Rawlings Gold Gloves: Mark Buehrle is Blue Jays only finalist


Every season is awarded annually to the top fielders at each position across Major League Baseball, as voted on by the managers and coaches in each league. On Thursday, the baseball sporting goods company out of St. Louis announced their 2014 finalists, and there was a familiar name on the list for fans of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Mark Buehrle is no stranger to the Gold Glove award, having four of them sitting in his trophy case at home, all won consecutively between 2009-2012. He also finished second in the balloting in 2013, falling just short of eventual winner, and teammate, R.A. Dickey.

Buehrle enjoyed a tremendous campaign in 2014 with the Blue Jays, winning 13 games while posting a a 3.39 ERA, his lowest in nearly nine seasons. Not too bad for a 15-year veteran with minuscule velocity that gets by on deception and change of speeds.

As per usual, his fielding was up to snuff as well, but all in all it was actually a down year for the lefty from a defensive perspective. His two defensive runs saved was his lowest since his rookie season of 2003 and 2014 registered the first season where Buehrle rated negative (-1) in rGFP (Good Fielding Plays runs saved above average). Additionally, Buehrle made his first error fielding a ball since 2007.

While those numbers aren’t necessarily bad, they will make it tough to justify a fifth gold glove in 2014. Buehrle actually stacks up nicely against Felix Hernandez (-2 DRS, 0 rGFP, 1 FE), the award will likely go to Houston Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel.

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Keuchel was outstanding as a fielder in 2014, rating 10 in terms of Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), 1 in Good Fielding Play Runs Saved Above Average (rGFP), 7 in Plus/Minus Runs Saved Above Average (rPM), and made just a single throwing error on the season.

Still, the votes are in the hands of the coaches and managers, which means it likely comes down to the eye test for most. Given how the voting has been over the last several seasons at multiple positions, the statistic weight of Keuchel’s season may not be enough to win him the award. In that case, Buehrle would have a chance.