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The Athletic: All 5 D-backs Gold Glove finalists should win, per numbers

Nick Ahmed #13 of the Arizona Diamondbacks makes a diving stop on a ground ball against the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Chase Field on July 31, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Diamondbacks had five players from this past season named as finalists for Gold Glove Awards. One writer from the Athletic picked all of them to win their awards.

First baseman Christian Walker, shortstop Nick Ahmed, pitchers Mike Leake and Zack Greinke and outfielder David Peralta were all named as finalists. Leake was named as a finalist in the American League for the Mariners, while Greinke, who did not finish the season with the D-backs, nonetheless was an NL finalist for Arizona.

The winners of these awards will be announced on Sunday, but in the meantime, The Athletic’s Mark Simon took a look at all of the Gold Glove Award finalists across both leagues and picked who he thinks should win based on the numbers. All five of the aforementioned D-backs were picked as winners.

Here’s a little bit more about each player, with help from Simon:

Christian Walker

Simon: “The 11 errors may scare you off, but Walker got to a lot of balls that other first basemen don’t reach, especially on balls hit to the right of where he was positioned.”

Walker is a finalist with the man he replaced, Paul Goldschmidt (now with St. Louis), and the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo. His 11 errors were the fourth-most among NL first basemen, but he did lead his position in assists with 139.

Nick Ahmed

A finalist with the Cardinals’ Paul DeJong and the Rockies’ Trevor Story, Ahmed is looking for his second Gold Glove Award in a row and led NL shortstops in 2019 in defensive runs saved, with 19.

“It’s really, really close,” Simon wrote of Ahmed and Story. “The argument for Ahmed comes in how good he is at making plays going to his right, plays that often have a high degree of difficulty but he makes because of his outstanding arm.”

David Peralta

Peralta, who missed a good chunk of the season with injuries and thus only played 99 games, is a finalist with the Padres’ Hunter Renfroe and the Nationals’ Juan Soto. According to MLB.com, Peralta’s 10 defensive runs saved were the most among NL left fielders, impressive given the time he missed. He also had only two errors all season.

“We choose Peralta on the strength of his 10 runs saved, which tied [Mike] Tauchman and [Michael] Brantley for the MLB lead. Choosing him is largely based on the success he had catching balls hit to the deepest part of the outfield (similar to Grossman) and on balls of medium depth.”

Mike Leake

The caveat with Leake is that he’d be an American League nominee, but he nonetheless finished the season with the D-backs. The veteran and alumnus of ASU made 22 starts for the Mariners this year before getting traded to Arizona, where he pitched 10 more times.

Leake had a .996 fielding percentage and 17 assists to go with just one error. He finished the year with two defensive runs saved. The other finalists at pitcher in the AL are the  Twins’ Jose Berrios and the White Sox’s Lucas Giolitio.

“Leake had by far the most chances of the three (46, to Berríos’ 32 and Giolito’s 19) with only one error,” Simon wrote. “He also held baserunners to five stolen bases in 12 attempts.”

Zack Greinke

The D-backs aquired Leake just after they traded Greinke, and coincidentally, Greinke’s pitching prowess wasn’t the only thing that got replaced.

If I had a vote and could have voted for Greinke in both leagues, I would have. He led the majors in chances fielded, started an MLB-best 12 double plays (no other pitcher had more than five) and allowed only two stolen bases on six attempts. So, he’s a worthy winner, even just judging him on his NL work.

If Greinke were to win, he would win it as a National League nominee for the D-backs, despite finishing with the Astros (you might have seen him on TV recently in Game 7 of the World Series). The 36-year-old is no stranger to the award, as a Gold Glove in 2019 would be his sixth in a row.

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