilson.

    Touchy, touchy stuff in the dog-eat-dog world of professional sports. Zimmerman probably had an incentive clause in his Nationals contract for a Gold Glove bonus…..poor guy.

    Wright probably just got a boost for his award.

    I wish I had these problems.

  3. Micalpalyn November 7, 2007 at 10:12 am
    I think the injury factor must play in here. Obviously Wright pretty much fielded every chance at the hot corner where alot of players are seeing someone else spell them, either on rotation or because they lost time to injury.

    Given the Rafael Palmiero travesty (50 games? at 1st) several years ago this award lost some luster. But nonetheless I am content.

    But what about Luis Castillo? No complaints on Placido (my personal fav 2nd baseman) but coukldnt Luis then have picked up the NL glove?

  4. joe November 7, 2007 at 10:35 am
    Castillo played in only 50 NL games last year, not quite enough. After looking at all the winners, I’m now slightly surprised that Chase Utley didn’t win it.