Nationals' Denard Span And Ian Desmond Named 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Finalists

Patrick Smith

Washington Nationals' center fielder Denard Span and Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond were both nominated as finalists for the Gold Glove at their respective positions this afternoon. The voting for 2013 Gold Glove awards is going to be a little different this season...

Rawlings, the glove-making company behind the much-maligned Gold Glove award, announced early in 2013 that they were teaming up with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to revamp the methods which are used to pick winners of the award. "The 2013 season marks the first season Rawlings formally incorporates sabermetrics as a component of the two Award platforms," a SABR press release reported.

"You're talking about a true defensive ballhawk center field type of guy with great range. Sabermetrically and with a scout's eye, he's a front line defensive center fielder. - Mike Rizzo on Nats' CF Denard Span

The SABR Defensive Index (SDI™), the release explained, "... draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball, location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts. The three metrics representing batted ball data include Defensive Runs Saved from Baseball Info Solutions, Ultimate Zone Rating developed by noted sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman, and Runs Effectively Defended built by SABR Defensive Committee member Chris Dial. The two metrics included in the SDI™ originating from play-by-play data are Defensive Regression Analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and Total Zone Rating."

A seven member panel was created and tasked with defining, "... a single measure of a player’s defensive performance that could be incorporated into the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process to complement the judgment of the managers and coaches, who continue to comprise a majority of the election system." The SDI™ will account for 30 votes, ".. or approximately 25 percent of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process," and be combined with the votes of managers and coaches who have traditionally chosen the winners.

Rawlings and Major League Baseball announced the 2013 nominees for the Gold Glove at each position this afternoon. Among those nominated were Washington Nationals' center fielder Denard Span and Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond. Desmond is up against Braves' shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Rockies' shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Span, the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen and the Brewers' Carlos Gomez were the National League center fielders named as finalists.

The winners will be named on Tuesday, October 29th at 7:00 PM.

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