Improving Goldschmidt joins Parra with Gold Glove
First baseman earns first career award, while right fielder takes home second
PHOENIX -- The awards season is off to a good start for the Arizona Diamondbacks. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and right fielder Gerardo Parra each captured Rawlings Gold Glove Awards on Tuesday.
"Not everybody wants to be great on defense, but these guys take great pride and joy in taking hits away from people," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said from his home in Michigan.
It is the first Gold Glove Award for Goldschmidt, who captured the NL Hank Aaron Award on Sunday, and the second for Parra, who also garnered one in 2011.
Both players also received Fielding Bible Awards on Monday for being the best at their respective positions.
Goldschmidt had a reputation for not being a very good defender while coming up through the Minor Leagues. When he got to the big leagues in 2011, though, he appeared to be at least average and has improved each season.
"It's just a huge honor to get recognized," Goldschmidt said. "There's so many great players around the league and I'm just very fortunate to be in the position just to get to play. To be honored with this award is pretty cool."
Gibson said at the time that while Goldschmidt might not share it with the media, he had a goal of one day being a Gold Glove defender at first.
"He wants to be a world champion, but he also wants to be the best at everything he does," Gibson said. "We've had the opportunity to watch him work and develop and reap the results of his belief and his willingness to listen to what might help him."
That Goldschmidt earned one is a testament to his desire to improve. Goldschmidt worked many early mornings during the past few Spring Trainings with infield instructor Matt Williams.
"He works for everything," Gibson said. "He's just a guy who wants to be the best he can at every aspect of the game. It's nice to see him get the recognition. It would be nice to see him win the MVP as well. He deserves it for sure."
Goldschmidt was the first player in the 10 years since Baseball Info Solutions began charting every single play to record more than 100 "good fielding plays." He had 113, and according to Baseball Info Solutions, Goldschmidt saved 13 runs with his defense in 2013.
That Parra captured his second Gold Glove Award is no surprise, but what is noteworthy is that he has actually found ways to improve since winning it in 2011.
Parra saved 36 runs in right field, according to Baseball Info Solutions, and when you factor in his time in left and center, his total rises to 41. That matches Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons for the most runs saved this season.
Parra began using a child-sized glove while taking fungoes in the outfield during batting practice a few years ago, believing it would improve his ability to field balls while charging them. Pretty soon, everyone on the team was using little gloves during batting practice.
"He is dominating," Gibson said. "He's had the ability. Again, you watch him, he's had the ability and he's been open to suggestions about how he can better use his ability. His biggest weapon is his arm, and a couple of years ago he had a great arm, but he's really worked on his throwing. He's way more accurate now. It wasn't easy, but he's gotten better and he understands better how to use [his arm]. He's just a real solid, real enthusiastic player, but especially on defense."