The Orioles are coming off a 2013 season during which they excelled defensively, and people have taken notice.
Six Orioles players were named finalists for American League Gold Glove awards Oct. 25: catcher Matt Wieters, first baseman Chris Davis, third baseman Manny Machado, shortstop J.J. Hardy, and outfielders Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. Each position includes three finalists.
The 2013 Orioles set several major league records by traditional defensive metrics, committing 54 errors and recording 119 errorless games while amassing a .991 fielding percentage. Although errors and fielding percentage aren't necessarily the best measure of defensive value, the O's also earned favorable marks by more advanced defensive metrics. That's promising, because this year's Gold Glove balloting will include 30 votes from the sabermetrically inclined SABR Defensive Index in addition to the usual managers and coaches.
The O's lead the major leagues with six finalists, representing every position except second base, left field and pitcher.
Wieters and Jones are already two-time Gold Glove winners, while Hardy and Markakis have each won once. Wieters, Jones and Hardy all won last season. Wieters and Markakis won in 2011, and Jones won in 2009.
Davis and Machado are nominated for the first time, and Orioles fans would likely consider it an upset if Machado didn't win after his sensational defensive season. Machado likely has the best chance of winning among all the Orioles' representatives.
The winners will be announced Oct. 29.