Alfonso Soriano, Gold Glover?

Everyone has been focusing on Darwin Barney's record breaking errorless streak, but yesterday was the first that I had heard of Soriano's. He hasn't made a single error all season and even noted Soriano critic Bob Brenly has praised his defense this year. So does he really have a shot? The thing that helps him the most is that the GG rules have changed to be position specific, instead of simply being all outfielders. There are a lot of shitty LF out there. Here's the list of qualified candidates (CRUMMY METRIC ALERT: THIS IS SINGLE-SEASON DEFENSIVE DATA).

Player Errors UZR DRS
Adolfo 0 15.2 -2
Martin Prado 3 10.9 11
Ryan Braun 6 4.7 8
Matt Holliday 3 -0.8 0
Melky Cabrera 4 -1.9 -1
Jason Kubel 1 -2.8 -6
Ryan Ludwick 1 -4.4 -5
Carlos Gonzalez 4 -4.8 -11
J.D. Martinez 1 -5.4 -1

I'm kind of surprised to see so few errors all around, considering how lousy most left fielders are considered to be. Nearly all of Soriano's UZR number this year comes from his range (RngR), as opposed to the gaudy numbers he put up earlier in his his Cubs career with his arm.

So, how plausible could it be? Gold Glove voters are often hilariously wrong (see Jeter, Derek) and the lack of errors can help him with the crowd that also evaluate pitchers on W-L records. However, Jeter has a positive reputation, years of data be damned, whereas Soriano has always been smeared with the ZOMG LAZY brush. What about his competition?

Martin Prado is clearly the obvious choice over all these guys, except maybe Cabrera. But no one is going to vote for Cabrera this year for obvious reasons. Carlos Gonzalez is the only one on the list that has previously won the award, but he probably had a little help profile-wise with his hot year at the plate in 2010, which hasn't quite been the case this year. Braun has a similarly bad defensive rep and has still has the PED stink on him in the media, so he's out too. Last year's winner, Gerardo Parra, has lost most of his playing time to Kubel, who also had a lousy repuatation with the Twins. I don't think any of the other guys have a shot.

It's going to come down to Soriano vs Prado. If he keeps the errorless streak alive he should have a good chance with the voters. I don't think he'll win, but it's not as unthinkable as at first glance.

UPDATE: GW points out in the comments that Prado has moved back to 2b due to general uselessness from Dan Uggla, which could hurt his profile as a LF with the voters.


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