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Picking the Outfield Gold Glove Winners

For the first time ever in 2011, the Gold Gloves awarded to outfielders will be given to a RF, LF, and CF in each league, rather than the three best defensive outfielders regardless of position. There had been some outcry in recent years that the awards were too often going to center fielders, neglecting the superlative defensive play of corner outfielders.

The new system makes it a little more difficult to choose the Gold Glove winners, but here are my picks for each league.

American League

Right Field

Ichiro

He has won 10 in a row despite being a corner outfielder. Now that they are awarding a Gold Glove for his position specifically, is there really any doubt that he'll be the first recipient of the Right Field Gold Glove? I have zero doubts. He has always been one of the best outfielders in baseball, and though his range and arm strength may have declined slightly in recent years, there is no other right fielder in the discussion.

Left Field

Brett Gardner

My sabermetric friends will praise me for this pick. Most of you know that I don't put a whole lot of stock in stats like UZR, but if I did, Gardner would still be my pick in left field. He is leading all position players in UZR by a wide margin, and the closest AL left fielder is Alex Gordon, who is 16 points behind him. Gardner has tremendous speed and gets to balls that he has no business getting to. His arm strength is not the greatest, but he is accurate, and plays hard every single game.

Center Field

Adam Jones

I'm going to catch hell for this pick, but it's the right one. Despite the solid years enjoyed by Peter Bourjos and Jacoby Ellsbury, Jones has been the most dynamic center fielder in the game in 2011. He makes the easy catches, the hard catches, and the spectacular catches. He is a high effort player day in and day out, and has, in my opinion, the deadliest centerfield arm in baseball. His 13 assists are near the league lead. Plus, Gold Glove voters like sticking with guys who they've awarded in the past, so Jones' 2009 Gold Glove bodes well.

National League

Right Field

Justin Upton

Upton has had an unbelievable 2011 campaign, and in my opinion, should get a good deal of consideration for the MVP. His defense has been outstanding all year, and his UZR reflects it, as he is leading all National League rightfielders in UZR. The fact that the Diamondbacks are in the process of shocking the world by winning the NL West can only help Upton's cause.

Left Field

Gerardo Parra

It's a testament to how good the Diamondbacks outfield defense has been that the two corner outfielders I'm picking are both in Arizona. Parra is fourth overall is UZR and first among NL left fielders. He also sports 11 assists and has been a pleasant surprise for the D-Backs.

Center Field

Matt Kemp

This is another gut pick, as his UZR is not good. In fact, it's in the negative. But when you watch this guy play centerfield, it's clear that he is pretty good at it. He throws extremely well, takes excellent lines while tracking fly balls, and is not afraid to make the difficult catches. I'm sure this is another pick I'll get scolded for, but having watched every game this season, there is something fun about watching Kemp play center.

Those are my picks. Who do you think should win the outfield Gold Gloves? Tweet me @rwags614.

For the first time ever in 2011, the Gold Gloves awarded to outfielders will be given to a RF, LF, and CF in each league, rather than the three best defensive outfielders regardless of position. There had been some outcry in recent years that the awards were too often going to center fielders, neglecting the superlative defensive play of corner outfielders.

The new system makes it a little more difficult to choose the Gold Glove winners, but here are my picks for each league.

American League

Right Field

Ichiro

He has won 10 in a row despite being a corner outfielder. Now that they are awarding a Gold Glove for his position specifically, is there really any doubt that he'll be the first recipient of the Right Field Gold Glove? I have zero doubts. He has always been one of the best outfielders in baseball, and though his range and arm strength may have declined slightly in recent years, there is no other right fielder in the discussion.

Left Field

Brett Gardner

My sabermetric friends will praise me for this pick. Most of you know that I don't put a whole lot of stock in stats like UZR, but if I did, Gardner would still be my pick in left field. He is leading all position players in UZR by a wide margin, and the closest AL left fielder is Alex Gordon, who is 16 points behind him. Gardner has tremendous speed and gets to balls that he has no business getting to. His arm strength is not the greatest, but he is accurate, and plays hard every single game.

Center Field

Adam Jones

I'm going to catch hell for this pick, but it's the right one. Despite the solid years enjoyed by Peter Bourjos and Jacoby Ellsbury, Jones has been the most dynamic center fielder in the game in 2011. He makes the easy catches, the hard catches, and the spectacular catches. He is a high effort player day in and day out, and has, in my opinion, the deadliest centerfield arm in baseball. His 13 assists are near the league lead. Plus, Gold Glove voters like sticking with guys who they've awarded in the past, so Jones' 2009 Gold Glove bodes well.

National League

Right Field

Justin Upton

Upton has had an unbelievable 2011 campaign, and in my opinion, should get a good deal of consideration for the MVP. His defense has been outstanding all year, and his UZR reflects it, as he is leading all National League rightfielders in UZR. The fact that the Diamondbacks are in the process of shocking the world by winning the NL West can only help Upton's cause.

Left Field

Gerardo Parra

It's a testament to how good the Diamondbacks outfield defense has been that the two corner outfielders I'm picking are both in Arizona. Parra is fourth overall is UZR and first among NL left fielders. He also sports 11 assists and has been a pleasant surprise for the D-Backs.

Center Field

Matt Kemp

This is another gut pick, as his UZR is not good. In fact, it's in the negative. But when you watch this guy play centerfield, it's clear that he is pretty good at it. He throws extremely well, takes excellent lines while tracking fly balls, and is not afraid to make the difficult catches. I'm sure this is another pick I'll get scolded for, but having watched every game this season, there is something fun about watching Kemp play center.

Those are my picks. Who do you think should win the outfield Gold Gloves? Tweet me @rwags614.