Cespedes played 99 games in left while spending most of the season with the Detroit Tigers before being dealt to the Mets at the trade deadline.
In 99 games as the Tigers left fielder, Cespedes totaled 204 putouts, nine assists and committed five errors for a .977 fielding percentage. To win a league fielding title, a player must play two-thirds of the season’s scheduled games (108) at the position. So Cespedes does not even qualify to win that honor, nor do his numbers even indicate he would be a finalist for that distinction. The fielding title was won by Brett Gardner of the Yankees, who played 119 errorless games in left for a perfect 1.000 percentage. The Gold Glove Award winner in left field in the A.L. the previous four seasons was Alex Gordon of the Royals, who also played errorless ball in his 101 games played. In fact, the last error Gordon committed was on Aug. 2, 2014, bringing his errorless streak to 154 games.
It’s not being said that Cespedes is a poor defensive player, but he is not in the class of Gordon or Gardner.
It seems the range factor—total number of putouts participated in, divide putouts and assists by number of innings or games played at the position—was a significant measure among the coaches and managers who voted for the award. Cespedes finished with a 2.15 range factor with the Tigers in his 99 games in left. Gardner had a considerably lower number at 1.55, but Gordon had an impressive 1.95. Some could argue that Gardner’s injury, that caused him to miss 58 games was an issue for him not winning his fifth consecutive Gold Glove, but then how do you explain he played more games at the position in the A.L. than Cespedes?
It’s almost as bad as when Rafael Palmeiro won a Gold Glove for his play at first base in 1999 when he appeared in only 28 games at the position.
Alex Gordon did not lose the award he’s owned for the last four seasons prior to 2015, he was stripped of it.