In the aftermath of the celebration of three Baltimore Orioles winning gold gloves and the Birds hiring a new pitching coach, the subject of Matt Wieters has gone to the back burner. However in looking at the numbers, I’m a little baffled at how it’s possible that Wieters was denied the award. Statistically Wieters was in fact the better catcher if you believe the numbers. In no way am I minimizing Perez and his .993 fielding percentage. However the fact is that Wieters’ fielding percentage was higher at .997. Wieters committed three errors as opposed to Perez’s seven, and 1021 putouts as opposed to Perez’s 930. The one category that Perez did lead was in assists, where he had 71 as opposed to Wieters’ 58.
In fairness, there have been rumblings that several Orioles won the award over the past few seasons instead of more worthy candidates. This in a way can be similar to the NCAA tournament selection each year where the next day everyone feels that two or three teams have been hosed. Obviously we don’t know why Perez was chosen over Wieters, nor will we ever. However here’s one possible explanation: the Orioles’ defense. Let’s not forget that the Orioles as a team only committed 54 errors, which was a major league record low. Granted Wieters, and even the entire pitching staff were all a part of that. However most errors are committed in the infield area, which puts first base, second, third, and shortstop all in the line of fire.
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You get where I’m going with this I presume; did the voters perhaps think that Wieters had somewhat of an advantage because even some of his errant throws were still pulled in and went for outs when runners tried to steal? That might be a very distinct possibility, especially given the fact that Wieters was often throwing to a gold glove shortstop in J.J. Hardy, along with a gold glove third baseman in Manny Machado. This is all a very relative and even subjective argument. I saw a lot of surprise around Birdland when Wieters didn’t win, and quite frankly it had me scratching my head myself.
Again, there can sometimes be similarities between some of these postseason awards and the NCAA tournament selection. This is what happens when you have people making the decision and casting the votes. If a computer was doing the tally, odds are Wieters would have been seeing gold the other night. However computers don’t make the decision, and if you want an example of what happens when they do simply take a look at the college football BCS.
As I stated several times, these awards can be very subjective. For the record I also felt that Tampa’s James Loney also deserved the award at first base. It’s worth mentioning that the entire Tampa Rays’ infield was nominated, and none of them won gold. I know that they don’t go by the number of players for each team that wins, but more so the players themselves. However I found that interesting so to speak; I almost feel like you’d have to try not to have at least one winner given that. However of course J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado were both winners from the Orioles at their respective positions, so there’s two spots right there.
Ultimately I personally think that Wieters deserved the award. However it’s also controversies as such that give people like me something about which to write during this time of year!