Polanco wins second Gold Glove in three years

Detroit+Tigers+v+Los+Angeles+Angels+Anaheim+pJX3WVneAEYl.jpgPlacido Polanco is the Tigers’ lone Gold Glove award winner this year, picking up his second such award in three years and adding another honor to his resume as he hits the free-agent market.

Polanco beat out defending Gold Glove winner Dustin Pedroia for the honor at second base, as voted on by Major League managers and coaches. He becomes the third Tigers infielder to win multiple Gold Gloves, joining the double-play duo of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker. The Gold Glove awards date back to 1957.

Though he couldn’t duplicate his errorless 2007 season, his error total fell from eight last year to two this past season. Working alongside shortstops Adam Everett and Ramon Santiago, plus with Brandon Inge back at third, Polanco helped turn a career-high 112 double plays. His .997 fielding percentage easily led all AL second basemen, while his 731 total chances and his Range Factor of 5.1 putouts plus assists per nine innings ranked near the top.

The more specialized fielding stats were more favorable on Polanco than one might expect for a middle infielder who turned 34 years old last month. While Polanco ranked lower among AL second basemen on zone rating, a statistic created by STATS Inc. to measure the rate of outs converted in a player’s defensive zone, his ultimate zone rating of 11.4 led all Major League second basemen.

Other Tigers fell short in their Gold Glove bids.  Gerald Laird’s league-leading 42-percent rate of throwing out baserunners couldn’t earn him the nod at catcher over Minnesota’s Joe Mauer. Brandon Inge’s abundance of highlight plays couldn’t overshadow his error totals at third, where Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria captured his first Gold Glove. Curtis Granderson couldn’t crack the AL Gold Glove outfield mix of longtime standards Torii Hunter and Ichiro Suzuki plus newcomer Adam Jones.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

6 Comments

I’m thrilled for him but dread seeing him play for another team.

It’s a darn shame Gerald Laird couldn’t get a glove. If ever there was a defensive gold glover, he’s it. Gotta have the offense to back it up with these awards, though.

Congrats to Polly. Let’s hope he takes a 1 year deal to stay with the Tigers. Maybe it’s just me, but I am happy Gerald Laird lost (plus, let’s be honest…Joe Mauer is the best player in the game). I understand he is a good defensive catcher, but he is absolutely atrocious offensively, and (in my opinion, obviously) does not deserve to be a starting major league catcher. Defense is VERY important, but once he gets a bat in his hands, he’s useless. He would be a perfect back-up catcher, but clearly can not take the every day grind behind the plate to be a complete player. Here’s hoping Alex Avila has what it takes!

Gold Glove is supposed to be about defense, so Laird’s offense shouldn’t have any bearing, but the award has sort of become the “all-around” award, recognizing guys who are good both offensively and defensively, even if not extremely so in either facet. I would be more inclined to deny Laird the award based on his troubles with passed balls if it is strictly a defensive honor…

The catcher also calls for the pitches and it helps to have a good rapport with the pitchers.

Couldn’t disagree with a few of you more. The Gold Glove SHOULD have absolutely nothing to do with offense that is what the silver slugger award is for and the batting championship. So if you go actually based on defense, calling games Laird should of won hands down. Mauer won because he hits well. The award is a farse.

Congratulations to Polance though – PLEASE DONT GO AWAY.

Congratulations Polly – my boss keeps asking me why the fuss over our 2nd baseman, he thinks he isn’t anything great – maybe now he’ll believe me! Great honor for him, I too want him on our team again next year – he can handle the bat, move players around, be a leader in the infield and obviously has a terrific glove. I think he still has some pop in his step.

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