Wilson awards differ greatly from Gold Gloves

Rating defensive prowess is always an interesting challenge in baseball and we see some of the difference of opinion there with Wednesday’s release of the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year.

Wilson picked its nine best position players in the Majors based on a formula using defensive metrics Range Factor, Defensive Runs Saved, Inside Edge Ratings, UZR and fielding percentage. And its selections differed a great deal from the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards issued Tuesday, with Rawlings going 75 percent to the vote of managers and coaches and 25 percent to defensive metrics.

The Wilson Team:

First base – Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers)
Second base – Ian Kinsler (Tigers)
Shortstop – Andrelton Simmons (Braves)
Third base – Juan Uribe (Dodgers)
Left field – Alex Gordon (Royals)
Center field – Lorenzo Cain (Royals)
Right field – Jason Heyward (Braves)
Catcher – Russell Martin (Pirates)
Pitcher – Johnny Cueto (Reds)

Interestingly, five of those players didn’t win 2014 Gold Gloves, even though Gold Gloves are awarded in each league, while Wilson chose just one player from all of MLB at each position.

Kinsler, Uribe, Cain, Martin and Cueto were the non-Gold Glovers selected first by Wilson’s rating system. So let the debate continue. From my perspective, there’s plenty of room for both awards and it’s nice to have two differing viewpoints as defense indeed is hard to quantify.

Rawlings continues to rely more heavily on the eyeball test and opinion of coaches and managers, though it has added in some defensive metrics in the past two years. Here are this year’s Gold Glove winners. Wilson goes straight by the numbers, which continue to get more advanced as we go.

Wilson also selected the Cincinnati Reds as the best defensive team in baseball, while Heyward earned the Defensive Player of the Year honor.

The Mariners didn’t land anyone on the Wilson team, but Kyle Seager earned his first Rawlings Gold Glove on Tuesday and Seattle’s third baseman was relishing that honor when he spoke with reporters in a conference call on Wednesday from North Carolina. If you haven’t read my story, Seager had some great things to say and you can see it here.

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