ATLANTA -- When the Braves look back on this past season, it will be impossible to overlook the costly errors that doomed them in the one-game Wild Card playoff loss to the Cardinals. Making the abrupt and ugly ending to the 2012 campaign even more maddening was the fact that their defense had helped guide them to the postseason.
As postseason awards are announced, the Braves will continue to be reminded of this past season's impressive defensive contributions.
A couple of those reminders came during the presentation of the inaugural Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards on Sunday night. The Braves were named Major League Baseball's top defensive team, and center fielder Michael Bourn was named the National League's top defensive performer.
The Braves led the NL with a .986 fielding percentage and produced a Major League-best 9.1 UZR/150 (ultimate zone rating per 150 games). Much of the team's defensive success could be attributed to the great range and dependability they received from shortstops Andrelton Simmons and Paul Janish.
Each of the Braves' outfielders -- left fielder Martin Prado, right fielder Jason Heyward and Bourn -- were finalists for this year's Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. Though Heyward was the only winner, it would not have been surprising to see the Atlanta trio claim a clean sweep.
Bourn's speed helped him lead all Major League outfielders with a 22.4 UZR and 22.5 UZR/150 this year. Maybe even more telling was the fact that he led all outfielders with 24 runs saved per John Dewan's highly respected defensive metric.
This might not be the last defensive award Bourn receives this winter.
The GIBBY trophy for Defensive Player of the Year will be awarded as part of the 2012 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, which are based on voting from media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, the Society for American Baseball Research and fan balloting on MLB.com.
From Nov. 12 through 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.