I am a strong believer in strong defensive play in baseball. With good pitching even an average team can win many games. As we have seen in the World Series defensive blunders have cost both teams.
This week nominees for the major league Gold Glove awards were announced and no Phillies were nominated. This reflects the poor defensive team that was put on the field game after game this season. However, Baseball Betsy and I were fortunate to watch the best defensive second baseman in all of baseball this summer play in the Florida State League with the Clearwater Threshers, Carlos Alonso.
It was unfortunate Carlos did not get a chance to move up in the Phillies organization because he deserved it. His play at second and his ability to get on base are of major league caliber right now.
Because of the play of Alonso, the Phillies organization did have one gold glove recipient. He was one of nine Minor League Baseball players chosen as a winner of a 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award® for defensive excellence at their position.
Carlos committed the fewest errors and had the highest fielding percent of any second baseman in baseball in 2013 committing only two errors in 539 chances for a .996 fielding percent. He also led the FSL in turning double plays with 75. The Cubs Darwin Barney led major league baseball in defense at second base with the fewest errors, four in 603 chances for a .993 fielding percent.
For comparison sake, Chase Utley committed the most errors in MLB at second base in 2013, 17 in 581 chances for a .971 fielding percent and was rewarded with a new contract by the Phillies Front Office. Apparently they do not put as much emphasis on defense as I do.
At the bat Alonso wound up hitting .260. He was fifth in the Florida State League in both walks and runs scored. He was 12th in the league in On Base Percent. Certainly good “money ball” stats. But apparently not what the Phillies want in a player at second base.
Alonso reminds me in size and demeanor of a great Yankee second baseman of my youth, Bobby Richardson, who was a high character guy who could play second base with the best of them and occasionally hit one out of the park. I do recall a Carlos home run that he lined into the Tiki Bar in left at Brighthouse Field on a hot, muggy mid-week summer afternoon this season. A friend of ours was sitting at the Tiki Bar with an adult beverage wisely avoiding the heat at the time and retrieved the home run ball which Carlos graciously signed after the game.
To me Carlos was a magician at second all season turning two, diving for ground balls, making strong accurate throws and especially going into shallow right running down pop fly balls. His first error of the season was on a hard hit ball that got by him on an in between hop that bounced over his shoulder into right field. A marginal error at best off the hard infield dirt at Brighthouse.
It may take another MLB organization to give Carlos Alonso a chance to play in the major leagues someday. Because after two years with the Clearwater Threshers the Phillies have shown no interest in moving him up AA or AAA. He has proven to me he is ready right now to play in the major leagues.
And yes, the Phillies organization did have a player that won a Gold Glove in 2013!