Anyone who’s more than a casual baseball fan should know that the Rawlings’ Gold Glove Awards are pretty much a joke. They’re supposed to be given to the best defensive players by position in each league, but more often they get handed out to some guy with big offensive numbers just because he manages not to trip over his own feet every time the ball is hit his way.
And yet, and yet, we still pay attention to the damned things because Major League Baseball pretends they’re important. So it’s nice when a true defensive master, like third baseman Adrian Beltre of your Texas Rangers, wins one. Yesterday he received the fourth such distinction of his career.
Today, Lone Star Ball argues that the Man Who Really, Really Hates His Head to be Touched, may well end up enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame:
But as we saw for the last three weeks in Detroit, San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bronx, defense at third can prove critical, and not all defenders are created equal. Indeed, since his sad tenure in Seattle, Beltre’s career has undergone a kind of renaissance and the stathead community has come back around on defense. Now, we understand that he has been, by far, the best-fielding third baseman since Brooks Robinson. In fact, according to Ultimate Zone Rating, Beltre has been the best fielder in baseball over the last decade at any position. Even if he didn’t have an All Star-quality bat (which he totally does, by the way), he’d be the Ozzie Smith of the hot corner. But once you factor in his offense, it’s clear that Beltre has been one of the two best third baseman of his generation.