Going For Gold: Gold Glove Edition
The starting infielders for the United States team look good both at the plate and with the glove. Joe Torre has definitely put an emphasis on being able to play defense and not just hit the long ball that a lot of managers get caught up in. Mark Teixeira is the teams starting 1st basemen, Brandon Philips is going to be the teams starting 2nd basemen, Jimmy Rollins will start at Shortstop and David Wright will get the job at 3rd base.
Teixeira is arguably the best defensive 1st basemen to have ever play the game. Teixeira has won 5 gold gloves and has a 99.7 fielding percentage. Wright will be the teams starting 3rd basemen and is a two time Gold Glover, which is the least out of the starting infielders. He owns a 95.3 fielding percentage and is a valuable asset to the team because he is another guy who was on the team 4 years ago. Teixeira is a 3 time Silver Slugger and holds a .279 batting average while averaging about 33 home runs per year. Wright, a two time Silver Slugger, is a career .300 hitter and averages about 22 home runs .
Philips is a 3 time National League Gold Glove winner at 2nd base. He has a 98.8 fielding percentage and is known as one of the top defensive 2nd basemen in the league. Rollins is a 4 time Gold Glove winner with a career fielding percentage of 98.3. This is one of the initial questions that I had with the team. Rollins is an aging star that has been a .270 career hitter. He is a speed guy and a lead off hitter which is a plus on this team but my originl thought was why not have Troy Tulowitzki who hits .290 with 20+ home runs and can probably play better defense than Rollins at this point in their careers. The more I thought about it though, Rollins makes more sense. He was there during the last WBC and he is one of the few guys in the starting lineup that is either a 1,2 or 9 hitter. Philips is a player who is more of a power guy with the bat but can also steal 20 bases a year. He is a career .273 hitter and has won a Silver Slugger in 2011.
The backups on this team are Willie Bloomquist and Ben Zobrist who are both very valuable players because of their defensive skills and their versatility. Both guys have played every defensive position in their careers besides catcher. Zobrist, Teixeira, and Rollins are all switch hitters and the rest are right handed hitters. I love this veteran infield and their defensive capabilities, especially the 2 backups whose career batting averages are .260 (Zobrist) and .269 (Bloomquist). They have a lot of power hitters and only one .300 hitter which makes me a little nervous because I am a small ball activist. 3 of their starting infielders are middle of the order hitters but I wouldn’t mind seeing a power hitter who can run being the number two hitter, like Phillips. I really like the defensive aspect of their players and I am curious to see what the lineup is going to look like without a few more 1, 2 or 9 hitters. I do trust Joe Torre and I like most of the thought processes he is going through. Up next, the American Outfielders.