Commentary

Big D: Why Young's shift makes sense

Originally Published: January 20, 2009
By Matt Meyers | ESPN The Magazine
You can probably understand Michael Young's shock when the Rangers asked him -- the 2008 Gold Glove winner at shortstop -- to move to third base next season. He'd just won an award supposedly given to the best defensive player at each position, and he expressed his outrage at the request by initially asking for a trade.

Now cooler heads have apparently prevailed and he has said he will make the move, but it still doesn't explain why the Rangers would make such a request.

Whether or not you study advanced fielding metrics (and I'm guessing Young does not), it's clear that Gold Gloves are by no means a scientific process. They are voted on by managers and coaches, and evaluating the defense of individuals on the opposition is probably one of the last things on their minds over the course of the season. As a result, you end up with goofy results, the most famous example being the Rangers' Rafael Palmeiro winning the 1999 Gold Glove at first base, even though he appeared in just 28 games at first base while serving as designated hitter in 135.

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