Third baseman is first Ranger to win since Michael Young in '08
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre captured his third Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence, it was announced late Tuesday night.
In a vote among league coaches and managers, Beltre was selected ahead of two other finalists: Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox and Evan Longoria of the Rays. He is the first Rangers player to win a Gold Glove since Michael Young at shortstop in 2008.
"It means a lot," Beltre said. "Obviously I'm proud of my defense. It's part of my game that I take pride in. To be chosen as one of the best in the league is quite an accomplishment. Defense is not easy and there is a lot of competition out there."
Beltre ranked second in the American League in fielding percentage among third basemen and third in range factor, with 2.76 chances per nine innings. STATS Inc. ranked him second in zone rating while Fangraphs gave him the highest ultimate zone rating.
AL GOLD GLOVE WINNERS
The American League winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, with the number of Gold Gloves each has won.
Matt Wieters, Orioles
Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Erick Aybar, Angels
Alex Gordon, Royals
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Nick Markakis, Orioles
Mark Buehrle, White Sox
Beltre, who will get a $100,000 bonus for winning the award, also won in 2007 and 2008 for the Mariners and is now the 16th third baseman to win at least three Gold Gloves at the position. Longoria won it the past two seasons. Beltre is the first Rangers third baseman to win a Gold Glove since Buddy Bell won six straight in 1979-84.
Prior to Beltre winning in 2007-08, Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez won six straight Gold Gloves. Rangers manager Ron Washington was Chavez's infield coach during the first five years of that stretch. Chavez credits Washington for much of his success as a defensive player, and once gave his coach one of his Gold Glove Awards. Just like Chavez, Beltre was helped by Washington's passion for defense.
"I love playing defense, and it means a lot that Wash is a defensive guy," Beltre said. "Wash is one of those guys who make it easy and fun to play defense."
Ian Kinsler was a finalist at second base but lost out to Dustin Pedroia. No other Rangers were named finalists.
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez leads the Rangers all-time with 10 Gold Gloves. Bell and catcher Jim Sundberg both have six.