I don't know if anybody noticed it, but Rob Neyer addressed the horrendous Gold Glove choices recently and broke down the AL shortstops. Guess who came out on top?I've received a few e-mail messages referencing Baseball Prospectus and Derek Jeter, so I did some digging. And if there's a sabermetric consensus regarding Jeter's defense, it most certainly is not that he's an outstanding fielder. BP's Clay Davenport recently described Jeter as "solidly above average," and the closest Davenport came to endorsing Jeter was when he wrote that he'd choose Jeter over Orlando Cabrera (who didn't have a particularly good season).
A Gold Glover isn't supposed to be "solidly above average," and anyway, that's just one method (the difference in fielding runs between the starter and his replacement). There are others. I've collected FRAR, win shares (which measures each player's contribution to his team's wins), and ultimate zone ratings (credits fielders for outs made) for every major leaguer who played at least 1,000 innings at shortstop in 2005. Below are where some of the top Gold Glove candidates ranked in each category:
WS UZR FRAR
Juan Uribe 1 2 2
Jhonny Peralta 2 5 1
Orlando Cabrera 3 3 3
Miguel Tejada 5 1 6
Derek Jeter 4 9 4
Juan Uribe is the obvious winner here. Considering that the White Sox were the biggest story in the American League, and that the key to their success was run prevention, you'd think the Gold Glove voters would have considered the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the fielders had something to do with all those low ERAs.
Nope. No love for Juan Uribe, or Aaron Rowand, or Joe Crede, not even for Mark Buehrle. Maybe next year.