"I think the first one and this one probably mean a little bit more than the middle two," Buehrle said. "This is one award that I've always wanted to win. Ever since I made it to the big leagues, I've always taken pride to field my position."
This is Buehrle's fourth consecutive Gold Glove award win, but the first that he has won under a National League banner. He won three with the Chicago White Sox from 2009 to 2011, but he was well-recognized as an elite defensive pitcher a long time before then.
Indeed, long before Buehrle was a Gold Glover at his position, he was picking off and holding baserunners at an elite level. Since 1992, Buehrle trails only Andy Pettitte and his legendary pickoff move in pickoffs. Buehrle's 87 pickoffs trail Pettitte by 10, but lead the next active pitcher (reliever Jamey Wright) by 30. The next 14 pitchers after Buehrle on that list started their careers before 2000, Buehrle's first season in the majors. The next pitcher who even started his career after 2000 is Clayton Kershaw, who trails Buehrle by 50 pickoffs.
Buehrle has always rated very highly in the Defensive Runs Saved system created by John Dewan of Baseball Info Solutions. Under DRS measurements, which includes credit for holding baserunners beyond pickoffs (a dubious measurement, in my viewpoint), Buehrle put up 12 runs above average in 2012. His performance according to that measure led the major leagues. In fact, since 2009, Buehrle leads all major league pitchers in DRS, and while the supposed impact of his defense as measured by the stat is questionable, the fact that he is at the top of the leaderboard is more than plausible.
The eyes and statistics support yet another Gold Glove season for Buehrle, so congratulations to Buehrle and the Marlins on the award! To top it off, here are some highlights of Buehrle at his defensive finest in 2012.