Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No Gold Glove For Wright; Guess He Didn't Hit Well Enough

The National League Gold Glove winners were announced on Wednesday but no Mets received the Midas Touch. There was no bling presented to Carlos Beltran or David Wright this year. Beltran's was expected since he missed half of the season. But what about Wright? Didn't he hit well enough?

Before you think I've forgotten that the Gold Glove is for defensive excellence and is not supposed to have anything to do with a player's hitting prowess, let me explain what I mean about Wright not hitting well enough to win the Gold Glove.

A few years ago, Derek Jeter was voted the worst shortstop in the American League. Although I don't think he's the worst, I also don't think he's the best. However, he won the Gold Glove this year despite what all the "experts" say about his defensive ability. Let's look at the stat sheet to see what Jeter did offensively this year.

He hit .334, which was his highest average since 2006 (he won the Gold Glove in 2006). He hit 18 HR, which was his greatest home run output since 2005 (he won the Gold Glove in 2005). He scored 107 runs, which was also his highest total since the Gold Glove season of 2005. He stole 30 bases, which was more than he had stolen in his two previous seasons combined. He did not win the Gold Glove in 2007 and 2008.

As 70s comedic icon Arte Johnson would say, that bit of news is "very interesting". In the two years that he did not win the Gold Glove, Jeter never surpassed 15 HR or 15 SB. He also did not hit for as high a batting average or score as many runs. But what do you know? He upped his batting average to .334, had an 18/30 split in the HR and SB department and voila! His glove automatically becomes golden!

This isn't as bad as 1999, when Rafael Palmeiro played primarily as a DH (only playing 28 games at first base) and was still awarded with the American League Gold Glove at first base. However, he did hit .324 with 47 HR and 148 RBI for the Texas Rangers that year, all of which were career highs and all of which were done while he was not doing steroids...period.

So that brings us to David Wright. This year, Ryan Zimmerman replaced Wright as the National League Gold Glove winner at third base. Wright had been bestowed the prestigious award each of the last two seasons. In both seasons, he was in the 30 HR, 100 RBI club.

Zimmerman has always been very good defensively, perhaps even better than Wright, but he averaged 19 HR and 71 RBI during the two seasons Wright won the Gold Glove.

In 2009, Zimmerman established career highs with a .292 average and 33 HR. He also added 106 RBI. On the other hand, Wright had the worst power season of his career, finishing with only 10 HR and 72 RBI. Of course, Zimmerman won the Gold Glove this season.

For the Mets to compete in 2010, they will need a bounceback season from David Wright, especially in the power department. Not only will a power surge help the Mets score more runs, but it might be enough to wrest the Gold Glove away from Ryan Zimmerman. After all, pitching wins championships but sluggers win Gold Gloves, right?

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