Endless glove: Best D honored; more tonight
Yadi nets Gold Glove for eighth straight year; Kiermaier a first-time winner
It's November, right after the World Series. In baseball, that means it's the season when leather comes back in style.
The best defensive players in the Major Leagues were honored on Tuesday night, and the list of winners of the prestigious Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for 2015 included familiar names and first-time honorees that figure to be honored again in years to come.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina kept his Gold Glove billing as the man on the marquee by winning his eighth consecutive National League Gold Glove, beating out San Francisco's Buster Posey and Washington's Wilson Ramos.
In the American League, the World Series champion Royals collected more bling, with three winners in first baseman Eric Hosmer, shortstop Alcides Escobar and catcher Salvador Perez.
Both leagues' honorees featured a who's-who of repeat winners.
In the NL, honorees included Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward, who won last year with the Braves and has now won the award in three of the past four seasons. Heyward beat out Nationals phenom Bryce Harper and Mets sparkplug Curtis Granderson.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado was a first-time winner in 2013 and has now won three years in a row. He beat out Matt Duffy of the Giants and Todd Frazier of the Reds.
One of the NL's repeat winners came from the Dodgers, who seized their third consecutive NL West title. Los Angeles right-hander Zack Greinke, a leading contender for his league's Cy Young Award, won the Gold Glove for pitcher over Jake Arrieta of the Cubs and Gerrit Cole of the Pirates.
Elsewhere in the NL, some notable win streaks were snapped.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford beat out two-time winner Andrelton Simmons of the Braves and Adeiny Hechavarria of the Marlins, while Paul Goldschmidt of the D-backs unseated four-time winner Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers and also edged Brandon Belt of the Giants.
At second base, the NL batting title winner proved he can play some D, too. Miami's Dee Gordon took the honors for the first time, beating out last year's winner, Colorado's DJ LeMahieu, as well as Brandon Phillips of the Reds.
"It turned out to be the best thing for me," Gordon said of last offseason's trade that brought him to Miami, "because I got with a coach [Perry Hill] who has taken my game to the next level."
Pirates left fielder Starling Marte reached that level, too, winning his first Gold Glove by knocking off last year's winner, Christian Yelich of the Marlins, as well as Justin Upton of the Padres.
And D-backs center fielder A.J. Pollock won his first Gold Glove, beating out Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen and Billy Hamilton of the Reds to continue a resurgence in the desert that is partially based on catching the ball.
"From Day 1, I think we created this culture where everyone understands how important defense is," Pollock said. "Everyone's bought into it. It's been exciting. It's been a really fun group to be a part of, and I think we've got a good foundation moving forward."
Since 2013, Gold Glove voting has consisted of two components: 75 percent of the vote comes from managers and coaches, and 25 percent comes from statistical analysis in collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
In the AL, the newly crowned champs had another banner day.
The Royals boasted repeat winners in Hosmer and Perez, with each being honored for a third straight time. They also featured a first-time winner in Escobar.
Hosmer beat out Mark Teixeira of the Yankees and Mike Napoli of the Rangers, while Perez won over Russell Martin of the Blue Jays and Jason Castro of the Astros.
Escobar was chosen over a competitive field that included Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox and Didi Gregorius of the Yankees.
But injuries hurt Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon, who lost out to former Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes, who was traded to the Mets and spurred that club's run to the World Series, won his first Gold Glove, also beating out finalist Brett Gardner of the Yankees.
In center field, Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays beat a tough field of finalists that included Kevin Pillar of the Blue Jays and Mike Trout of the Angels. Among other new metrics, he led all of baseball with 42 defensive runs saved, the highest such number since that advanced statistic started being recorded.
"I just try to go out there and … make plays for my pitchers and my team each and every day," Kiermaier said. "I think the numbers will take care of themselves at the end of the year."
Another new winner in the AL was Kole Calhoun of the Angels in right field. Calhoun beat out J.D. Martinez of the Tigers and Josh Reddick of the A's.
Other repeat winners in the AL included pitcher Dallas Keuchel of the Astros, who bested A's right-hander Sonny Gray and Blue Jays veteran lefty Mark Buehrle for the honor.
"I'm extremely proud because I take pride in my defensive ability," Keuchel said. "I'm an extreme competitor, and if the ball gets by me … inside I'm pretty heated. … Whatever I can do to possibly get an out and shorten the game, I'm going to do it."
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado proved that he was all the way back from knee problems not only with a strong offensive campaign but with his first Gold Glove since 2013. Machado topped finalists Adrian Beltre of the Rangers and Evan Longoria of the Rays.
There was a changing of the Gold Glove guard at several positions in the AL, however.
In addition to Escobar winning for the first time, Jose Altuve of the Astros garnered his first Gold Glove by winning over Ian Kinsler of the Tigers and Brian Dozier of the Twins.
Next we'll see who wins the Platinum Glove Awards, which give fans a chance to have their voices heard in the selection of both leagues' best overall defensive players, which will be announced on Friday night. Last year's Platinum winners were Molina in the NL and Gordon in the AL.
Here is the complete list of Gold Glove winners:
NL: Yadier Molina, Cardinals (eighth straight win)
AL: Salvador Perez, Royals (third straight)
NL: Brandon Crawford, Giants (first)
AL: Alcides Escobar, Royals (first)
NL: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs (second)
AL: Eric Hosmer, Royals (third straight)
NL: Dee Gordon, Marlins (first)
AL: Jose Altuve, Astros (first)
NL: Nolan Arenado, Rockies (third straight)
AL: Manny Machado, Orioles (second)
NL: Starling Marte, Pirates (first)
AL: Yoenis Cespedes, formerly Tigers (first)
NL: A.J. Pollock, D-backs (first)
AL: Kevin Kiermaier, Rays (first)
NL: Jason Heyward, Cardinals (second straight, third overall)
AL: Kole Calhoun, Angels (first)
NL: RHP Zack Greinke, Dodgers (second straight)
AL: LHP Dallas Keuchel, Astros (second straight)