Crawford named Giants' top defender

Crawford named Giants' top defender

Crawford named Giants' top defender

SAN FRANCISCO -- Shortstop Brandon Crawford was recognized for his vast range, strong arm and deft reflexes by being named the Giants' top defender in the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award.

This is the inaugural year of the honor, which was distributed to winners based on the detailed statistical analysis of MLB Network's "shredder system" used by Clubhouse Confidential. Input from MLB Network analysts also was considered. Wilson Sporting Goods has been the official glove of Major League Baseball for more than 20 years.

Crawford, 25, started 122 games in his first full season as San Francisco's primary shortstop. He accumulated 18 errors, the second-highest total among National League shortstops, but that figure was somewhat deceiving, as he committed 12 in his first 59 games before tightening things up in the second half.

Crawford maintained that improvement in the postseason, committing one error in 65 chances spanning 16 games. The Giants' march to their second World Series triumph in three seasons was partly attributed to the defensive excellence sustained by Crawford and others.

"I think it says a lot about our team athleticism, with [Gregor] Blanco and [Angel] Pagan and Hunter [Pence] out in the outfield making sliding or diving catches it seems like every game, and then me and Marco [Scutaro] making some plays up the middle," said Crawford, who was beaten out for a Rawlings Gold Glove Award by Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins. "It seems like we kind of stop rallies from starting."

Crawford also became the fifth-youngest player in franchise history to start in the postseason at shortstop, behind Travis Jackson (age 20, 1924), Chris Speier (21, 1971), Tillie Shafer (23, 1912) and Matt Williams (23, 1989).

Several Giants likely will be contenders when MLB.com hands out the 2012 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, which are based on voting by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni and the Society for American Baseball Research, as well as fan balloting on MLB.com. The annual honor will feature nominees in 21 categories, including MVP, best starting pitcher, best hitter, best closer, best setup man, best rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, best defensive player, top manager, top executive and best postseason performer.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.