More On Gold Gloves
Speaking of Gold Gloves, Ichiro now has won nine of them. Since the award was instituted in 1957, only five outfielders have won more.
There’s something absurd about this. . . .
Ichiro is a great fielder . . . for a right fielder. And that is nothing like being a center fielder. In the American League in 2009, the average right fielder made 2.13 plays per nine innings; Ichiro averaged 2.24. But the average AL center fielder made 2.73 plays per nine innings. That means, on average, center fielders made 28 percent more plays than right fielders; in the National League, the difference was 25 percent.
Doesn’t that mean that the three best outfielders in the league are probably center fielders? Franklin Gutierrez made 458 putouts for the Mariners; that was 51 more than any other outfielder in the AL, and 73 more than the No. 3 guy on the list.
Ichiro led AL right fielders with 326 putouts. That’s an impressive total, but it’s only about 10th among all AL outfielders. Ichiro is a great fielder; if any right fielder since Roberto Clemente would deserve nine Gold Gloves, it would be him. But if they are going to award Gold Gloves to “outfielders” and not break it down by position, then the awards probably should go to three center fielders.