OAKLAND -- A's corner infielders Matt Chapman and Matt Olson were awarded their first career Rawlings Gold Glove Awards on Sunday evening, marking what will likely be an annual tradition for Oakland's rising stars.Not since 2012, when Josh Reddick took home the hardware, had an A's player enjoyed baseball's top
OAKLAND -- A's corner infielders Matt Chapman and Matt Olson were awarded their first career Rawlings Gold Glove Awards on Sunday evening, marking what will likely be an annual tradition for Oakland's rising stars.
Not since 2012, when Josh Reddick took home the hardware, had an A's player enjoyed baseball's top defensive distinction. Their last infielder to win the award was third baseman Eric Chavez, who earned six straight from 2001-06.
For Chapman and Olson, the recognition comes after just their first full big league seasons.
"I've always been pretty confident in my defensive ability," Olson said, "so I knew I could definitely have the potential to be a Gold Glove first baseman -- not necessarily in my first full year, especially in Oakland, where sometimes we don't get as much coverage as some other places."
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The A's, who had two other finalists in second baseman Jed Lowrie and shortstop Marcus Semien, were a collective force on defense, which was perhaps an underrated aspect of their stirring 97-win season.
Chapman led the way at third base, quickly cementing himself as one of the best defenders in the game at any position with a mile-long list of highlight-reel plays. His 29 Defensive Runs Saved were 19 more than any other player, and he led Major League third basemen in Ultimate Zone Rating (10.9), total chances (484) and assists (331).
"It's an honor to win this prestigious award," Chapman said. "We all work to be the best at what we do, and I've been fortunate enough to be able to combine my ability with hard work."
Chapman undoubtedly benefited from Olson, who handled Chapman's throws at first base and habitually saved errors. Olson picked up 14 Defensive Runs Saved, most at first base. He also topped his peers at the position in games (162), total chances (1,494) and putouts (1,403), ranking third with a .995 fielding percentage.
The 24-year-old beat out Boston's Mitch Moreland and Toronto's Justin Smoak, while Chapman got the nod over Houston's Alex Bregman and Cleveland's Jose Ramirez.
"It's definitely nice, especially because first base doesn't necessarily get the glory that other positions do," Olson said. "That's more than fine, but to be able to go out and have a good year defensively and do what I did, it's nice to get that recognition."
Winners are determined by a combination of votes submitted by Major League managers and coaches and a sabermetric index provided by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.