Crede Best Defensive American League 3B?

When the Twins signed Crede in the spring of 2009, they hoped and expected Crede to provide some power to the middle of the order and flawless defense at 3B.  Well, despite a low average and OBP, Crede has helped the Twins lineup with 14 HR and 40 RBI, but how has his defense been?

Joe Crede leads the american league in FPCT and errors (not made).  However, while these are not stats that many put much faith in, they are a stat which tell a great deal about Crede's value.  However, a newer stat, one now used by the voters in determining the ultimate winner of the Gold Glove, has come out.  The UZR, Ultimate Zone Rating, a method of determining a players arm and range, ranks Crede at the top of the league among all 3B.

Crede has been very valuable to this team, not only because he has provided some power at 3B (something lacking in the Twins lineup since the days of Corey Koskie), but because he has been golden at 3B (possibly a career year at 3B).

The UZR/150 is the average number of runs saved over the course of 150 defensive games.  As can be seen, Crede sits between 25-30 runs saved per 150 defensive games.  The next highest run saver, Adrian Beltre, is between 15-20 runs saved per 150 games.  Thus, Crede saves about 10 runs more per 150 games than Beltre, one of the premier defensive 3B in baseball. Uzr_medium


This raises the question:  Are we, as bloggers, taking Crede's defense for granted?  Do we realize just how valuable Joe Crede is to this team?

In conclusion, Crede has benefited this team in so many ways:

  1. Crede has provided power in 14 HR to the middle-bottom of the order...
  2. Crede has the highest fielding percentage in the american league (.985) with only 3 errors committed.
  3. Crede ranks at the top of all third baseman in UZR and UZR/150 saving an average of 25-30 runs

Should Crede win a Gold Glove in 2009? 

In my opinion, yes, hands down.  Unfortunately, the writers who vote for the Gold Glove, do not vote for the best defensive player in baseball, as it should be, but the best overall (fielding and hitting: OBP, SLG, AVG) player in baseball at their respective positions.  This would explain why Castillo was never awarded a Gold Glove while with the Twins, despite being the best defensive second baseman in the american league.  This would explain why Morneau has not won a Gold Glove, though he has won silver sluggers and an MVP award.  This would explain why Mauer lost out on the Gold Glove for Pudge Rodriguez, despite Mauer being the better defender.  The Gold Glove voters are biased, as are the All-Star voters.  This would also explain why Carlos Gomez did not win a Gold Glove last year, despite being the best defensive CF in the Major League Baseball - along with Grady Sizemore.

*My thanks to Twins Territory who inspired me with this story.  He wrote up his own version, which can be viewed here.

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