Gold Glove awards are Pirates' final 2013 strikeout

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Despite having three finalists and two strong candidates, the Pirates found themselves shut out of the Gold Glove awards Tuesday night.

Russell Martin, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen were finalists for the awards but none received one. Major league managers and coaches voted for the awards, with the help of a new sabermetric component.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina won his sixth consecutive Gold Glove, beating Martin and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis.

Marte had a good case for the Gold Glove in left field, but Colorado Rockies veteran Carlos Gonzalez won the award for the third time rather than Marte and Eric Young Jr. of the New York Mets.

Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez won his first Gold Glove, earning the honor ahead of McCutchen and the Washington Nationals' Denard Span.

Molina threw out 43.5 percent of runners attempting to steal, and Baseball Info Solutions ranked him at 12 defensive runs saved above average.

Martin's 2.6 defensive wins above replacement ranked ninth in the majors. He threw out 36 runners attempting to steal, the most in the majors this season, and the 40.4 percent of runners he caught ranked third in the National League. Martin accumulated 16 defensive runs saved above average, according to Baseball Info Solutions.

The Pirates aggressively pursued Martin in the offseason after Rod Barajas and Michael McKenry struggled to control opposing baserunners in 2012.

Marte saved 22 runs above average this season. He often did it in style, uncorking strong throws with a missile launcher of an arm and displaying great speed that allowed him to reach fly balls.

Marte had an Ultimate Zone Rating of 10.2, meaning his defense saved about 10 runs more than that of an average left fielder. Marte's 1.8 defensive Wins Above Replacement led all qualified left fielders.

Injuries limited Gonzalez to 110 games this season, but he still saved 10 runs above average.

McCutchen's defense statistically improved from his Gold Glove season in 2012. His Ultimate Zone Rating climbed from minus-8.8 to 6.9, and he saved seven runs this season compared to minus-5 in 2012.

Gomez, though, had a tremendous season. He led all center fielders with a 24.4 UZR and saved 38 runs above average. His 4.6 defensive Wins Above Replacement ranked second in the majors behind only Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, a defensive wizard.

As understanding of defensive statistics has improved in recent years, the Gold Glove awards, which in the past were solely based on votes from major league managers and coaches, came under criticism. Last season, for example, McCutchen won a Gold Glove despite fellow National League center fielder Michael Bourn having a far superior defensive season.

Rawlings, the company that issues the awards, joined the Society for American Baseball Research in creating the SABR Defensive Index, a blend of several advanced defensive metrics.

The results were converted into votes to add to those of the managers and coaches and represent roughly a quarter of the voting. The managers and coaches received the advanced statistical information for consultation along with their ballots.

Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.


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