Arenado, Donovan win historic Gold Glove Awards

3B ties Ichiro as only players to begin career with 10 in a row; rookie wins 1st NL utility award

November 2nd, 2022

ST. LOUIS -- MLB’s gold standard at third base, Nolan Arenado, nabbed his 10th straight Rawlings Gold Glove Award, while standout rookie Brendan Donovan beat out Cardinals teammate Tommy Edman to become the National League’s first utility Gold Glove Award winner on Tuesday night.

Donovan, 25, is the first Cardinals rookie to win a Gold Glove and the first in the National League since Arenado in 2013 (with the Rockies) -- an award that kicked off 10 consecutive Gold Gloves for the superstar third baseman. 

“I was totally shocked by that considering the great history of the Cardinals organization,” Donovan said of becoming the first rookie in franchise history to win a Gold Glove. “I’d just say I was mostly shocked.”

Arenado tied Ichiro Suzuki as the only players to win 10 consecutive Gold Gloves to start an MLB career. The 31-year-old Arenado also became the fourth infielder in AL/NL history to win 10 consecutive Gold Gloves at the same position, joining former Cardinals Ozzie Smith (13) and Keith Hernandez (11) and Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson (16).

Arenado’s 10th Gold Glove Award tied him with Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt for second most among third basemen. Only Robinson had more.

The winners, announced on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” on Tuesday, allowed St. Louis to capture multiple top fielding honors for a third straight season. The franchise has won an MLB-record 98 Gold Gloves, with Donovan becoming the 29th different Cardinal to win.

The Gold Glove Awards are voted on by 30 MLB managers and up to six coaches from each team. They are not allowed to vote for players from their own team. Rawlings added the SABR Defensive Index metric to the Gold Glove selection process in 2013, and the SDI makes up 25 percent of the vote, while the manager/coach vote accounts for the other 75 percent. Rawlings collaborated with SABR to create a specialized defensive formula to help determine the utility award winners.

Edman, the 2021 Gold Glover at second base, was a finalist at second base and as a utility player this season, but he was beaten out by Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers and Donovan.

“It was weird [being in the same category as Edman]," Donovan said, "and I thought he definitely should have won [the Gold Glove] at second. Tommy’s one of the best defenders in all the big leagues.”

Paul Goldschmidt, the 2021 Gold Glove winner at first base, did not garner his fifth defensive honor, as he was edged by Arizona’s Christian Walker.

Arenado ranked first among third basemen in double plays (42) and second in assists (283). He also ranked second in defensive runs saved (19) and outs above average (15), per Fielding Bible and Statcast. Arenado’s second straight Gold Glove as a Cardinal makes him the fourth St. Louis third baseman with multiple defensive honors, joining Scott Rolen (2002-04, ‘06), Terry Pendleton (1987, ‘89) and Ken Boyer (1958-61, ’63).

“I think I have a strong case [for a Gold Glove], and it would be amazing,” Arenado said in early October. “It would tie me with Mike Schmidt, who I think has 10. There are a lot of really good third basemen out there, but it would be amazing if I could get another one.”

Added Donovan: “Not only is he a great player, but he’s also a great person. I’m a visual learner, and I get to sit there and watch him. And I also get to ask him, ‘Hey man, what was your thought process here or why did you do that?’ And he’s more than happy to answer because he’s such a great person. That’s how our veteran guys are on the Cardinals, and that’s why the younger guys can come up and feel comfortable immediately.” 

Donovan joined the Cardinals on April 25, and within his first week, he made AL/NL history when he became the first player since 1900 to make his first four MLB starts at four different infield positions. His ability to move around earned him the nickname “Donny Baseball” from his teammates.

“That was Don Mattingly’s nickname, and it’s cool that a couple of my teammates have started calling me that,” Donovan said earlier this season. “I just want to earn the respect from those guys for playing hard and playing the right way. That means so much to me.”

While carrying an equipment bag to every game filled with four gloves, Donovan spent time at second base (264 1/3 innings), third base (189 innings), left field (144 innings), right field (143 innings), first base (58 innings) and shortstop (56 innings) while playing 126 MLB games. The 2018 seventh-round Draft pick had seven errors across 854 1/3 innings. Donovan, who often credited infield coach Stubby Clapp for helping him prepare, accumulated nine defensive runs saved across the six defensive positions he played. Donovan turned 49 double plays and had four outfield assists.

“Obviously, it was a challenge, but we had such a great group of guys, and I had the support of my teammates more than I could ever ask for,” Donovan said. “It was, ‘Show up, do what I can to help us win and play whatever position needed.' I know that the work had been put in behind the scenes and I had the support of my teammates, so it was me just going out and playing.”

Arenado and Donovan are now eligible to win the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award -- one which fans can vote on from Tuesday night through Nov. 9. The winners, who will be decided by a combination of the fan vote and the SABR Defensive Index, will be revealed on Nov. 11.