From 2011 to 2015, the Orioles took home 12 Gold Glove Awards, with defense being their main weapon under manager Buck Showalter. Machado was up for his third Gold Glove in a four-year span while Davis was a finalist for just the second time.
The Gold Glove Awards are decided by two separate components: 75% of the vote is from voting by the managers and coaches (the managers are now allowed to vote for their own players). The other 25% is from sabermetrics; the sabermetric component was a new rule added to the voting process and has been in effect or the last four years.
Machado ranked third among third basemen in the SABR Defensive Index with 9.9. Adrian Beltre (14.6) and Kyle Seager (11.9) were ahead of him. Machado also led all third baseman in defensive WAR (2.2) and Major League Fielding Percentage (.979).
Davis ranked second behind Mitch Moreland in SABR Defensive Index. Davis was 4.3 and Moreland was 6.4. A factor in Davis not winning the Gold Glove was probably leading all first baseman in errors with 10.
A glaring omission from the Gold Glove Awards was shortstop J.J. Hardy. Hardy ranked second in SABR Defensive Index, his 11.9 rating only trailing Gold Glove Winner Francisco Lindor‘s 18.9. However, what could have factored in the decision was Machado playing shortstop for seven weeks after Hardy went on the disabled list.