The Washington Post

Ian Desmond, Denard Span lose bids for Gold Glove awards

Denard Span (Evan Vucci / AP)

Ian Desmond and Denard Span lost out on their bids to win their first Gold Glove awards for their respective positions. Desmond was beaten out by Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons and finished as a finalist for the second straight season. Span, in his first season in the National League, came up short against Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez despite finishing the season as the only everyday center fielder without any errors.

Gomez unseated Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, another finalist, for his first Gold Glove. Simmons, also a first-timer, beat out both Desmond and Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki for the award. Both Nationals players had fine defensive seasons but were topped by players who had, by some defensive metrics, even more stellar performances in the field.

Desmond, 28, began this season shaky but then settled down. At one point, he reeled off a 59-game errorless streak. He finished with 20 errors, second most among NL shortstops, but still exhibited excellent range and a strong arm. He finished with a 4.4 UZR score, fifth among qualifying NL shortstops.

Simmons, however, is often regarded as one of the best defenders in baseball and posted high marks in advanced metrics. Simmons saved 41 more runs than the average defender, according to, while Desmond saved three fewer runs than the average defender. Simmons also posted a 24.6 UZR, by far the best at his position.

Span, 29, was the only everyday center fielder in baseball to post a spotless fielding percentage of 1.000 and commit no errors. He saved three more runs than the average defender and posted a 10.2 UZR score, third best among NL center fielders. He made such good reads and jumps that he was rarely caught out of position on a play, making it look effortless and rarely diving for balls He also displayed tremendous range and an ability to make difficult, game-changing catches.

McCutchen posted a 6.9 UZR score and saved seven runs. Gomez, however, exceeded both, posting a 24.4 UZR score and saved 38 more runs than the average defender. Span had felt that his errorless-season would carry him to his first-ever Gold Glove award but lost out.

“Like I said b4 I won no matter what in my mind and heart! Congrats to my ex teammate Carlos Gomez for an incredible season… #illbebacktho” Span said on Twitter after the announcement.

Last season, the Nationals had one winner (Adam LaRoche) and one finalist (Desmond). This season, the Nationals, who weren’t as sharp defensively as a whole, finish with only two finalists and no winners.

The winners were announced on Tuesday night on ESPN2. Managers and coaches cast votes from a pool of qualified players in their league, but not for their own players. And for the first time in the award’s 57-year history, Rawlings collaborated with the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) and an advanced statistic (the SABR Defensive Index) accounted for about 25 percent of the total vote.


The winners

National League

C Yadier Molina, Cardinals

1B Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

2B Brandon Phillips, Reds

3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies

SS Andrelton Simmons, Braves

LF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies

CF Carlos Gomez, Brewers

RF Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks

P Adam Wainwright, Cardinals


American League

C Salvador Perez, Royals

1B Eric Hosmer, Royals

2B Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

3B Manny Machado, Orioles

SS J.J. Hardy, Orioles

LF Alex Gordon, Royals

CF Adam Jones, Orioles

RF Shane Victorino, Red Sox

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010, wrote about high school sports across the region for two years and has covered the Nationals since the middle of the 2012 season.



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Adam Kilgore · October 28, 2013