Of all the awards in baseball, the Gold Glove may be the hardest to predict because it has never lived up to its name as a purely defensive award. Rarely has the honor ever gone to the best defensive player at his position; instead it’s usually bestowed upon a former MVP or a talented two way player.
Still, just as the CY Young voters have stopped relying on wins to decide the best pitcher, perhaps the voters will start giving the award to the best defensive player. I’m just not holding my breath. Without further ado, here is my predictions for the Gold Glove winners in the National League:
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers
Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants
Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
This is a list has a few up and coming players in Crawford and Harper, but it’s stocked full of mostly big-name players who will get a lot of exposure this season.
With the new look Dodgers expected to get plenty of coverage, I almost picked Matt Kemp to win the center field award but McCutchen is a guy who will be rewarded for his loyalty to the Pirates.
Phillips has become more well-know because of the Reds’ success and his World Baseball Classic appearance.
You can’t watch a Cardinals game without hearing the announcers mention the great defensive play of Molina at least once an inning.
Adrian Gonzalez got a lot of press in Boston, but with ESPN and MLB wanting the Dodgers to become the new Yankees, the pressure on him will amount even more in Los Angeles.
Crawford was excellent with his glove in the postseason and could actually be slightly overrated on defense walking into this season. But he is a budding star on the World Champs and will be rewarded.
Harper plays baseball with the reckless abandonment of his youth, and nothing gets more votes than robbing homers with a dirty uniform or raising your glove with the ball wedged in it on the warning track.
Zimmerman might be the most boring player on this list, but he is steady force in the Nationals’ infield, and his above average defense will overshadow any other competitors.
The final gold glove goes to the Rockies’ superstar Carlos Gonzalez in perhaps my most bold pick. Admittedly, however, this pick is more about the scarcity of great defensive left fielders in the NL, who can also handle the bat.
As for picking Cole Hamels, to be honest, I just pulled a name out of a hat because picking a Gold Glove for a pitcher makes only slightly more sense than picking one for a DH.
I might be a little cynical of the Gold Glove, and one day I will be pleasantly surprised when a guy like Brandon Ryan or Darwin Barney picks up the trophy. However, until that day I have to believe that Jimmy Rollins means more to the voters than his actual play.