There was good news and bad news for the Kansas City Royals when the shortlists for the Gold Glove awards were released today. The good news was that four players had been nominated: Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.
The first three certainly ought to win; Francoeur and Gordon were one and two in MLB in outfield assists this year and each comfortably led at their positions. Moustakas was excellent all year at third base and in a testament to both his range and his arm, he led all American League third basemen in both putouts and assists.
Hosmer is certainly deserving of a nomination as well after putting up a very solid year with the glove at first base. He is probably better than either of the other two candidates as well, but I would be surprised if he won. His season was good, but it did not seem that good.
But the bad news is that Alcides Escobar did not even make the shortlist at shortstop. It is an absolute disgrace and one has to wonder who the voters thought they were watching at shortstop for the Royals this season. More than once Escobar has literally saved a game for the Royals with his unparalleled range. He has thrown out even decent runners from well on the outfield grass behind third and he has caught would-be bloop hits out in shallow center field. There is not a single shortstop in the American League with the absolutely incredible range of Escobar and the arm to make it useful.
This is the second year in a row now that Escobar has been overlooked and it makes one suspect that the voters are just looking at stats (such as the notoriously misleading errors) instead of actual performance because on performance there is simply no arguing with Escobar. Adding to that suspicion is the fact that the one shortstop who comes close to challenging Escobar is the Cleveland Indians‘ Asdrubal Cabrera and he is not even shortlisted either.
The Royals will likely be happy with the four nominations, but it should have been five and there is simply no excuse for the snub of Escobar. This is becoming a theme and it is increasingly apparent that the process of awarding Gold Gloves needs to change.