DENVER -- Nolan Arenado became the first rookie third baseman in National League history to win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award, and left fielder Carlos Gonzalez took home the award for the third time in the last four years.
Arenado, 22, was promoted to the Majors on April 28, about a month into the season. It didn't take him long to move to the head of the third-base class with his numerous highlight-level plays and general dependability and range at the position. He finished second in the league in putouts and assists at the position despite playing most of April at Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Red Sox's Frank Malzone in 1957 is the only American League rookie third baseman to win it.
"It means a lot. It's pretty special, pretty crazy," Arenado said. "I'm still kind of in shock, you know, and still can't believe it. It's a blessing, man. I'm very happy."
Gonzalez won the award in 2010 -- when it went to three outfielders, regardless of position -- and won for his work in left field in '12 and this year after the award became position-specific. The fact that his games were split among the various outfield spots in '11 cost him the award in one of his best fielding seasons. Gonzalez battled a chronic right middle finger injury from July through the end of this season and was limited to 106 games defensively, but still tied Bryce Harper for the assists lead among NL left fielders with 11.
Gonzalez is tied with newly retired first baseman Todd Helton for the second most Gold Gloves in club history. Only outfielder Larry Walker, with five, has more. The Rockies have been represented in each of the last four seasons.
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, a winner in 2010 and '11, was a finalist this year, but the Braves' Andrelton Simmons claimed the award. Tulowitzki missed time with a broken rib and ended up playing 121 games defensively, leading the NL with a .986 fielding percentage. Eric Young Jr., who began the season with the Rockies before a trade to the Mets, was a finalist in left field, but lost out to Gonzalez.
"I know he's happy for me," Arenado said of Tulowitzki. "He's helped me a lot along the way, so that's pretty nice of him. He's done so much for me. We try to communicate as much as we can, but I'll try to take some of those balls to help him out."
The awards were voted on by managers and coaches, and this year, for the first time, Rawlings collaborated with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to incorporate statistical analysis into the equation. The SABR Defensive Index accounted for 30 votes, which is roughly 25 percent of the total number of votes. Managers and coaches received the information on the stats as a guide when they were mailed ballots in September.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.