Tampa Bay Rays: Longoria Wins Rawlings Gold Glove Award
By Althea Pashman
On Tuesday night, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria collected his third career Rawlings Gold Glove Award and the first since 2010.
It has been seven years since Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria won a Rawlings Gold Glove and on Tuesday night, the wait ended. Longoria finished ahead of Baltimore’s Manny Machado and Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez for the award given to the top third baseman in the American League.
In earning the Gold Glove honors, Longoria becomes the first player in franchise history to win three Gold Gloves and becomes the eighth overall Gold Glove Award in franchise history. Carl Crawford (2010), Carlos Pena (2008), Kevin Kiermaier (2015, 2016) and Jeremy Hellickson (2012) were previous Gold Glove Award winners. Pitcher Alex Cobb was also a finalist for the award; however, he lost out to Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award honors the best defenders at each position in both the American and National Leagues. Managers and coaches from MLB are all eligible to vote within their league and are unable to vote for players on their own team.
Managers and coaches votes count towards 75 percent of the selection process with the other 25 percent going to SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) which provides statistical analysis.
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“I didn’t really feel like it may have been my best year defensively, per se, but I guess the numbers said otherwise,” Longoria said.
According to FanGraphs, Longoria ranked first in DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) with 11 the most since 2011 when he had 20. Additionally, in 142 games played, he ranked third in innings (1240.0) third in fielding percentage (.968) with just 12 errors in 375 chances.
“To be honest with you, I was pretty surprised that I won,” Longoria said. “I always prepare myself to play defense every day. I guess I was just so disappointed in my overall year that I didn’t really think that I’d have a chance to win, or did enough to win, or was good enough to win. It’s always nice to be recognized.”
In winning his third Gold Glove, Longoria becomes only the third active third baseman with three or more Gold Gloves and the 18th third baseman to win three or more Gold Gloves joining Texas’ Adrian Beltre and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado who both have five. Arenado captured his fifth consecutive Gold Glove on Tuesday, becoming the first infielder in MLB history to begin their career winning five in a row.
Longoria gives much credit to his defensive success to former coach Tom Foley who would hit ground balls to him during pregame warm-ups throughout his career. Foley left the coaching staff to take on another role with the organization at the conclusion of the season.
“It’s going to be different next year without Foley,” Longoria said. “I’m going to have to find somebody to hit me those ground balls. And I’m sure somebody will. But Foley was great for all those years, and a lot of my success, I attribute to him.”
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Next up for Longoria could be the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, awarded to the best defensive player from each league as voted on by the fans and by SABR. Vote now at Rawlings.com.