- Ben Jedlovec, ESPN Insider
If Ben Franklin were alive today, he would probably amend his famous quotation about life's certainties -- death and taxes -- to include Torii Hunter winning Gold Glove awards; he's currently sitting on nine consecutive.
His awards started with the Minnesota Twins and have carried over to the Los Angeles Angels -- but honestly, his defensive numbers began trailing off before he went west. According to Baseball Info Solutions' runs saved data (which goes back through 2003), Hunter was originally worth every bit of his reputation as an elite defender. However, while he's continued to steal home runs from opposing batters, he never had a great arm to begin with and his plus/minus scores have gradually diminished toward the league average: In 2008, he had a negative (minus-2) plus/minus score; so far this season it's hovering around zero.
You can find more information about both runs saved and plus/minus by going here.
It's clear that Torii Hunter is no longer the elite fielder that earned him the Gold Glove reputation, and it's only a matter of time before younger outfielders, such as Franklin Gutierrez and Austin Jackson, push Hunter off the Gold Glove throne.
The Angels organization -- one of the smarter in baseball -- seem to know that their Gold Glover wouldn't last forever in center. With Peter Bourjos blazing through the farm system, the Angels convinced Hunter to shift to right field to make room for the speedy 23-year-old center fielder in the Los Angeles outfield.
It's been good so far: in just more than 110 innings in center, Bourjos has accumulated five runs saved already. While small sample size warnings are blasting at full volume, these early returns are obviously good.
As for Hunter, was moving to the right side the, well, right idea?
Torii Hunter, he of nine straight Gold Gloves in CF, is now playing RF. According to Baseball Info Solutions, he was moved the wrong way -- he should be playing LF, and Bobby Abreu should be in right. A team that can learn from all this? The Mets.