The 59th Rawlings Gold Glove Awards Show will appear on ESPN, with Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia nominated for the award. Will he get it?
ESPN wrote a press release, stating that the company “will televise the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards Show presented by Fanatics, also streaming on WatchESPN, Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. ET. The one-hour show from the Baseball Tonight studio will be led by host Karl Ravech with analysts Alex Cora and Doug Glanville. This show marks the 59th year of the iconic award honoring defensive excellence.”
One of the players nominated for such excellence is Pedroia, the wily 11-year veteran who already has four Gold Gloves.
After winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2007, putting MLB teams on notice that he was an impact player, Pedroia won his first All-Star appearance, the Silver Slugger Award, the Gold Glove Award, and the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2008. Not a bad haul to add to his World Series championship the season before. Pedroia must have felt like winning comes naturally.
Three Gold Gloves later, in 2011, 2013, and 2014, Pedroia was pretty much the king of all second basemen for the last decade. The Red Sox must have agreed with that assessment, since they signed the pit bull of their infield to a six-year contract worth $85 million through 2021. The deal came through even with top prospect Yoan Moncada working quickly through the minors at second base. Moncada has since been shifted to learn third base to have any hope of cracking the Red Sox starting lineup. Pedroia has not had his thrown on second base usurped.
At least, nobody’s stood up against Pedroia on the Red Sox. Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros won last season. While Altuve will not be up against Pedroia this year, two excellent second basemen could take the title from the Red Sox veteran. Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners already has two Gold Gloves and he would love to make it a third. Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers rounds out the competition, looking for his first Gold Glove.
Cano’s glove is almost as well known as his bat. His range factor per game was 4.71 and per nine innings was 4.84. His .996 fielding percentage came from 311 putouts, 429 assists, and 123 double plays with just three errors. Kinsler posted an even better range factor, 4.87 per game and 5.09 per nine innings. He had a .988 fielding percentage with 303 putouts, 432 assists, and 109 double plays, while committing only nine errors.
Pedroia’s .990 fielding percentage came through 245 putouts, 362 assists, and 98 double plays with six errors. His range factor was 3.99 per game and 4.23 per nine innings. The league average at second base was a .983 fielding percentage, a 4.44 range factor per game and 4.49 per nine innings.
While Cano had 10 more games to build up his statistics, Kinsler played the same amount of games as Pedroia. Based solely on the numbers, it would look like Kinsler and Cano beat out Pedroia on their range. The other two covered more ground than Pedroia, whether he needed to or not. Cano and Kinsler looked to have been more active than Pedroia, seeing more balls hit their way, while Cano seemed to be the most efficient with the least amount of errors.
Kinsler may have covered more ground than Cano and Pedroia, the errors and fielding percentage will likely take Kinsler out of the running. Cano’s level of activity combined with his better range and lack of errors in the process should make him top Pedroia for claiming the 2016 Gold Glove.
Even with a victory, Pedroia would still be behind Hall-of-Famer Roberto Alomar, who has an amazing 10 Gold Gloves. However, the fact that all three second basemen up for the award this season broke into the majors around the same time, 11-12 years ago, is a statement all of its own. Pedroia, Cano, and Kinsler showed that the quality of a veteran’s experience is still more valuable compared to a youth’s eagerness to prove himself.
Pedroia, specifically, has been a rock for 11 seasons that included two World Series championships. He’s been there for the Red Sox through the good times and the division cellar years. He’s helped galvanize young players like shortstop Xander Bogaerts, helping them to prepare for turning key double plays in the majors season after season. Even if he doesn’t win this year’s Gold Glove, Pedroia has consistently been the only second baseman whom the Red Sox have ever needed. And, it doesn’t look like there’s any signs that Pedroia’s planning to stop that trend any time soon.