DETROIT -- Ian Kinsler's breakthrough in Gold Glove Award voting lasted one year. The Tigers second baseman lost out to Minnesota's James Dozier for the American League Gold Glove Award at second base in what could be considered an upset.
Kinsler and Dozier were finalists along with Boston's Dustin Pedroia, Kinsler's longtime Gold Glove competitor and former college teammate. While Kinsler and Pedroia once again put up similar metrics, Dozier earned the nod.
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Statistically, Kinsler again built a strong case, maybe even stronger than his victorious campaign last year. His six Defensive Runs Saved ranked second among AL second basemen to White Sox rookie Yolmer Sanchez, though it marked Kinsler's first season lower than double digits for DRS since 2012. His 6.1 Ultimate Zone Rating tied Pedroia for most among AL second basemen, and his 7.5 UZR per 150 games tied his rate from last season. Dozier put up negative numbers in both DRS and UZR.
Kinsler converted one-fourth of plays rated by Inside Edge as unlikely, meaning a 10-40 percent conversion rate, and went 5-for-7 on even-chance plays. He converted 7-of-16 plays deemed as likely, but turned 98.7 percent of what were deemed routine balls.
Both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating factor along with other metrics into the SABR Defensive Index, created by a SABR Research Committee to provide a statistical element to the awards consideration to complement the votes of Major League managers and coaches. The SABR Defensive Index accounts for a quarter of the award criteria, with managers' and coaches' votes comprising the other 75 percent. The end-of-season SABR Defensive Index numbers showed Kinsler leading among AL second basemen, with Dozier second.
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With Kinsler's defeat, Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez remains the last Tiger to win back-to-back Gold Gloves, having done so at AL catcher in 2006 and '07. No Tigers infielder has won back-to-back-to-back Gold Gloves since Lou Whitaker won three in a row at second base from 1983-85.
Kinsler was the only current Tiger among the Gold Glove finalists, though former Tiger Justin Upton was a finalist in left field before losing out to Alex Gordon. The Tigers, however, weren't completely shut out of the Gold Glove show, as Hall of Famer Al Kaline was named to the 60th Anniversary Gold Glove team in the American League outfield, while Rodriguez earned the nod at AL catcher.