Moreno wins 1st, Walker captures 2nd straight NL Gold Glove

November 6th, 2023

PHOENIX -- Defense was a big part of the D-backs’ success in 2023, and they had a pair of players -- first baseman and catcher -- win Rawlings Gold Glove Awards on Sunday.

Arizona center fielder was a Gold Glove finalist, but Colorado’s captured the award.

It is Walker’s second straight Gold Glove at first base, and he joins Paul Goldschmidt as the only D-backs first basemen to win multiple awards. Goldschmidt did it three times in his time with Arizona.

Walker replaced Goldschmidt as the everyday first baseman in 2019, and though he was not known at the time to be a very good defender, Walker worked tirelessly to turn himself into one of the best in the game.

“He's everything we want from an Arizona Diamondback,” manager Torey Lovullo said last month about Walker. “He holds himself accountable. He holds his teammates accountable. He works as hard as anybody that you see out there. And, for example, [he] doesn't miss a day of ground balls -- despite being known as somebody who can hit three home runs and drive in 104 or 105 runs. He wants to be a complete baseball player. That means a lot to this organization.

“You can't throw a ball behind him. He picks everything at first base. That's a product of the hard work and the belief that he's going to get the job done.”

Moreno was acquired by the D-backs from the Blue Jays last December in a deal that sent Daulton Varsho to Toronto.

Moreno played in just 25 games in the big leagues before coming to Arizona, and the initial plan this spring was for him to get eased into action behind Carson Kelly. However, Kelly was injured in Spring Training and Moreno ended up getting the bulk of the catching innings throughout the season.

It is the first time an Arizona catcher has won a Gold Glove. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, at 23 years, 229 days old at the end of season, Moreno was the 10th-youngest catcher to win a Gold Glove.

Moreno helped shut down the opponent's running game by nabbing 48 percent of would-be base-stealers, tops in the Majors.

“With Gabi's arm back there, it just kind of takes your mind off of the running game and those teams that try to run,” D-backs ace Zac Gallen said. “He puts a stop to that pretty easily.”