The 2019 Gold Glove award winners were announced on Sunday, and the list includes two Oakland A’s. For the second straight year, third baseman Matt Chapman and first baseman Matt Olson earned the defensive hardware.
The A’s corner infield has wasted no time making a name for itself. Chapman and Olson each played their first full season in the majors in 2018, and they won the Gold Gloves at the end of that summer. Now they’ve repeated, earning their second nod in as many years.
Here’s the full AL lineup for 2019; click here to see the NL crew:
- P: Mike Leake
- C: Roberto Perez
- 1B: Matt Olson
- 2B: Yolmer Sanchez
- SS: Francisco Lindor
- 3B: Matt Chapman
- LF: Alex Gordon
- CF: Kevin Kiermaier
- RF: Mookie Betts
Two other A’s were named as finalists for Gold Gloves but fell short in the end. Marcus Semien was in the running for shortstop (for the second year in a row), and Robbie Grossman in left field.
But no one else could beat Olson and Chapman, who have already cemented themselves as the best corner infield defenders in the sport. In addition to these Gold Gloves, they both won Fielding Bible awards last week, also for the second straight year.
Despite missing a month to an injury in 2019, Olson led all MLB first baseman in every major defensive metric, including Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA), and SABR’s Defensive Index (SDI). The eyeball test supports those grades, from his low rate of mistakes to his high rate of impressive highlights. Whether digging a tough throw from his teammates, making a strong throw of his own that no other 1B could make, or ranging out far for a grounder or popup, Olson is the best in the business by a wide margin.
'Cause I got the crazy game and yo, I'm smooth like butter pic.twitter.com/QuBq2qMV4Q— Oakland A's (@Athletics) November 4, 2019
Chapman’s case is even stronger. Whereas Olson is easily the best at his own position, Chapman is arguably the top defender at any position. Last year he won every major award that exists, including the Platinum Glove, and this summer he led the entire sport in UZR and led the entire AL in SDI. He’s already a legend at the hot corner, and you can vote for him for another Platinum Glove from now through Thursday, as the best overall defender anywhere in the AL.
Even when you bunt away from Chappy, Chappy finds a way. pic.twitter.com/Cd66v1uQa6— Oakland A's (@Athletics) November 4, 2019
Here’s the all-time list of Oakland A’s Gold Glove winners:
- Joe Rudi, OF: 1974-76
- Dwayne Murphy, OF: 1980-85
- Mike Norris, P: 1980-81
- Rickey Henderson, OF: 1981
- Alfredo Griffin, SS: 1985
- Mark McGwire, 1B: 1990
- Eric Chavez, 3B: 2001-06
- Josh Reddick, RF: 2012
- Matt Olson, 1B: 2018-19
- Matt Chapman, 3B: 2018-19
As for this year’s non-A’s winners, Gordon led the way with his seventh overall and third in a row. Betts won his fourth in a row, Kiermaier his third overall, and Lindor his second, with everyone else being a first-time recipient. Over in the NL, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado won his seventh straight award.
While the Gold Gloves have taken a lot of criticism over time, this year’s picks were some of the best we’ve seen. Every Fielding Bible winner also got his respective Gold Glove, and there were no major snubs of any kind. Surely arguments could be made here and there on the margins, but every winner was deserving and there were no outright head-scratchers nor obvious mistakes. Well done by Rawlings and the voters.
Congrats to Chapman and Olson on their second Gold Glove awards! May there be many more to follow.
Next up on the defensive award docket: Wilson Defensive Player of the Year (Wed), and Platinum Glove (Fri), both of which Chapman won last year.