Believe me when I say Alfonso Soriano should win a Gold Glove this season.
It’s hard to fathom considering Soriano’s reputation for poor defense, but statistically he’s well within the running, if not leading the way for the award.
Only three National League left fielders have started more games than Soriano (117) this season: Matt Holliday (128), Ryan Braun (123) & Carlos Gonzalez (119).
Braun, however, is the only player to have more Total Chances (+33), Putouts (+30) and a higher Range Factor (1.97) than Soriano (1.82).
Arizona’s Jason Kubel does hold an edge in outfield Assists (11) to Soriano’s (9), but it’s Alfonso who has helped turn more Double Plays (4) than any of his competition.
Oh yeah, Soriano also remains the lone player yet to commit an error.
WILL VOTERS RECOGNIZE SORIANO?
Whereas I doubt the manager and coaches (who vote on the award) are willing to favor Braun since he sidestepped his steroids suspension, Kubel appears Soriano’s best competition.
Car-Go, meanwhile, has been splendid roaming one of the largest outfields in baseball at Coors Field, and Martin Prado remains a dark horse candidate in Atlanta. But neither has separated themselves ahead of Soriano.
Perhaps the best news for Soriano, knowing how much the managers and coaches enjoy sticking with past winners, is that reigning Gold Glover, Gerardo Parra, is all but eliminated since being demoted to a fourth outfield option (behind Kubel, nonetheless) for Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks.
WHY SORIANO’S MOST DESERVING
It can’t be ignored Soriano’s range is limited by his bum legs, even playing in Wrigley’s small outfield. But unlike years past, Soriano has shown a willingness to rub shoulders with the ivy covered brick wall and run hard to field balls hit into the corner–in addition to making all the routine plays.
There are, unquestionably, better athletes manning left field in the National League who field the position with more pizzazz and more style points than Soriano earns, but that doesn’t necessarily make them more worthy of the Gold Glove, either.
And if you’re someone who believes the bat plays just as an important factor as the fielding statistics in winning the Gold Glove, Soriano has that wrapped up, too.
That’s why I’m convinced it’s Soriano’s Gold Glove to lose over the final five weeks of the regular season. Just talking about it seems weird enough, but imagine if he wins…
That means it’s entirely possible the Cubs would field two Gold Glove Award winners (Soriano/Barney) on a team with, or near, 100-losses. I wonder if that’s ever happened before?
Minutia aside, don’t be caught by surprise if Soriano wins gold. He’s played his tail off this season while reaching a level defensively most of us thought he wasn’t capable of or willing to achieve.
It probably won’t be any easier to comprehend if a Gold Glove does come Soriano’s way, but there’s no denying he’s earned the honor–as head-shaking and unbelievable as it will be.