The Brewers had two “nominees” for Gold Gloves heading into Tuesday night’s special on ESPN2, but came away empty-handed once again as neither Ryan Braun nor Aramis Ramirez came away with the award at their position.
Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez beat out Braun and Atlanta’s Martin Prado in left field, while San Diego’s Chase Headley is the winner at third base over Ramirez and New York’s David Wright. It’s Gonzalez’s second Gold Glove and Headley’s first.
Braun and Ramirez both had good defensive seasons by their standards, but the Gold Glove is an award based on reputation, making it hard for anyone like Braun or Ramirez to break through and win it. Both have long had reputations as below-average defenders at best, and defensive liabilities at worst.
To their credit, if you believe the single-season metrics, Braun and Ramirez provided some of the best defense of their careers in 2012. Defensive Runs Saved had Braun at 7 runs above average and Ramirez at 4 runs above average. In UZR per 150 games played, Braun was +3.0 and Ramirez was +11.0. Total Zone had Braun at 2 runs above average and Ramirez at 7 runs above average. With defensive data being so unreliable year-to-year, it takes awhile to change perceptions about a player’s defense.
Of course, Braun has another perception problem that may have cost him the NL’s Hank Aaron Award this year and will likely cost him the Most Valuable Player award when it’s announced on November 15. The Gold Gloves aren’t voted on by the sometimes-spiteful BBWAA, but rather by the league’s managers and coaches. Still, if some of the comments made about Braun in the days following his successful appeal are any indication, there could still be some hard feelings.
The Brewers haven’t had a Gold Glove winner since Robin Yount took the AL’s award for shortstops in 1982.