Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dustin Awarded Gold Glove

Dustin Pedroia won his first American League Gold Glove award today in what could also turn out to be an MVP season for the Red Sox second baseman. The award was the only Gold Glove given to a Sox player this season after Kevin Youkilis took one home for first base in 2007.
Last year, it was Rookie of the Year. This year, it’s a Gold Glove. Could MVP be next for Red Sox [team stats] second baseman Dustin Pedroia [stats]?

The annual award that honors the American League’s best defensive players was released today and Pedroia, already known for his bat, can now be proud of his glove. The second-year man brought home his first Gold Glove at second base.

Pedroia committed just six errors this season. His .992 fielding percentage was the second-best mark for second basemen, trailing only Oakland’s Mark Ellis’ .993.

This might be just the beginning of Pedroia’s posteason hardware haul, as the reigning Rookie of the Year is also an MVP favorite. Pedroia led the league in hits, runs and doubles, and his .326 batting average was second in the AL.

While Pedroia was duly recognized, Kevin Youkilis [stats] was passed over this year. Youkilis, who won the award at first base last year, was edged out by Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Pena. Youkilis remarkably didn’t commit an error at first last season, but he had four in 125 games this year. He also played a number of games at third base due to Mike Lowell’s injuries.
In addition to Pena and Pedroia, Texas shortstop Michael Young and Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer also were first-time winners. The outfield was a repeat from last season: Los Angeles’ Torii Hunter and Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki each won for the eighth straight year and Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore earned his second award.

New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina, coming off his first 20-win season, added to his accolades with his seventh Gold Glove. Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre won for the second straight year.

For Pena, who grew up in Haverhill, the announcement was another in a big year for the Rays first baseman. He starred with the bat, with 31 homers and 102 RBI in helping lead the surprising Rays to their first playoff spot. He also sparkled with the glove, making only two errors as Tampa Bay reached the World Series, where it lost to Philadelphia.

The 30-year-old Pena has shown improvement in the field, cutting down from 13 errors with Detroit in 2003. He made eight last year with the Rays.

Rawlings has presented Gold Gloves since 1957. Managers and coaches pick players in their own leagues near the end of the regular season, and can’t vote for someone on their team.

The Gold Gloves often raise the ire of many baseball fans. Critics claim the best fielders are overlooked in favor of more popular players, and further insist that better hitters get a break in the voting.

Hunter and Sizemore earned $100,000 bonuses in their contracts for winning Gold Gloves. Beltre and Suzuki got $50,000 each and Pena, Mauer and Young won $25,000 apiece. Mussina and Pedroia did not have Gold Glove clauses.

The NL Gold Gloves were announced Wednesday. Winners were pitcher Greg Maddux, catcher Yadier Molina, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, second baseman Brandon Phillips, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, third baseman David Wright and outfielders Nate McLouth, Carlos Beltran and Shane Victorino.

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