Orioles going for the gold

The Orioles may reveal the identity of their pitching coach later today. Or they may not.

I can offer you one certainty. The Orioles will find out how many of their six Gold Glove finalists are taking home the hardware. The winners will be announced on ESPN2 beginning at 8 p.m.

I also can offer you one piece of good news. SportsCenter will air before the Gold Glove show, which ensures that we won’t have to wait through four overtimes of a small-college football game. That’s intelligent programming right there.

I’m more excited about the “30 for 30” documentary on Jimmy Connors that will follow the broadcast, but I digress...

Here’s a list of the American League finalists:

Mark Buehrle Toronto Blue Jays
R.A. Dickey Toronto Blue Jays
Doug Fister Detroit Tigers

Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals
Matt Wieters Baltimore Orioles

First basemen
Chris Davis Baltimore Orioles
Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals
James Loney Tampa Bay Rays

Second basemen
Robinson Cano New York Yankees
Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox
Ben Zobrist Tampa Bay Rays

Third basemen
Adrian Beltre Texas Rangers
Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays
Manny Machado Baltimore Orioles

Alcides Escobar Kansas City Royals
Yunel Escobar Tampa Bay Rays
J.J. Hardy Baltimore Orioles

Left fielders
Yoenis Cespedes Oakland Athletics
Andy Dirks Detroit Tigers
Alex Gordon Kansas City Royals

Center fielders
Lorenzo Cain Kansas City Royals
Jacoby Ellsbury Boston Red Sox
Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles

Right fielders
Nick Markakis Baltimore Orioles
Josh Reddick Oakland Athletics
Shane Victorino Boston Red Sox

The Orioles have never won more than four Gold Gloves in a season. It happened in 1969, 1971, 1973, 1974 and 1975.

Keep in mind that the voting process this year has expanded beyond managers and coaches. The SABR Defensive Index will account for 25-to-30 percent of it, which includes defensive runs saved (DRS), ultimate zone rating (UZR) and total zone rating (TZ). The finalists will not, however, be judged by their vertical jumps or 40-yard dash times. And there’s no swimsuit competition.

I’m positive that Machado will finish ahead of Beltre and Longoria. The Orioles won’t be shut out. Book it.

Machado will be the first Orioles third baseman to take the award since Brooks Robinson in 1975.

I’d normally predict wins for Wieters and Hardy, as well, but I have my doubts now with this sabermetric component. Wieters grades poorly compared to the other two catchers, most notably with his -13 DRS. He’ll need strong support from managers and coaches.

I’m convinced that Ellsbury will be the Gold Glove center fielder, denying Jones a third award.

FanGraphs’ August Fagerstrom projects that Machado will be the lone Oriole to win a Gold Glove. You can read the article here.

On Wieters, Fagerstrom writes: “Wieters, despite being hated by DRS this year for some reason, was still the league’s best pitch-blocker and has a sound reputation for being a good defensive catcher and pitch-framer.”

On Machado, he writes: “This one was easy. It’s no secret that Manny Machado is incredible defensively, as his conversion from already Gold Glove-caliber shortstop to third base went even better than expected.”

I’m not the grizzled old man who resists these new-fangled defensive ratings and yells at kids to get off my lawn, but the system isn’t without its flaws. Otherwise, Mike Napoli wouldn’t grade out as the best defensive first baseman in the league.

Take a poll of managers and coaches and see how many rate him No. 1. He isn’t a finalist, so there’s no chance that he’ll win, but he’d take home the hardware if the voting were confined to the SABR Defensive Index.

In addition, Hardy would be excluded from Gold Glove consideration, replaced by former Orioles farmhand Pedro Florimon.

Show of hands if you’d rather have Florimon at shortstop than Hardy.

Fagerstrom writes: “J.J. Hardy was a fine choice by the MLB, as he has been one of the premier defenders at shortstop for nearly a decade, but the defensive talent pool at shortstop is deep, as always, and Hardy just missed the cut this year.”

Machado was the lone Oriole to win a Fielding Bible Award, per the Bill James Handbook 2014. Here’s the list, which names one winner at each position:

First Base - Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Second Base - Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
Third Base - Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
Shortstop - Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves
Left Field - Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
Center Field - Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers
Right Field - Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks
Catcher - Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
Pitcher - R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays

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