Despite missing the final month of the season with a torn ligament in his
left thumb, Orlando Hudson won his second consecutive Gold Glove Award with the
Arizona Diamondbacks and third overall. While O-Dog probably deserved two
American League Gold Glove Awards that he did not win, he likely wasn't the best
choice here in 2007.
Hudson finished 9th out of 12 qualifying NL second basemen in Revised Zone
Rating, which calculates the percentage of plays that a second baseman makes in
his area of responsibility. He did lead the NL in outs made outside that
area of responsibility, however, edging Florida's Dan Uggla 58 to 55.
Using more conventional metrics, Hudson was 5th in fielding percentage, 6th
in putouts, 3rd in assists, 2nd in double plays started, and 5th in double plays
turned. There is every indication both statistically and empirically that
Hudson is still an elite fielding second baseman, but he simply did not have the
best defensive season for a National League second baseman.
Hudson likely won the award partly on name recognition, as a player is more
likely to win a Gold Glove Award when he has won one in the past. Hudson
was also among the league's better offensive second baseman, and the
unquestioned team leader of a young Arizona Diamondbacks team that had the best
record in the NL.
The Arizona staff also had the fourth best ERA in the league despite playing
in a hitter's ballpark. Team defense undoubtedly played a large part of
that, as the Diamondbacks staff was just 9th in team strikeouts.
This is by no means a travesty. Orlando Hudson is still one of the top
defensive second basemen around. But Chase Utley and Brandon Phillips at
least have the right to feel overlooked for this award.
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