But in this, his third full year as a major league third baseman, Kouzmanoff has a chance to set a record for fielding percentage. As the Padres begin a series in Atlanta tonight, Kouzmanoff has just three errors for the season, for a .989 fielding percentage in 274 chances. Check out the list of the top NL fielding percentages of all time for a third baseman:This is where I would normally rant that fielding percentage is a dinosaur stat and that Zimmerman tops the NL third base leaderboards for whizbang stats like UZR and plus/minus by a mile.
- Kevin Kouzmanoff (.989 in 2009)
- Vinny Castilla (.987 in 2004)
- Gary Gaetti (.983 in 1998)
- Mike Lowell (.983 in 2005)
No National League third baseman has committed fewer than six errors in a season in which they had at least 300 total chances.
But none of that matters. The only thing that matters is the opinions of the managers and coaches who vote for the awards. The Gold Glove is a reputation game. The fielder with the best chance of winning at a given position is the same guy who won it the year before. If not him, then just look for a player on one of the coasts who hits and doesn't embarrass himself in the field.
I'm guessing David Wright isn't going to win the Gold Glove this year. But that doesn't mean it's going to fall into Zimmerman's lap. He may have a reputation as a good fielder and he may be hitting this year, but Zimmerman still plays on a backwater last-place team.
The Nationals' media relations staff needs to work the press and the voters to create buzz that Ryan Zimmerman winning the Gold Glove is almost a fait accompli. One of those pro-Kouzmanoff articles provides a pretty good template for how it's done: push your story on local media, ESPN, MLB Network, national baseball writers, and the voters. Maybe even send out a "For Your Consideration" DVD like movie studios do for Oscar voters.
Not all the responsibility for making Zimmerman's case lies with the team. His agent, Brodie Van Wagenen at CAA, also needs to get out there and sell his client. And of course, Zimmerman needs to keep making highlight-reel plays.
As things stand today, Zimmerman should be the consensus Gold Glover and Kouzmanoff shouldn't even be in the conversation. And if you think I'm a just a biased Nats fan, take it from these guys.