I know that Ryan Zimmerman had 17 errors, while Kevin Kouzmanoff had just 3. Yes, 14 errors is a big difference. But there’s more to defensive excellence than just errors and fielding percentage. Basing a fielder’s overall performance on only those two measures is like judging a starting pitcher’s performance on just his W/L record, without looking at his ERA, WHIP, run support, etc.
Below are the basic statistics that are used to compare defensive performance of players — Zimmerman’s and Kouzmanoff’s stats are shown.
Player TEAM POS G GS INN TC PO A E DP RF FPCT
Zimmerman WSH 3B 154 153 1337.2 459 117 325 17 28 2.97 .963
Kouzmanoff SD 3B 139 134 1186.2 311 94 214 3 24 2.34 .990
As you can clearly see, Zimmerman had more total chances, more put-outs, more assists, more double plays, and a better range factor. Kozmanoff has the edge in errors and fielding percentage. Note: Zimmerman lead the majors with his 459 total chances and 325 assists.
Another stat that has been mentioned when comparing Zimmerman and Kouzmanoff is UZR — Ultimate Zone Rating. Zimmerman lead NL third baseman with his 18.1 UZR. According to THIS ARTICLE, Zimmerman also lead NL third baseman in range factor and range factor per game.
I am not a stats geek, in any way, shape or form. I attempted to learn more about UZR by going to FanGraphs.com and reading their UZR Primer (parts 1 and 2), and I came away from it all with a headache. You know how cartoon characters have stars and birds circling their heads when they get hurt? That’s exactly how I felt after trying to figure out UZR.
The 2009 AL Gold Glove Award winners are:
C – Joe Mauer, Twins
1B – Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B – Placido Polanco, Tigers
3B – Evan Longoria, Rays
SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF – Torii Hunter, Angels
OF – Adam Jones, Orioles
OF – Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
P – Mark Buehrle, White Sox
Congratulations to all of the winners…especially Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira!
The NL winners will be announced
tomorrow later today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
He certainly had a Gold Glove-worthy season season, leading all NL third basemen in assists, total chances, total outs recorded and games started. He won the 2009 Fielding Bible Award for third baseman:
Ryan Zimmerman has broken out of the pack in my estimation, however, by becoming the Defensive Runs Saved leader at third base over the last three years. His first Fielding Bible Award is well deserved.
Zimm was also named the first ever ESPN Web Gem Champion, after collecting the most web gems (19) and web gem points (61) from ESPN this season.
Ryan’s biggest competition for the Gold Glove seems to be Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres, who set a single-season record for NL third basemen with a .990 fielding percentage and made only three errors. The Padres apparently have campaigned pretty hard for him to win; I’m not sure if the Nationals have done the same for Zimm. Overall stats seem to favor Zimm, though, so I’m hopeful that the NL managers and coaches have gotten it right and have voted for Ryan Zimmerman for NL 3B Gold Glove Award!
Good luck, SuperZimm!