The voting process for all of Major League Baseball’s major awards have been long under criticism. However, few awards in any sport have taken as much flak as the Rawlings Gold Gloves.
The Gold Gloves are voted on by fans and coaches, and the argument against that process has been twofold: Not only do the voters strongly tend to play to long-established favorites and bigger names, but the voters don’t get to see many potential winners play all that often. If you’re a voter from Red Sox, you saw Mike Trout play two series last year, whereas you saw Adam Jones many more times.
So, in an an attempt to rectify the situation, to an extent, Rawlings announced Friday at the annual Society for American Baseball Research Analytics Conference that, going forward, all ballots will be sent out containing an analytics component (an “extended statistical resource guide” composed by SABR) to help voters make a more informed decision. In addition, SABR is set to put together a new committee to develop a new “apples-to-apples” statistic for comparing defensive performance, and will be a presenting sponsor of the award.
“The Rawlings Gold Glove Award is one of the most iconic awards in all of sports, and has continued to evolve throughout its storied history,” said Kurt Hunzeker, senior director of brand marketing for Rawlings. “By marrying the ‘art of fielding’ with the ‘science of baseball,’ our new collaboration with SABR only cements the Rawlings Gold Glove Award and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award as the industry standards honoring defensive excellence at the highest level of baseball.”
Although implementing advanced metrics into an award that has been historically fickle will likely be lauded by many, it does open new problems. Most notably, defensive metrics are still largely considered a work in progress and not entirely reliable.
Photo via Flickr/Eric F Savage