Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 2011 MLB Gold Glove Nominees

AL and NL Gold Glove Nominees were announced today kicking off awards season.  In case you didn't already know, the Gold Glove process has changed this year as they're announcing the nominees ahead of a televised ESPN awards ceremony... cha-ching.

A bigger change, in my opinion, is that they have decided to divvy up outfield awards by position (in the past, they have given out awards for outfielders and this year there will be awards for RF, LF and CF), which paves the way for guys like Jay Bruce and Matt Holliday to win fielding awards despite being less than stellar defenders.  No offense to either player but if they were good defenders, they would be playing center field.  Defense is not a top priority for corner outfielders, especially in the National League.  In my opinion, the powers that be are doing us a disservice by making this change.  It was better the way it was - Matt Kemp is a much better defender than Matt Holliday and yet, Holliday has a much better chance of winning an award.  They perform the same job in the outifield, don't they?

Despite that change, which I'm less than thrilled with, I think that the pool of nominees is pretty good.  They may have missed in a few cases but I think that they did a fair job of putting the names of the deserving winners in the field.

So here are your nominees (with an * by my picks) along with some commentary.  Enjoy!

P - *Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda, Kyle Lohse
C - *Yadier Molina, Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz
1B - *Joey Votto, Gaby Sanchez, James Loney
2B - *Brandon Phillips, Neil Walker, Omar Infante
SS - *Troy Tulowitzky, Ronny Cedeno, Alex Gonzalez
3B - *Placido Polanco, Daniel Descalso, Pablo Sandoval
LF - *Gerardo Parra, Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday
CF - Matt Kemp, Shane Victorino, *Chris Young
RF - Andre Ethier, Carlos Beltran and *Jay Bruce

P - *Mark Buehrle, Dan Haren, Fausto Carmona
C - *Matt Wieters, A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Avila
1B - Adrian Gonzalez, Casey Kotchman, *Mark Teixeira
2B - *Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler
SS - Erick Aybar, *J.J. Hardy, Asdrubal Cabrera
3B - *Adrian Beltre, Kevin Youkilis, Evan Longoria
LF - Alex Gordon, *Brett Gardner, Sam Fuld
CF - *Jacoby Ellsbury, Austin Jackson, Peter Bourjos
RF - *Nick Markakis, Torii Hunter, Jeff Francoeur

Knee-jerk... of course, a few CF are going to get screwed.  If Matt Holliday wins a GG over Chris Young, that would be a traveshamockery.

Besides that, there are a couple of really good AL shortstops that didn't get nominated - Alcides Escobar and Alexei Ramirez.  Asdrubal Cabrera will probably win and that would be a huge travesty and an indication of where the new age ESPN award is heading.  Cabrera made a handful of web gems early on but in terms of UZR, which is a MAJOR fielding metric, he is the absolute worse SS in baseball (-11.8 UZR).

It was a bad year for 3B... Not too many qualifiers as a few perennial Gold Glove candidates missed time (Scott Rolen, David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman).

Justin Upton deserved a nomination... could have had three deserving Diamondbacks outfielders make the field and when you consider how bad Beltran was in San Francisco, it's safe to assume that Upton was a snub (overall, Beltran's -9.2 UZR is third worst in baseball).

One major positive is that they didn't just throw Derek Jeter or Ichiro Suzuki in there just because they're Jeter and Ichiro... those players didn't deserve nominations so they didn't get them.  Kudos to the nominators on that one (although they did find a way to squeeze Torii Hunter in there ahead of Nick Swisher; undoubtedly the biggest SNAFU of all but it could have been worse, I guess).


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