Christian Walker headlines D-backs nominated for NL Gold Glove Award
Rawlings Baseball announced Thursday that Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker, center fielder Alek Thomas and utility man/right fielder Daulton Varsho are finalists for the Gold Glove Award.
Walker joins former D-back Paul Goldschmidt and the Atlanta Braves’ Matt Olson as the three finalists at first base.
Thomas joins the Washington Nationals’ Victor Robles and the San Diego Padres’ Trent Grisham in center field.
Varsho joins the St. Louis Cardinals’ Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan with the utility designation, as well as Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Juan Soto (Nationals and Padres) in right field.
Walker had the best season of his career across the board. However, defensively he cemented himself as one of the best in baseball.
In 1,292 defensive innings, the 31-year-old posted 17 defensive runs saved (DRS) and 14 outs above above average (OAA), both far and away the most at the position. For his career, his 17 DRS are his best single-season mark, while the 14 OAA are second to the 15 he put up in 2019.
Here’s how the three first base finalists align defensively this season.
Walker: 17 DRS, 14 OAA, five errors and a .996 fielding percentage
Goldschmidt: two DRS, -6 OAA, one error and a .999 fielding percentage
Olson: five DRS, two OAA, eight errors and a .994 fielding percentage
Thomas opened 2022 as one of baseball’s top prospects and made his MLB debut on May 8.
Though his season was a struggle at the plate, he turned heads with his glove. In 907.1 defensive innings, the rookie posted six DRS and OAA apiece.
He also contributed four outfield assists and had 4.8 range runs (RngR) — a metric that measures how many runs a player’s range saves his team.
Here’s how the three center field finalists align defensively this season.
Thomas: six DRS, six OAA, three errors, four outfield assists and a .991 fielding percentage
Grisham: eight DRS, 16 OAA, two errors, three outfield assists and a .994 fielding percentage
Robles: 12 DRS, five OAA, six errors, seven outfield assists and a .983 fielding percentage
Varsho’s (double) candidacy
Like Walker, Varsho had the best season of his young career in 2022.
However, Varsho’s season has him as a gold glove nominee with multiple designations.
Let’s start with right field, where he tallied 541.2 defensive innings — less than half of Betts’ or Soto’s output. Despite a comparatively limited sample size, the 26-year-old posted 14 DRS and 10 OAA, as well as 12.0 RngR and six assists.
Here’s how the three right field finalists align defensively this season.
Varsho: 14 DRS, 10 OAA, six outfield assists, one error and a .994 fielding percentage in 541.2 innings
Betts: 15 DRS, five OAA, eight outfield assists, two errors and a .994 fielding percentage in 1,154.1 innings
Soto: -2 DRS, -14 OAA, three outfield assists, three errors and a .990 fielding percentage in 1,298.1 innings
In addition to his prowess in right field, Varsho logged 553.2 defensive innings between catcher and center field. Across those two positions, he posted two DRS and eight OAA — the catching position doesn’t chart OAA.
He added two assists in center field and caught six out of 18 would-be base stealers.
Here’s how the three utility finalists align defensively this season.
Varsho (RF/CF/C): 16 DRS, 18 OAA, eight outfield assists, six caught stealing, six errors and a .986 fielding percentage
Edman (SS/2B/3B/RF/CF): 19 DRS, 20 OAA, zero outfield assists, six errors and a .991 fielding percentage
Donovan (3B/SS/1B/2B/LF/RF): nine DRS, -3 OAA, four outfield assists, seven errors and a .982 fielding percentage
David Peralta’s candidacy
Though traded at the deadline, the longtime D-backs left fielder was nominated for the NL gold glove in left field.
He joins the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich and the Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ as one of the three finalists.
The 35-year-old logged 607 defensive innings with the Diamondbacks this season before getting dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays.
In those 607 innings, he logged -1 DRS and four OAA. Overall, Peralta posted -5 DRS and five OAA between the D-backs and Rays.
Here’s how the three left field finalists align defensively this season.
Peralta (in Arizona): -1 DRS, four OAA, two outfield assists, two errors and a .988 fielding percentage
Yelich: -2 DRS, -4 OAA, two outfield assists, one error and a .995 fielding percentage
Happ: 13 DRS, one OAA, eight outfield assists, three errors and a .989 fielding percentage