A's Reddick awarded Gold Glove

A's Reddick awarded Gold Glove
October 31, 2012, 1:00 am
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OAKLAND -- Gold Glove voting is an imperfect science. The Major League managers and coaches who vote on the award don't often take the time to look at all the newfangled defensive metrics and statistics. It is an award commonly given based on reputation, and intangibles. Sometimes one highlight reel catch or play that is replayed over and over ad nauseam is enough to stick in the minds of the voters.Fortunately, for Josh Reddick, he made full-extension diving catches, full-speed sliding snags, crashed into walls with the reckless abandon of a Lucha Libre wrestler, and backed it all up with a high-caliber howitzer for an arm that delivered baseballs with laser precision all season long. Reddick is the 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove winner among American League right fielders. He becomes the first Oakland Athletics player to win the award since Eric Chavez in 2006. He beat out Royals right fielder Jeff Francouer, and Indians' right fielder Shin-Soo Choo for the honor. He didn't give them much of a choice. Francouer may have led all Major League outfielders with 19 assists -- Reddick had 15 -- but he never scaled a wall like Spider-Man to make a catch like Reddick did on July 25, in Toronto. He never knocked himself silly making a game-ending grab like Reddick did when he caught a ball against the Orioles July 27, in Camden Yards. Reddick led all American League right fielders with a 17.7 UZR, a stat that measures defensive range.He did it because he takes a WWE approach to defense. He will catch the ball by any means necessary, or get hurt trying. "It doesn't matter if there's a brick wall or a padded wall there," Reddick told me on September 12 in Anaheim. "As long as I catch it then it doesn't matter how much pain I'm going through."Reddick's 15 outfield assists tied him for third most in a single season in Oakland history, and ranked third in the AL. It may be called the 'Rawlings Gold Glove', but his golden arm was a huge weapon for the A's. To Reddick's disappointment, the league began to take notice of how deadly accurate and quick his right field rifle was, and they stopped running on him. That's why stats don't tell the whole story when it comes to defense. Reddick committed five errors in right field, more than Choo (2), and Francouer (4), and his .983 fielding percentage also ranked him below Choo (.993) and Francouer (.985). The fact that Reddick beat out the other two finalists shouldn't come as a huge surprise, though. Well before voting began Reddick had a groundswell of support. "I've said he is playing Gold Glove right field and he has all year," A's manager Bob Melvin told me back in September. "It's what we've seen all year," starting pitcher Tommy Milone said earlier this year. "He hustles to anything that's close to him. He lays out, gives it his full effort and usually he'll come up with the ball."Reddick's efforts meant a whole lot to a team that at times had five rookies in the starting rotation. Their faith in him to get to balls in right field helped them stay at ease and gave them the confidence to pitch to contact. His teammates often raved about how his defense remained consistent all season long no matter what was ailing him. Sometimes when a player goes into a slump they can take their troubles out onto the field as well. Reddick never did that, even when he was in his worst rut at the plate. There's a running joke that the best offensive player by position often gets the award. Reddick certainly didn't hurt his case with a career-high and AL-leading 32 home runs by a right fielder. He may not have gotten the World Series trophy he wanted, but this hardware will look pretty nifty on his mantle nonetheless. Reddick now gets to go to a Rawlings Gold Glove ceremony on November 9 in New York to pick up his award. The event will be hosted by Joe Piscopo and Jerry Seinfeld will be providing the entertainment for the evening. Not bad for a kid that came out of nowhere to emerge as one of the most talented players in the game. Also, if you don't think gold is enough for the A's right fielder, you can go to Rawlings.com to vote on a Rawlings Platinum Glove award that will be given to one of the Gold Glove winners.Brandon Inge won't be in the running. He was named a finalist for the Gold Glove at third base, but was beat out by Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre. It is the fourth time Beltre has won the award. Inge had an excellent defensive season at the hot corner, but he only played 76 games at third base. In a game on August 11, Inge made a diving attempt for a foul ball and dislocated his right shoulder. He popped it back in place and drove in the go-ahead run later in the game. That shoulder injury ended up ending his season. Inge is now a free agent.

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