Grady SizemoreGrady Sizemore Collects Gold Glove Award

In a somewhat surprising result, Cleveland Indians’ centerfielder Grady Sizemore has won a Rawlings American League Gold Glove Award, given annually to the best defensive player at each position, as voted on by managers and coaches for each team. The other 2 outfield Gold Gloves in the American League went to Seattle Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki and the Minnesota Twins’ Torii Hunter.

The award will probably be acknowledged by analysts and pundits as a bit of a surprise and maybe even somewhat unwaranted. But anyone who watched Sizemore play as often as we Indians fans have knows what an elite defensive player Grady can be. He made more than his fair share of spectacular diving catches, creating outs in the gaps, and preventing runs. He also made the routine plays. That level of consistency yielded only 2 errors in 405 chances (.995 fielding percentage) this season.

Like I said, though. Be ready Tribe fans for the onslaught of negative feedback Sizemore will receive for winning this award. In the trendy age of defensive metrics (most of which I do believe in), the fact is that Grady Sizemore is probably not one of the three best defensive outfielders in baseball. Already ESPN’s Rob Neyer has sneered at Sizemore winning this award, saying:

“And the outfield? It’s another year, which means more awards for Ichiro and Torii Hunter. So they win as repeaters, and Grady Sizemore wins because he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It’s a shame the voters didn’t realize just how well Coco Crisp and Curtis Granderson were playing this year.”

I wish Rob would go in a little bit more detail as to the reasons he feels Sizemore is unfit to win this award. Regardless of what anyone says, and I think the SI cover is a shallow excuse in this case,  I’m happy for Grady and I think he deserves the award. They say the numbers don’t lie, but they also say seeing is believing, and I’m sure I don’t watch as much baseball as Rob Neyer does, but I can tell you that I have not seen 3 outfielders in the American League play better defense than Grady Sizemore this season.