Adrian Beltre took home his second straight Gold Glove Award on Tuesday night which brings his career total to four. It had been announced that Beltre was one of three finalist and was up against Mike Moustakas and Brandon Inge. While there are many fine defenders in baseball, few come with the respect of Beltre and there was little, if any doubt that he would be taking home the AL award.
Baseball is a game that has changed off the field over the past fifteen years more than it has on the field. Advanced stats have taken over the game in many facets with one of the most recent being on the defensive side of the game. Beltre led the league in fielding percentage, which has been around for ages, but was second in the league to Moustakas in UZR which is a stat that has taken off in recent years. UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) takes into account multiple aspects of a player's defense and puts a number of runs saved to it. In 2012, Moustakas had a UZR of 16.8 to Beltre's 10.7, however Beltre spent fewer games at third in 2012 due to various injuries and his UZR/150 (UZR average out over 150 games) was virtually the same as Moustakas. Moustakas had a UZR/150 of 15.2 with Beltre having a 15.1.
The Gold Glove Award has really become a joke over the past twenty years with players constantly winning the award who should not. Since the award is voted on by coaches, a stat like UZR is not often considered, but maybe greater use of the stat could help the voters get it right a little more often. With or without UZR it is nice that with Beltre they got it right. Moustakas is a fine defender and UZR serves it's purpose, but it still does not take over from watching guys play the game.
UZR is a great stat and it supports the fact that Beltre is a fine defender, but too many times these days fans have relied on stats alone to support their opinions of ballplayers. The mindset is often if UZR says they are good, then they are good. If it says they are bad, then they are bad. However going by stats alone takes the enjoyment of watching players like Adrian Beltre perform day in and day out.
There are some players and some on the Rangers that you pretty much see what you need to know from the box score or advanced stats, but players like Beltre have to be watched to appreciate and fully understand what they bring to the table. The word on Beltre when the Rangers signed him before the 2011 season was that he was a great ballplayer and everyone knew that, but you would not understand how great of a defender and teammate he was until you watched him play on a regular basis. Those words could have never been more true, which is the way it is with any great player, but very few people really knew what Rangers' fans had in store when he signed.
Whenever Jon Daniels pulled the trigger on Beltre I didn't really know what to expect. At the time it was kind of the backup plan from losing Cliff Lee, but I am so thankful it worked out. Had Lee signed with Texas, Beltre would likely be somewhere else, possibly in the hands of a division rival and Rangers' fans would not have been able to experience a special ballplayer that does not come around everyday. He is now without a key member and leader of this club and it would be scary to know where the Rangers would be without him.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.
- Sports & Recreation
- Adrian Beltre
- Mike Moustakas