Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew continues to make strides in his game whether it be at the plate or on the field. Drew was one of the few bright spots in a dismal 2010 season. He bounced back from 2009 levels posting solid numbers at the plate.
In 565 at bats Drew had 259 total bases including a team leading 12 triples along with 33 doubles and 15 home runs. He has settled in nicely into the line-up and can hit in multiple spots whether it be leading off, driving in runs, or setting the table for the power hitters.
Offense was never anything anyone doubted when it came to Drew’s game. The knock on him was always his defense. Coming up Drew was seen as an average or below-average fielder.
In the five years he has been in the major leagues, Drew has continually become better defensively. This past season Drew had what many would consider a breakout season in the field.
In 147 games Drew had 607 total chances and recorded 206 putouts and 391 assists. He had the lowest level of errors in his career committing only 10 for the whole season. Some of that may be the fact that Drew finally played with a good defensive first baseman in Adam LaRoche but much of the credit goes to the hard work Drew puts in every day.
Infielder coach Matt Williams raves about Drew’s work ethic and his commitment to his defense. Second baseman Kelly Johnson also complemented Drew and how easy he is to work with on double plays. Drew was involved with 86 double plays, the second highest total in his career.
So with the announcement of the National League Gold Gloves, Drew had to be considered one of the favorites to earn the award. The voters saw it differently. The award went to Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Like Drew, Tulowitzki had a fielding percentage of .984 and committed just 10 errors. The difference is that Tulowitzki missed a month of the season and played in only 122 games to Drew’s 147. Drew also outdistanced Tulowitzki in assists recording three more than his rival.
If we look at Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), Drew is a 1.2 runs greater than Tulowitzki. Normalized over 150 defensive games the difference balloons to nearly two full runs.
The statistics show that Drew is more durable giving his team nearly 200 more innings of defense in 2010. So why did Drew get snubbed?
As you read the stories and reports surrounding the Gold Glove winnings a trend emerged. Almost always the discussion included a player’s offensive statistics. For whatever reason, Gold Glove voters take into consideration a player’s offensive statistics when awarding a defensive award.
Forget that there are Silver Slugger awards for the best offensive player in each position. No the awards are skewed towards what happens at the plate whether you are hitting or playing defense.
This continues to be a frustration point and will remain so until the voters can agree upon a more objective measurement of defense. Until then we will continue to hear about how well Tulowitzki did at the plate and why he deserved to win a Gold Glove.