Three Pirates Among Finalists For Gold Glove Awards

Rawlings announced the Gold Glove finalists on Thursday afternoon and the Pittsburgh Pirates are well-represented. Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen are all among the three finalists for their position. McCutchen is the only one who has won in the past, taking home the award during the 2012 season. Marte was a finalist last year, losing out to Christian Yelich of the Marlins.

McCutchen is a surprising nomination based on his stats, including a -0.6 dWAR this year and -1.0 in 2014. Marte was one of the best defensive players in the NL for any position and he led all outfielders with 16 assists. Cole handled 47 chances this year without an error.

The winners will be announced November 10th.

  • Hi guys.

    Really good conversation there about the catching and pitch framing and stealing strikes. One thing I’d like to point out vis-a-vis allowing stolen bases is that Cervelli had a really difficult group of pitchers to catch.

    There was a handful of times this season where I saw swinging third strikes at balls that actually bounced off the plate and fooled the ump into thinking (because he heard the ball tic off the plate) he’d made contact.

    In other words, several of our pitchers were throwing such crazy downward breaking stuff that having to handle that AND throw out a runner is a pretty tall order. Just saying that maybe a pitcher’s level of “stuff” is good for the pitcher but sometimes tough on the catcher?

    Thoughts?

    -Wabbit

  • As much as MLB is trying to incorporate a Saber component to Gold Glove, the award still does have a bit of an offense bias/star power incorporated into it. (Think a declining Jeter winning the award) It’s not the point of the award, but McCutchen is too much of a star/strong offensive force not to be considered, even though his defense isn’t tops in the league.

  • After all these years Rawlings still doesn’t get it. This award is part popularity contest and part name recognition contest.

  • Marte is very deserving

  • How did Cervelli not get named as a finalist?

    • Because he wasn’t very good?

      • and beyond that, we should just make it simple and have MLB admit until Yadi retires he’s always going to get it regardless of what other players do. No matter what others play do, Yadi gets the gold glove until Yadi decides otherwise.

      • when you lead the majors in stolen bases given up, you probably aren’t going to get a nomination

        • He was also second in the league in CS

          • True. You can then move to his CS% as a backup indicator, and when its below average, even with a team like the pirates that isn’t putting much focus on holding runners, you have no hope

        • That stat isn’t on the catcher. It’s primarily on the pitcher. Our starters are overall slow to the plate and don’t to a very good job holding runners.

          • I’m fine with that Brian, but back it up. Can you tell me the average release for starting catchers compared to Cervelli’s this year? How about the number of throwing errors/pass balls vs. his counterparts. It’s easy to blame the pitchers, and yes- a lot of it is that, but a lot of that is true with every other team in the majors as well. That is why the success rate for a great catcher is 40% instead of 80%

            • Ok, so I shouldn’t have given the impression that the catcher doesn’t matter. My point, not well stated, was that it’s diffcult to overcome a pitcher that’s slow to plate. Catcher pop time is an important factor. I don’t have the number for Cervelli but I believe he’s above average is this respect. If someone has a good source for this I am very interested. What I am saying is that many of our pitchers are pretty damn slow to the plate and it’s tough for the catcher to compensate. Here’s an interesting Bill James’ article on this from a few years ago.

              http://www.billjamesonline.com/timing_pitchers_and_catchers_to_prevent_stolen_bases_/

              Also came across this bit of anecdotal information about Burnett. I think we can all agree is a quite slow to the plate.

              From 2010-13, AJ Burnett has allowed 39 SB and 7 CS (.15), an attempt
              every 32 batters faced, with Russell Martin catching, while 90 SB 5 CS
              (.05) an attempt every 19 batters with all other catchers (Cervelli
              28-2, Barajas 37-0, Posada 11-3, McKenry 8-0, Moeller 3-0, Fryer 3-0)

              • I just find it really really hard to believe that- for just a 2 year period- with Russell catching- we decided to hold runners, and it was so unsuccesful (with his ridiculous % of caught stealing) that we decided to completely ignore it again this year- it just doesn’t add up. The only variable change here is Burnett being added back- all the other pitchers on the team and coaches were essentially the same- the major change is Russell for Francisco……

              • To follow up on that. I find it more likely, that knowing they lost a guy who can actually throw players out regularly they decided that…..Cervelli’s talent throwing out runners, was lower than Martin’s to the degree that the coaches decided to focus solely on the hitter, hoping that the additional concentration on the batter would help offset the inevitable additional stolen bases. In my opinion, it’s a stupid gamble, but i’m not in charge of the team. There just isn’t any OTHER reason why they would have abandoned holding runners on, except that they didn’t have much faith in cervelli’s ability to throw them out given the same level of attention paid in the previous two years. What do you guys think about my stab in the dark here?

    • Cervelli was awful at throwing out runners out. He gave up the most stolen bases in the league, and it wasn’t even close.

      • I’d bet most of that was due to the pitchers being slow to the plate. I wish they would factor in pitch framing and blocking stats.

        • If you’re going to blame the pitchers for their stake in the running game (and you should), then you also have to credit them and the umpires for Cervelli’s inflated framing metrics.

          Pirate pitchers live on the bottom edge of the zone, the part that also happens to be expanded the most by umpires. Cervelli “stealing” strikes is dependent on pitchers hitting the area that umps around the league have expanded, and not just for Cervelli.

          • excellent excellent points NMR- this pitch framing crap that catchers get all the credit for is ridiculous. Its just short of impossible to quantify because of all the variables involved in a process which literally involves 3 people on every pitch, if not 4 if you include the hitter and his stance at the plate (how close to the plate he is or how tall he is/stands in the box specifically)

            • I agree to a point, but if you take that logic and use it on every thing a catcher does you’d end up doubting everything about a catcher. Is he a good game caller because of him or the coaches+good pitchers? Poor blocking stats, are they indicative of poor fundamentals on his part or the pitcher being wild?

              Certainly take things with a grain of salt, but i think you have to admit there are some catchers who clearly are better (and way better) at framing and its not total randomness. Its not just Cervelli, but he’s a big part of it. (Or i should say quality framing on the C is a big part of it, as Martin was also above average in that area).

              • Neither of us questioned the skill, Luke. The skill is undeniably valuable, and Cervelli is undeniably good at it.

                But nobody is arguing that merit alone, they’re using the rough metrics developed to date as the judge. And those metrics are also undeniably poor at differentiating who is actually responsible.

              • To use your own hypothetical, nobody tries claiming Catcher A created 217 strikes and 23 additional outs due to game calling. Because that of course would be impossibly silly to accurately judge.

                We know game calling absolutely matters, and we generally know the guys who are pretty good at it, but we know better than to try and quantify specifically how much one guy adds.

                This has always been my argument against the framing-as-an-undervalued-skill narrative. Sure, framing may be undervalued, but that’s an impossible argument to prove until we actually understand how much value it adds in the first place.

              • I see your side here Luke, your points are valid- I am just in the camp that does doubt any way of quantifying the value of catchers like you said. If you can’t standardize the other variables in an experiment, the results are inconclusive. Science. 🙂

  • Cutch getting a Gold Glove this year would be a great example of how flawed this award is in who they decide to give it to. Offense so clearly impacts some nominations/recipients.

    • I would go a step farther- him being nominated is an embarassment and a travesty to the players who actually deserve the consideration

      • But it happens every year, so really its no surprise. The award has been a travesty for years.

        • It seemed to have been getting better recently though since the development of the advanced stats for defense. This is a big step back. There literally isn’t a single stat which says Cutch is an even average defensive center fielder

          • Im still salty about Martin getting passed up for Yadi. The league clearly is still fine with legacy picks and offense dictating some spots. Yadi is clearly never going to lose a GG until he retires because he’s been great in the past (and is still very good) and everyone loves him.

    • If they gave one to Nate McCloud McCutchen winning one isn’t so far fetched, but I don’t think he will.

  • Marte should already have a gold glove…not winning this year would be a sin.

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