Mike Trout and Michael Bourn didn't win Rawlings Gold Glove Awards last week, but they earned another defensive accolade for all their highlight-reel grabs in center field this season.
'D' FOR DEPENDABLE
The first Wilson Defensive Players of the Year
Trout was named the first Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in the American League, announced Sunday night on MLB Network, and Bourn earned the same honor in the National League, leading the Braves to be named Wilson's Defensive Team of the Year.
Each team had one player selected as its defensive player of the year. Unlike the Gold Glove Awards, which are voted on by Major League managers and coaches, these award winners were determined by statistical metrics, using the same "shredder system" seen on the sabermetrics-heavy show "Clubhouse Confidential," along with input from MLB Network analysts.
That method opened the door for players like Seattle's Brendan Ryan and San Francisco's Brandon Crawford, light-hitting shortstops known throughout the game for their excellent defensive play. The same can be said for Tampa Bay catcher Jose Molina, a .223 hitter in 2012, due to his top-notch work behind the plate and with the Rays' talented pitching staff.
The advanced metrics backed up what the old-fashioned eye test said in many cases, however, as defensive stalwarts and Gold Glovers like Adrian Beltre, Josh Reddick, Robinson Cano, Adam LaRoche and Yadier Molina won their respective team's award.
Trout lost out on the Gold Glove Award for AL center fielders to Baltimore's Adam Jones. Trout did win a 2012 Fielding Bible Award, however, and was widely regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders in the Majors. A lock for the AL Rookie of the Year Award and potentially the AL's Most Valuable Player, Trout took the Majors by storm as a rookie with his outstanding range and four homer-saving catches this past season.
Bourn, who finished behind the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen for an NL Gold Glove Award, posted the Majors' second-best Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) at 22.4, according to FanGraphs, behind fellow Braves outfielder Jason Heyward (22.9). The speedy center fielder, now a free agent, committed only two errors and posted a .995 fielding percentage while displaying impressive range.
Led by Bourn and Heyward in the outfield, the Braves recorded the highest team UZR at 53.1, and Trout's Angels finished second at 44.3. The Halos' .708 defensive efficiency rating was tied with the Mariners for the highest mark in the Majors, while the Braves ranked third at .705.
Trout, Bourn and all the other Wilson Defensive Players of the Year also figure to be in the mix for the Defensive Player of the Year in the 2012 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards (GIBBYs), which are based on voting by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni and the Society for American Baseball Research, as well as fan balloting on MLB.com.
From Monday, Nov. 12, through Sunday, Dec. 2, fans will be able to cast their ballots at MLB.com for the year's top defensive star, with no individual league affiliation -- another difference between the Gold Gloves and the Wilson awards.