The votes have all been counted, and Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs is your National League Gold Glove winner for second baseman! The outcome should not really come as a surprise, considering the year Barney had flashing the leather, tying the all-time record for consecutive games without an error at second base, tying Placido Polanco’s streak at 141 games. Barney was also able to put up a defensive WAR of 3.6, which is the highest Defensive WAR for a player at any position this season in the National League. His closest competitor for the coveted award was Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds, who many considered to be the favorite despite Barney tying the errorless streak record and putting up such a tremendous defensive WAR number, because of the many defensive web gems he made throughout the season.
Winning the Gold Glove award almost became a forgone conclusion after Barney was named the winner of the Fielding Bible’s best defender award for a second baseman. The Fielding Bible is a tremendous way to look at the defensive capabilities and value, which is run by John Dewan using the saber metric systems implemented by Bill James. While not an official award (much like the Sporting News having versions of a few awards) being recognized by statistical geniuses like Dewan and James speaks volumes as to how great of a season he had defensively.
Barney’s defensive excellence also led all of baseball in most defensive runs saved. Add that statistic to his defensive errorless streak and naming him the Gold Glove winner was a no brainer!
Even though the Cubs 2012 season was one of the worst in franchise history, Barney winning the Gold Glove award gives fans something to be proud of from the season most want to forget. While the award cannot make fans forget the 101 losses that were compiled, his capturing the award goes to show that there is always a silver lining no matter how dark the cloud.
Congratulations Barney, you stand at the top of the defensive mountain!