Rodgers claims first career Gold Glove Award

‘That’s always been in the back of my mind,’ says 2B

November 1st, 2022

DENVER -- The space on his trophy shelf that Brendan Rodgers has reserved -- since his high school days -- for a Rawlings Gold Glove Award will now be filled.

Rodgers joined three-time winner DJ LeMahieu (2014, 2017-18) as the only Rockies second basemen in club history to win the award, which was announced Tuesday. Gold Gloves are determined via voting by the league’s managers and coaches, plus a SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) Defensive Index.

“I got a Gold Glove thing for Perfect Game when I was in high school,” Rodgers said last week, when he learned he would receive the Fielding Bible Award as MLB’s top overall second baseman. “I have it at the house, and like I always told myself, if I got a real Gold Glove, it would be a lot cooler next to it. So that’s always been in the back of my mind.”

Rodgers, 26, appeared in a career-high 137 games and led all second basemen with 99 double plays, 411 assists, 3.17 assists-per-nine innings and 19 diving plays.

Rodgers is the eighth player overall in Rockies history to win the award. Others were LeMahieu, third baseman Nolan Arenado (2013-20), outfielder Carlos González (2010, 2012-13), shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2010-11), first baseman Todd Helton (2001-02, 2004), shortstop Neifi Perez (2000) and outfielder Larry Walker (1997-99, 2001-02).

It took a position change from shortstop, where Rodgers was playing at Lake Mary (Fla.) High School before being drafted by the Rockies with the No. 3 overall pick in 2015, as well as on-the-job learning to reach this point. Rodgers began playing second base in the Minors, but his entry to the Majors was shortened by shoulder and hamstring injuries in 2019 and ‘20, and then his ’21 season was delayed because of another hamstring issue.

The 2021 season saw Rodgers flash some talent, but he also experience growing pains. He started slowly in ’22 with some errors, but the anticipation and knowledge of the opposition that he at times lacked in ’21, especially in late-game situations, began to show up.

“When I was coming up through the Minors, I was hearing, ‘He’s got the hit tool, but is he going to stay at short or stay in the middle?’” Rodgers said. “I wanted to stay in the middle of the field. I pride myself on that. I wanted to be in a prime position.

“But it took some gaining confidence, and that was a matter of getting game reps. It’s a lot different from your work in the offseason. You have to get your internal clock. Some of that comes from knowing the runners and the opponent. If it’s a DH or a first baseman, you have a little extra time, but if a center fielder hits a chopper, you have to make the play quickly. Some teams run hard, and some are walkers and sluggers. By learning that, I was able to slow the game down and not put pressure on myself.”

Rodgers led all MLB second basemen and finished second to Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes among all players in the Majors in Defensive Runs Saved with 22 (Hayes had 24). According to Baseball-Reference, Rodgers and Hayes tied for the MLB lead in defensive Wins Above Replacement at 3.0.

Third baseman Ryan McMahon was also a National League finalist for the Gold Glove at third base, but the Cardinals’ Arenado won it for the 10th straight year. Arenado’s first eight came with the Rockies.