In his first year as a big-leaguer, Brendan Donovan on Tuesday was awarded the utility Gold Glove in the first year that the award has been handed out.
The rookie Donovan was a finalist for the award with teammate and former Gold Glove winner Tommy Edman and Arizona’s Daulton Varsho.
“Honestly, it's crazy,” Donovan said during a Tuesday night phone interview. “Me, in the first year winning the utility Gold Glove, it's just — what an honor.”
After he was brought up from the minors near the end of April, Donovan received playing time at first, second and third base, along with time in left and right field. The majority of his playing time came as a second baseman where he posted a 1.000 fielding percentage.
Donovan committed just seven errors in 395 total chances. His plus-eight defensive runs saved as a third baseman were tied for the sixth most in all of MLB.
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Donovan, 25, is the first player in Cardinals franchise history to win a Gold Glove in his rookie season. That was news to him.
“I mean, the organization is full of such rich history," he said. "I figured someone would have done it. But to have that, honestly, is pretty special.”
The last National League player to become a Gold Glove winner in his rookie season is Donovan’s teammate Nolan Arenado, who continued his reign as the top defensive third baseman in his league.
For the 10th time in his 10-year MLB career, Arenado was awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove for National League third baseman. The Cardinals third baseman took home the award over Pittsburgh’s Ke’Bryan Hayes and Colorado’s Ryan McMahon.
Arenado’s plus-19 defensive runs saved were the fourth-most in all of MLB and second-most among all third basemen. Hayes led the league with 24-plus, according to FanGraphs.
Arenado also had 15 outs above average, which were three behind Hayes, while leading major-league third basemen in double plays turned with 42 and total zone runs with plus-15, which Baseball-Reference explains measures the “numbers of runs above or below average that a player was worth based on their number of plays made.”
The award has belonged to Arenado, 31, in every season since he made his debut in 2013 as a member of the Colorado Rockies.
He is the 17th player to win at least 10 Gold Gloves and the first infielder since Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith to win 10 or more consecutively. Smith won 13 consecutive at shortstop.
Arenado also tied Philadelphia's Mike Schmidt for the second-most all-time among third baseman. The record holder for most Gold Gloves by a third baseman is Brooks Robinson, who won the award in 16 consecutive seasons.
Along with the Rawlings Gold Glove, Arenado won the Fielding Bible award for the best defensive third baseman in Major League Baseball. The Fielding Bible award was Arenado’s fifth in his career and made him the first Cardinals third baseman to win it.
Donovan and Arenado’s Gold Gloves give the Cardinals an MLB-leading 99 Rawlings Gold Glove selections since 1957 — the year the award was originated by the St. Louis-based company.
This year, with two Cardinals taking home the award, was the 32nd time that St. Louis had multiple Gold Glove award winners in the same season, the team announced in a press release.
“When I go to the field every day, it's like there's no telling when I'm going to see because I'm surrounded by so many great players that are so good at what they do,” Donovan said. “And it's a privilege that I could just sit there and I get to watch and I get to study their routines and how they play the game and, hopefully, take little things away and add it to my game. Obviously watching Arenado do what he does is pretty incredible.”
By winning individual Gold Gloves, both Arenado and Donovan are eligible to be voted for the Platinum Glove, which is given to the best defensive player in each league. Arenado has won the Platinum Glove five times with each of them coming over the last five years.
The fifth Gold Glove of his career will have to wait for the Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt as Arizona’s Christian Walker took home the award for 2022. Goldschmidt and Walker were finalists alongside Atlanta’s Matt Olson. Walker led all MLB first baseman with 14 outs above average.
At second base, Colorado's Brendan Rodgers took home the award over Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman and San Diego's Jake Cronenworth. Edman was seeking his second career Gold Glove after having won it as a second baseman in 2021.
Edman did win the Fielding Bible award as a utility player after he ended the year with plus-19 defensive runs saved, third most among second baseman.
Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto won the second Gold Glove of his career. At shortstop, Atlanta's Dansby Swanson was awarded his first Gold Glove.
In the American League, Houston’s Kyle Tucker was named a Gold Glover as a right fielder — the first of his career — while his teammate and rookie Jeremy Pena won the award as a shortstop. Pena was the first rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove.
Pena said he “was in shock” when he learned that he was the first shortstop rookie to win the award.
“I felt like this year we got a lot of good work done,” Pena told reporters prior to Game 3 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park. “(Bench coach) Joe Espada, (first base coach) Omar Lopez, they knew exactly what I had to work on to become a better defender… We stuck with it all year.”
Baltimore’s Ramon Urias — a former Cardinals minor-leaguer who was designated for assignment in 2020 before being claimed on waivers by the Orioles — won the Gold Glove for AL third basemen. It was the first of Urias’ career.
Around the rest of the infield in the American League, Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Yankees catcher Jose Trevino, and Guardians second baseman Andres Gimenez were named winners at their respective positions.
Gimenez was one of four Guardians to win a Gold Glove in the American League. Right-handed pitcher Shane Bieber, center fielder Myles Straw, and left fielder Steven Kwan all became first-time winners.
New York's DJ LeMahieu was the AL's utility winner.
Elsewhere in the National League, Chicago left fielder Ian Happ, San Diego center fielder Trent Grisham, and Los Angeles right fielder Mookie Betts were winners at their respective positions. Atlanta left-hander Max Fried won the award for NL pitchers.