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Chapman, Olson repeat as Gold Glove winners

@MartinJGallegos
November 3, 2019

OAKLAND -- The dynamic corner-infield duo of Matt Chapman and Matt Olson helped anchor one of the most impenetrable defenses in A’s history. So it’s no surprise their defensive prowess was rewarded with Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at their respective positions. A combination of votes submitted by Major League managers

OAKLAND -- The dynamic corner-infield duo of Matt Chapman and Matt Olson helped anchor one of the most impenetrable defenses in A’s history. So it’s no surprise their defensive prowess was rewarded with Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at their respective positions.

A combination of votes submitted by Major League managers and coaches and a sabermetric index provided by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) goes into determining Gold Glove winners.

2019 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners

With shortstop Marcus Semien and left fielder Robbie Grossman also named finalists, the A’s defense was as big a factor as any in winning 97 games and reaching the postseason for a second straight year. Their 80 errors, 34 unearned runs and .987 fielding percentage were all franchise records.

“It’s a big reason of what we did this year,” Olson said of the A’s defense. “We don’t have a ton of big money guys and to be able to put a successful team together with that, you have to be able to do the fundamentals right. Defense is a big part of that. We understand what little plays can do to translate to a win. We never take plays off and it shows in our record.”

Chapman and Olson are starting to make this a regularity, with the corner infielders each having won two Gold Gloves in their first two full big league seasons.

Chapman also took home the Platinum Glove for his spectacular play at third base last season, and he stands a good chance to repeat that feat this year. The 26-year-old led the American League with 18 defensive runs saved and his 14.8 Ultimate Zone Rating was highest in the Majors.

Another goal Chapman had entering 2019 was to cut down on errors. After committing 20 in '18, Chapman shrunk that number to nine.

“I definitely have seen some of the numbers,” Chapman said. “I take my position seriously. The numbers fall into place. If I had to pick one that I looked at the most, I’d say Defensive Runs Saved because that shows how much you help your team.”

Olson played a part in enabling Chapman and Semien to have success on defense for his ability to act as a security blanket at first. The sure-handed Olson managed to register the second most scoops (23) among AL first basemen despite missing 34 games early in the year due to surgery on his right hand. Olson’s 13 DRS and 6.6 UZR also topped the Majors at his position, with his .993 fielding percentage the highest among AL first basemen.

“It’s definitely an honor. Happy to do it alongside Chappy again,” Olson said. “We had a good year, and it’s one of those things we take a lot of pride in. I wish Semien and Grossman came out with one, too. But happy that we got a couple coming back to Oakland.”

Olson is now the first first baseman in A’s history to win multiple Gold Glove Awards at the position.

“I want to be able to get to as many balls as I can and save as many errant throws as I can,” Olson said. “It’s all an effort to keep the other infielders’ fielding percentages up and the pitchers’ ERA down.

“I know first base isn’t too glorious of a position, but I kind of affect the other infielders and take pride in that, being able to help them out. When I’m out there, I’m doing what I can for those guys.”

As Gold Glove winners, Chapman and Olson are now eligible for the Platinum Glove Award, which is given to the best defensive player from each league. Voting for the award, which was established in 2011, is open at Rawlings.com and will continue until 8:59 p.m. PT on Thursday. The two league winners will be announced on Friday.

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.