Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker, Gabriel Moreno win Gold Glove Award
Nov 5, 2023, 5:48 PM | Updated: 6:25 pm
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker won his second straight Gold Glove Award and catcher Gabriel Moreno took his first, MLB announced on Sunday.
Walker beat out fellow National League finalists Carlos Santana of the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman after leading all first basemen in outs above average (12), finishing second in defensive runs saved (nine) and committing two errors in 1,309.1 innings.
Moreno beat out San Francisco Giants rookie Patrick Bailey and Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto. He was tremendous with his arm all year, finishing with a league-leading +9 caught stealings above average.
Walker was a Gold Glove finalist in 2019 before winning the award for the first time in 2022.
“He works as hard as anybody that you see out there,” manager Torey Lovullo said of Walker during the World Series. “He doesn’t miss a day of ground balls, despite being known as somebody who can hit 30 home runs and drive in 104 or 105 runs. He wants to be a complete baseball player. That means a lot to this organization.”
C-Walk is a Gold Glover for a reason. 😳 pic.twitter.com/1tWCvCsqFj
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 29, 2023
Walker paired another stellar defensive effort with his first career 30-homer, 100-RBI season offensively. He also played in 157 games, leading the team. Over the past two seasons, Walker took the field in 317 of 324 games in the regular season and all 17 postseason games this year.
The 32-year-old joined Nick Ahmed, Paul Goldscmhidt, Zack Greinke, Gerardo Parra, Orlando Hudson and Steve Finley as D-backs to win multiple Gold Gloves.
Walker was claimed off waivers by the Diamondbacks in March 2017 after he was let go by three other organizations during the lead-up to the regular season.
Approaching his 30s while looking for a long-term home in the league, Walker looked at where in his game he could provide value consistently.
“Obviously offense is important, but defensively, I had to figure out a way to bring something to the table every day,” Walker said at World Series Media Day. “It’s easy to go to a batting cage and spend two hours hitting and take 500 swings and talk about everything, but I had to find a way to buy into that defensively, as well.”
The Diamondbacks have had Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base for a long time, as Walker’s predecessor, Goldschmidt, won the award three times with Arizona.
Walker said he learned a lot from watching Arizona’s franchise player work in 2017 and 2018 before the D-backs traded Goldschmidt ahead of the 2019 campaign.
“We would take ground balls together at first and we would have conversations and I would ask him questions, but you don’t want to get in a guy’s way, try to let them do their business,” Walker said during the World Series.
“Being around Paul, it became obvious to me how intentional everything was. … I guess what I’m getting at is his attention to detail. Sweat the small stuff. I think that’s what matters over the course of a long season, a long career. It’s the fine details.”
Walker has gone above the routine play with 38 defensive runs saved over the past four seasons and 26 since the start of 2022. He made a bare-handed play off the base in Game 2 of the World Series at the Texas Rangers, although he committed an uncharacteristic error in Game 4.
The first baseman has one more season of arbitration eligibility before he is set for free agency after 2024.
Moreno was thrown to the fire quickly after veteran Carson Kelly suffered a forearm fracture in spring training. He ended up playing 111 games during the regular season with a three-week injured list stint. The growth Moreno showed handling himself behind the plate in his first season starting in MLB was praised by his teammates and coaches.
“Gabi is 23 but I feel like he’s 33,” pitcher Zac Gallen said during the World Series. “Just the way he’s super cool, super calm, collected. The moment doesn’t seem to faze him. And the talent is just off the charts.
“I’ve kind of had a first-hand seat to see Gabi grow. I think what I saw in the beginning of the year, there was a lot of talent, for sure. And then for Gabi to kind of get over here and get a lot more comfortable, understanding how to handle a pitching staff, calling games and certain things like that has been, it’s been fascinating to watch.”
D-backs center fielder Alek Thomas was also a finalist in center field. He lost out to Colorado Rockies center fielder Brenton Doyle.
Gold Glove Award winners 2023
Catcher — Gabriel Moreno, Arizona Diamondbacks
First base — Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks
Second base — Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs
Shortstop — Dansby Swanson, Chicago Cubs
Third base — Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates
Left field — Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs
Center field — Brenton Doyle, Colorado Rockies
Right field — Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
Pitcher — Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies
Utility — Ha-Seong Kim, San Diego Padres
Catcher — Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers
First base — Nathaniel Lowe, Texas Rangers
Second base — Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Guardians
Shortstop — Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees
Third base — Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays
Left field — Steven Kwan, Cleveland Guardians
Center field — Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays
Right field — Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers
Pitcher — Jose Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays
Utility — Mauricio Dubon, Houston Astros