Juan Uribe, 2013 Gold Glove winner?

JuanUribe

During yesterday’s game against the Diamondbacks, Ben Badler of Baseball America commented about the defense of Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe.

Those comments came after Uribe did this (not to mention him hitting three bombs):

JuanUribeNoGlove

So naturally it got me thinking about Uribe’s place in the Gold Glove standings. When I looked at guys statistically at the top, Nolan Arenado, Chase Headley, and David Wright were all included (with Todd Frazier as the other), but Uribe was right there as well.

2013NLGoldGloveStats

So statistically speaking, there’s a pretty clear gap between one and two, and two and the rest.

Because of sample size issues, you may also want to look at their histories. Arenado has none (rookie), Uribe is career +20 DRS and +34.5 UZR at 3B, Frazier is +10 DRS and +13.3 UZR, Headley is +17 DRS and +28.6 UZR, and Wright is -11 DRS and -7.6 UZR. So all of them have a track record of success except the rookie and Wright. In Wright’s case, though, he did make a significant leap forward across the board last year, so his 2013 figures appear legit as well.

For Arenado, he’s my 2013 NL Gold Glove winner despite the lack of track record. He clearly leads across the board according to the statistics, as he’s the only player to post plus-plus defensive value on every metric. But besides that, I also watch a lot of baseball, both because I love it and because I review plays/highlights for GIFS and what not. As such, I’ve got to watch these guys a bunch, and Arenado is the only one that appears consistently making a variety of different plus defensive highlights. Combine all of that together and it’ll be hard to put me off the position that he deserves the award.

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That said, it doesn’t need to diminish what Uribe has accomplished, as there’s a legit case for him to be in the Gold Glove conversation. In fact, I think he’s a clear second to Arenado.

More importantly, this conversation highlights what an incredible value his resurgence in 2013 has been to the team after Luis Cruz and the utility super friends couldn’t produce. That statistical value — along with what he’s meant to Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez and everybody else in the clubhouse — even has me wanting a short-term extension for Uribe given the dearth of options out there at third next year.

The fact that I’m able to say that considering my dislike for him coming into the year after two putrid campaigns with the Dodgers just goes to show how far he’s come in such a short time.

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