Vince Gennaro on the Gold Gloves and the SABR Defensive Index

Vince Gennaro, Director of the Master of Science in Sports Management program, was interviewed for an article on FiveThirtyEight about the use of metrics and the Gold Glove awards in baseball.

Gold Glove winners have always been selected by a vote by managers and coaches in each league. However, since 2013, a sabermetric component provided by Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) has helped determine the winners as well, accounting for at least 25 percent of the voting.

Vince Gennaro, also the president of SABR, explained the significance of this.

The article in FiveThirtyEight points out that in the past, Gold Glove winners rarely "matched the selections that would have been made using only defensive metrics." However, the advancement of data collecting and statistical tools has significantly improved over time. After the change in voting-policy in 2013, results showed that the saber metric component had even more influence on winners than what would be expected.

“We think it’s influenced the managers’ and coaches’ voting,” explained Gennaro, who is also a member of the SABR Defensive Index committee, which is in charge of calculating the statistical ranking. As the article goes on to explain, "on top of the SDI numbers’ algorithmic role in the voting process, Gennaro believes they have had a pronounced effect in combating incumbency bias and other reputation-based flaws in the human side of the voting. In other words, because they’re so widely available (they’re even listed on the ballots given to Gold Glove voters), the advanced metrics have also influenced the other 75 percent of the vote they don’t directly control.

Gennaro said, "Say you’ve got a guy who’s not a perennial Gold Glove guy, but he really caught your eye this year. Then you see he had 17 runs saved, versus a guy who won it last year at seven. I think it could be very much a validating thing, and it might tip you to make that vote."

Read the full article here, and find out more about our Sports Management Program