Tuesday morning brought the announcement of the 2013 MLB Gold Glove Award Finalists. The casual baseball fan may have only heard of the defensive antics of one third base man this season, Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles. ESPN’s ritual playing of Machado highlights, while well deserved, are an injustice to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ brilliant Juan Uribe.
Thankfully for Uribe, Machado plays in the AL and will not compete against Uribe for the 2013 title. Uribe’s NL competition includes two other finalists: Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies and the New York Mets’ David Wright. With all due respect to Arenado and Wright, Uribe truly does deserve to win. Having watched Uribe play third base all year long, I can confirm that his defensive plays made me say “wow!” on a near nightly basis. If you want some visual proof, check out this slideshow I did in September with videos of Uribe’s top 10 defensive plays of the season.
On the statistical level, Uribe also bests his fellow finalists. Uribe finished the 2013 season with a .983 fielding percentage compared to .973 for both Wright and Arenado. The only case Arenado may have over Uribe is a much higher dWAR (defensive WAR) in which his 3.6 doubles Uribe’s 1.8. Still, according to baseball-reference.com, Uribe leads the three finalists in the percentage of balls fielded that are turned into outs with 93% compared to Arenado’s 90% and Wright’s 88%.
Uribe deserves to win because of his flashy glove and consistently brilliant play all season. If the voters go with one of the other finalists, it will be a crying shame. Look for the announcement of the winner of the 2013 Gold Glove Award on Tuesday, October 29 and expect the Dodgers’ Juan Uribe to bring home the hardware.