While the most spectacular gold rush in this area was discovered in nearby California during the late 1840s, the gold hauled on Tuesday was nearly impressive. That’s when Diamondbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and centerfielder A. J. Pollock earned individual Gold Glove awards.
Voted by Major League managers and coaches as the best fielders in their respective leagues, Pollock, along with Goldschmidt, equaled the haul by Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina and right-fielder Jason Heyward. The Cardinals and Diamondbacks were the only National League teams to have more than one Gold Glove winner.
The awards were also a complement to manager Chip Hale and his dependency on shifts and the placement of defensive players in the best position to gain an out. For Pollock, in particular, the Gold Glove was the culmination of a break-out season for the native of Marlborough, Conn. The combination of the Gold Glove and Pollock’s development as an ideal number two hitter in the line-up clearly raises his stature as an elite player in the game.
For his part, Pollock was credited with saving 72 defensive runs and was the best in the majors. As well, Pollock ranked first among National League center-fielders with 347 putouts and in total chances (355).
As a team, the Diamondbacks finished fourth in the National League in overall fielding. Only the National League West Division-leading Dodgers, Giants and Marlins finished with better fielding percentages.
“We created a culture and understand how important defense really is,” Pollock told ESPN late Tuesday night. “Everyone feeds on each other. It starts with (Goldschmidt). Everyone sees that he does it well, and then we all want to do it.”
In winning a Gold Glove, the achievement for Pollock is all that more significant. That’s because Chase Field is uniquely a hitter’s park and pitchers and outfielders usually have difficult experiences. The fact that the Arizona pitching staff ended the season with a 4,04 ERA and only the Rockies and Phillies ‘ pitching staffs allowed more home runs, Pollock’s ability to remain among the league’s defensive leaders tends to be that much more remarkable.
“There are challenges in playing in Chase,” Pollock added. “It’s a big outfield, and the center field wall is concrete. Usually, the concrete walls are found in right field and left field, so you have to know your environment. It is a unique place.”
For Goldschmidt, the Gold Glove is his second such piece of hardware. Two years ago, the 28-year-old won his initial Gold Glove award and joins second baseman Orlando Hudson as the only Arizona infielders to win multiple Gold Glove awards.
Relative to numbers, Goldschmidt led all major leaguers at his position with 18 defensive runs saved, 1,378 putouts and 1,505 total chances. He ranked third in the NL with a .9966 fielding percentage (five errors), trailing the Giants’ Brandon Belt (.9973) and the Mets’ Lucas Duda (.9973).
Though the Gold Gloves are given for defense, both Pollock and Goldschmidt essentially carried the Diamondbacks offensively. In Pollock’s break-out year, he hit a career-high .315, collected 39 doubles, six triples, slammed 20 home runs, knocked in 76 runs and stole a team-high 39 bases. Goldschmidt batted a career-high .321 and contributed with 38 doubles, two triples, 33 homes runs and drove in 110 runs.
Goldschmidt and Pollock have an opportunity for further recognition with the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award fan vote. This allows fans across the country to vote for the best defender in each league. Voting is ongoing at rawlings.com. Fans can only select one player among the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners to take home the “best of the best” honor.
In a move to strengthen their catching position within the organization, the Diamondbacks’ acquired Chris Hermann in a trade with the Minnesota Twins Tuesday. In a one-for-one swap, the Diamondbacks dealt outfield prospect Daniel Palka to Minnesota in exchange.
Over parts of the last four seasons, Herrmann, at 27 years-old, appeared in 142 games for the Twins. Defensively, he appeared at catcher (69 games), right field (36), left field (17) and first base (2). In 389 career plate appearances, he has a .181 average, 15 doubles, one triple, six homers and 33 RBI. Over his last three seasons for Triple-A Rochester, he has played in 152 games and hit .261 with 30 doubles, seven triples, eight homers and 54 RBIs. He was the Twins’ sixth-round draft pick in the 2009 draft out of the University of Miami.
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin and the Diamondbacks have parted ways. A late season call-up from Triple-A Reno, Chacin went 2-1 in four starts, a 3.38 ERA and two quality starts.
Chacin refused to accept an outright assignment to the minors. By doing so, he opted out any Arizona obligation and is now a free agent.