Neyer: Here are your early Gold Glove leaders

From SABR member Rob Neyer at on September 15, 2014:

After years and years of opaque voting and occasionally farcical results, last year Rawlings improved the Gold Glove process immensely by introducing a sophisticated statistical component, ministered by SABR, which now accounts for roughly 25 percent of the balloting. It’s called the SDI (yes, unfortunately) and actually incorporates five different methods based on both batted-ball, location-based data and that from play-by-play accounts. Maybe it should be four methods or maybe it should be six. The point is that if you use enough of them, you’re usually going to arrive at reasonable results. Monday, SABR released the last update of the season:

Donaldson’s SDI of 20.2 is the top figure in the AL, ahead of Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager (17.7), Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon (16.2), and a pair of Boston teammates: second baseman Dustin Pedroia (12.9) and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (10.4).

Heyward’s SDI of 27.2 through September 7 is the best in the game among all qualified defenders. The top five NL players as ranked by SDI, after Heyward, are: New York center fielder Juan Lagares (17.9), Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart (14.2), Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado (11.2) and Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton (11.2).

Just missing from the National League’s top five? Andrelton Simmons (10.2), who ranks behind not only Cozart but also Jhonny Peralta. Should we thus assume that Simmons, who’s been OFF THE CHARTS in each of the last two seasons, has somehow become the third-best shortstop in the National League.

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Originally published: September 15, 2014. Last Updated: September 15, 2014.