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Josh Donaldson had the sabermetrics data in his corner, but it didn’t result in a Gold Glove award for the A’s third baseman.
The Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Seager beat out Donaldson and the Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre in the voting for the best defensive third baseman in the American League. It was Donaldson’s first time as a Gold Glove finalist, and he was vying to become Oakland’s first Glove Glove winner since right fielder Josh Reddick took home the award in 2012.
Managers and coaches’ voting accounts for 75 percent of the selection process, and it’s likely that those casting votes couldn’t look past Donaldson’s high error total in choosing who to go with. His 23 errors in the regular season were the most among all A.L. position players, though a rash of those errors came early in the season and Donaldson got stronger defensively as the season went on.
The Sabr Defensive Index – a combination of sabermetric defensive stats that accounts for 25 percent of the Gold Glove selection process -- certainly pointed toward Donaldson having a shot at the award. The SDI takes into account a number of different statistical categories -- Defensive Runs Saved, Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Regression Analysis among them.
Some recent SDI rankings from September listed Donaldson with an SDI of 20.2, which was tops among all A.L. players at the time.
Yoenis Cespedes, traded from the A’s to the Red Sox in July for Jon Lester, was beaten out by the Royals’ Alex Gordon for the Gold Glove in left field.