Finalist Mauer denied fourth Gold Glove
MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer will not be adding a fourth Gold Glove Award to his trophy collection this year.
The Twins catcher was one of three American League backstops named a finalist for the 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award on Friday but ultimately didn't come home with the honor on Tuesday night. Royals catcher Salvador Perez won his first Gold Glove, getting the nod over Mauer and the Orioles' Matt Wieters. Wieters won the award in each of the previous two seasons.
The Gold Glove had a new wrinkle this year, as since its inception in 1957, the honor relied solely on Major League managers and coaches votes to determine the best defensive players. But this season, managers and coaches got an assist from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). For the first time, Rawlings collaborated with SABR to formally incorporate sabermetrics as a component of the Gold Glove Award.
A committee of experts in baseball analytics and defensive measurement devised the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), which draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball, location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts.
The three metrics representing batted ball data include defensive runs saved (from Baseball Info Solutions), ultimate zone rating (developed by sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman), and runs effectively defended (created by SABR's Chris Dial).
The two metrics included in the SDI from play-by-play data are defensive regression analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and total zone rating.
The plan, according to Rawlings and SABR, was to have the SDI complement the judgment by the managers and coaches. The SABR Defensive Index accounted for 30 total votes -- or approximately 25 percent -- of the Gold Glove Award selection process, and was added to the votes from the managers and coaches.
Ballots were distributed to managers and coaches in September, and they received a revamped statistical resource guide as well.
Mauer, 30, had a strong season defensively, as he committed just two errors in 75 games behind the plate. He also led the AL by throwing out 43 percent of would-be basestealers.
Among advanced defensive statistics, Mauer also ranked third in the AL in defensive runs saved behind Perez and Indians catcher Yan Gomes. But he also only caught 658 2/3 innings, which was almost half the total caught by Wieters (1,201 innings) and Perez (1,115 1/3 innings).
Mauer also suffered a concussion on a foul tip on Aug. 19, and missed the rest of the season, putting his future behind the plate in doubt.
Mauer, though, has maintained that he wants to remain at catcher moving forward, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said in a recent radio interview that Mauer is past his concussion symptoms.
Mauer was the lone Twins player to be named a finalist for the Gold Glove Award, as second baseman Brian Dozier and shortstop Pedro Florimon, who both had solid seasons defensively, were not named finalists. Boston's Dustin Pedroia won the award at second base while Baltimore's J.J. Hardy earned the honor at shortstop.