I said this yesterday, but I’m going to say it again; Manny Machado is going to win the Gold Glove at third base in the American League. There’s just no way that doesn’t happen. Incidentally if it goes to someone else I think we’ll see more of an outcry than we did last year when Buck Showalter didn’t win AL Manager of the Year. But we’ll cross that bridge when and if we get there. However Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis were also nominated. (The Baltimore Orioles led the majors with six nominations.) Which – if any – of them end up taking home the hardware?
This year for the first time, coaches and managers were given an assist by SABR on the nominations and voting, with sabermetrics ultimately playing a role in the winners. Davis is being challenged at first base by James Loney of Tampa and Eric Hosmer of Kansas City, Jones in center by Lorenzo Cain (KC) and Jacoby Ellsbury (Bos), Markakis in right by Shane Victorino (Bos) and Josh Reddick (Oak), Wieters at catcher by Joe Mauer (Min) and Salvador Perez (KC), Hardy at short by Alcides Escobar (KC) and Yunel Escobar (Tam), and Machado at third by Adrian Beltre (Tex) and Evan Longoria (Tam).
Keep in mind that all of these players are worth of seeing gold by virtue of the fact that they were nominated. However in my view, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy probably have the best shot at taking home gold along with Machado. In right field Shane Victorino had the hot hand with Boston all year, as did James Loney in Tampa at first base. I think that Adam Jones has a legitimate shot, but beating out Jacoby Ellsbury is going to be a tough task.
I would submit that Matt Wieters is largely considered the top catcher in the American League, and possible in baseball. For those who follow me on twitter, how many times a year do I tweet out “Don’t. Run. Ever.”? If you’re a Twins or Royals fan, you’re looking at your guy beating Wieters the same way that I’m talking about Jones and Markakis beating out Ellsbury and Victorino. Joe Mauer is a great catcher and a great player, and without a doubt he’s probably the prototype for Wieters in a sense. But I see Wieters as being tough to beat.
The same is true of J.J. Hardy at shortstop. The two Escobars are great shortstops and so forth, however Hardy had an exceptional season. This is all very relative, however these are just my views. Orioles fans would obviously like to see all six players win, which is certainly possible. Obviously the Birds being shut out is also a possibility, but again I think Buck Showalter will probably bust a nerve if at least Machado isn’t given the Gold Glove at third base.
Time will tell how any of this goes. As I said yesterday, the winners will be announced this coming Tuesday evening at 7 PM. But my prediction is that Wieters, Hardy, and of course Machado take home hardware.