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Nolan's streak continues with 7th straight GG

@harding_at_mlb
November 3, 2019

DENVER -- Performing better than the previous year is the biggest defensive challenge for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was announced Sunday as the National League Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner for the seventh time in as many Major League seasons.

DENVER -- Performing better than the previous year is the biggest defensive challenge for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was announced Sunday as the National League Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner for the seventh time in as many Major League seasons.

Arenado ended the season believing he met the challenge.

The numbers certainly said so.

According to FanGraphs' measure of Ultimate Zone Rating, Arenado went from 5.8 last year to 12.0 in 2019. Only his 14.6 during his rookie season of '13 was higher. As for UZR per 150 games, considered a stat with better perspective, he scored a 12.0. The only third baseman in the game to match him was the American League winner, the A's Matt Chapman, who was once Arenado's younger teammate at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, Calif.

Gold Glove Award winners: American League | National League

As one of the NL’s nine Gold Glove winners, Arenado is now eligible for the Platinum Glove Award, which is given to the best defensive player from each league. Voting for the award, which was established in 2011, is open at Rawlings.com and will continue until 10:59 p.m. CT on Thursday. The two league winners will be announced on Friday. Arenado was last year's NL Platinum Glove Award winner.

“I take a lot of pride in defense and trying to be really good, and fortunately enough this year, I feel like I was better this year than I was last year,” Arenado said. “That’s what I’m trying to do, find ways to get better on both sides of the ball.

“It’s finding a way to be better by staying as consistent as you can. The best players in this game are consistent, year in and year out. That’s what I’m trying to do on defense. It’s harder to do on offense, but I’m trying my best to do that, too.”

Arenado, 28, was one of two Rockies chosen as NL finalists. Shortstop Trevor Story was a first-time finalist, but the D-backs’ Nick Ahmed took home the trophy for the second straight year.

Arenado’s seven Gold Glove Awards to start a career represent the second-longest such run, behind Ichiro Suzuki’s 10. Arenado’s streak is the longest among active players. Among third basemen in history, only Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (16 years, 1960-75) and Mike Schmidt (nine, 1976-84) had longer streaks.

"Surreal," Arenado said. "I thank God I get to play this game and do this."

Arenado’s trophy is a testament to his preparation and pain threshold.

After the 2018 season, Arenado -- whose size and strength make him one of the most productive offensive players at his position -- thought he didn’t move as well in the field.

So last offseason, after talking to former teammate Matt Holliday, he eliminated cheese and other dairy products outside of eggs, and cut himself off from any kind of bread after 5 p.m. This was in addition to agility workouts. He adjusted during the season, when calories are more necessary.

But none of this prevented the bumps and bruises of a season.

Arenado went through a stretch in June and July when he was hit on the left forearm and hand by pitches and repeatedly fouled balls off his left foot. Yet, he managed to play in 155 games. Offensively, he had a rough July before rebounding in the final two months. There was no noticeable drop defensively, even when he dealt with pain.

“One big part about that is I had a lot of help,” Arenado said. “People off the field were helping me -- my agent, my trainer in the offseason, Scott Fricke; my trainers during the season, Gabe Bauer [Rockies' director of physical performance] and Mike Jasperson [Rockies' physical performance coach], they were all critical in helping me. I can't thank them enough. They deserve the credit."

And his glove stayed gold.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.