I suppose the most accurate way to put it, is to say that four players that played for the Diamondbacks in 2019 won Gold Gloves tonight, when the winners were announced. Though in terms of actual playing time, pitchers Zack Greinke and Mike Leake should probably be combined as one, since the former left Arizona at the trade deadline, while the latter arrived. Though it is kinda cute to think of them both as Diamondbacks, not least because it sets up a potentially interesting trivia question down the road. Something like, “In 2019, which two pitchers played for the Diamondbacks and won both the National League and American League Gold Gloves?” But let’s start with the less contentious.
SS. Nick Ahmed
Yeah, this probably wasn’t much of a surprise. Ahmed, being the incumbent champion, always has an edge, and duly notched his second Gold Glove in a row. While it’s supposed to be a defensive award, his offensive improvement probably didn’t hurt him. But there’s no denying his sure-handed approach to one of the most difficult positions, and he led the majors leagues in a number of the metrics. In particular, his 2.6 defensive WAR was tied for the best in the majors this season, with Victor Robles of the Nationals and Roberto Perez of the Indians. It’s been a joy to watch him blossom, and as he enters his final year of arbitration eligibility, it’ll be interesting to see what the team does.
LF. David Peralta
There can’t be many Gold Gloves which have gone to failed pitchers who decided to try their hand in the outfield, as a last gasp at keeping their major-league aspirations alive. But, of course, that’s the Peralta story, going through independent ball to the minor leagues, and then one of the most beloved of current Diamondbacks. It’s a testament to Peralta’s work ethic that his defense, which has its issue in the early days, has now reached such a high level. His offense, which won him the Silver Slugger in 2018, may have taken a step back this year - his health could certainly have been better. But Peralta’s energy and hustle never takes a day off.
P. Zack Greinke
Ho-hum. Just another award for Zack, picking up his sixth in a row in the National League: the first two came as a Dodger, before notching four as a Diamondback. He showed why on the national stage, picking up five assists in Game 7 of the World Series, the most by a WS pitcher since Greg Maddux in 1996. Maddux took home thirteen consecutive Gold Gloves, but I wouldn’t bet against Zack extending the run as an Astro in 2020 and beyond. Despite being in the other league for the last two months of the season, Greinke was involved in a league-leading eight double plays this year. Indeed, that was the most by any NL pitcher since 2014. Which was also Greinke.
P. Mike Leake
Leake arrived in Arizona the same day that Greinke departed, so we never had them both on the same roster. Leake won the award for American League pitcher, taking the Gold Glove home for the first time. In his two months as a Diamondback, he played flawlessly with the glove, and notched a pair of double plays of his own - Greinke was the only Arizona pitcher with more than that.
There was, however, no joy for Christian Walker at first-base. Though the award there did not go to the man he replaced either, Paul Goldschmidt, with the NL Gold Glove at first base being award to the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo. Counting Greinke as a D-backs, but not Leake, the three awards this season means that Arizona have won 10 Gold Gloves since the start of 2015. That’s the most in the majors, one ahead of the Kansas City Royals. Congratulations to all the winners, and here’s to enjoying more defensive prowess from them in 2020.