MLB fails to award a Gold Glove to a Third Baseman this year

The Gold Glove Award given to Eric Chavez for ...
The Gold Glove Award given to Eric Chavez for his performance during the 2005 season (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know what you are thinking,  “But, Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado were awarded the  Gold Glove for third base this year?”  Please allow me to explain:

Both Arenado and Machado are Shortstops playing third base.  Both players were drafted a SS and only moved to the third because their teams have incumbents in Matt Hardy and Troy Tulowitzki.

3rd base is a corner infield position, which means traditionally, teams try to play good hitting middle of the order batters there.   The top hitters at third base this year were guys like Cabrera, Donaldson, Beltre, Longoria and our own Ryan Zimmerman.  Longoria and Zim are exceptional at their position because they are both won gold glove winners and Silver Sluggers.  What we have with Machado and Arenado are two one dimensional players playing out of position.

This is going to come as a surprise to to some O’s fans to find out that Machado finished the season 1% above league average.

Name wRC+ Rank
Ryan Zimmerman 125 6
Manny Machado 101 14
Nolan Arenado 79 20
Anthony Rendon 100 16

I added in Anthony Rendon just for kicks to demonstrate how Rendon and Machado ended up hitting about the same after adjusting for park factors and things like OBP.

Both Machado and Arenado scored very high on UZR/150 and deserved the gold glove (Juan Uribe might argue).  One of the quirks of  UZR is it compares a fielder to other fielders at the same position.  This is another way of saying that a plus fielder can really stand out at third, where a short stop is needs to be a very good fielder to even step foot over there.

My point is this: Machado, if he were a short stop would be a Top 5 hitter (Desmond is still better) and Arenado would be around average.  At third, these guys are strangely positioned for their skill set, but …. they were rewarded for it.


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