First thing’s first; the Baltimore Orioles have hired a pitching coach in Dave Wallace, formerly the minor league pitching coordinator in the Atlanta Braves’ organization. Wallace, 66, has been a major league pitching coach for four different teams: the Houston Astros (2007), the Boston Red Sox (2003 to 2006), the New York Mets (1999-2000) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1995-97). Stay tuned tomorrow to Birds Watcher and we’ll cover this more in depth, however at the very least the O’s have a pitching coach for post-2013. Signed, sealed, and delivered.
J.J. Hardy won his second consecutive gold glove, and his second in as many years last night. Hardy finished 2013 with a fielding percentage of .981, turned 108 double-plays, had 230 put outs, and only committed 12 errors on the season. The Orioles also have a gold glover for the second consecutive year in Adam Jones, who took home the hardware in center field (the third gold glove award overall of Jones’ career). Jones finished the season with a career-high .995 fielding percentage, had 352 put outs, 11 assists, and only committed two errors on the season.
As I tweeted just prior to the announcement for the American League Gold Glove winner at third base, you got the impression that people were going to be very upset if Manny Machado was outdone. Speaking for myself, I saw it as a given that Machado would win. But nothing is for sure until it’s formally announced…but luckily nobody had to rush the voters with pitch forks, as Machado won the award. Machado won his first career gold glove with a .973 fielding percentage, 42 double-plays, 355 putouts, and only 13 errors. Machado is the first Orioles’ third baseman to win gold since Brooks Robinson in 1975.
Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, and Chris Davis were all nominated but didn’t win. I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised at Wieters being out-voted. He lost out to Kansas City’s Salvador Perez, who granted was was very deserving candidate. However Wieters’ .997 fielding percentage beats out Perez’s .993. Wieters committed three errors as opposed to Perez’s seven. I don’t know, however I have to assume that this is the sabremetrics part of the equation that somehow put Perez above Wieters. At least that’s the only thing I can think; Wieters beats Perez in most – if not all – statistical categories. Perez is a very deserving player and so forth, however I’d be interested in hearing the rationale behind the decision. (Incidentally we’ll never get to hear that.)
So the Orioles took home three gold gloves on the night, which is what they did last year as well. The Orioles of course committed a record-setting league low of 54 errors on the year, something that was reflected in the number of nominees. Regarding my comments above regarding Wieters, and any other perceived snubs out there; keep in mind that to be nominated at all is an honor, and I think that most players see it that way. In the case of Adam Jones, you now have a player who’s won the award several different times and can claim to be one of the best center fielders in the game based on that. The Orioles have not announced plans to present these players with their gold gloves as of yet, however I would expect that in the future.