Within the baseball world, Adam LaRoche has always been considered one of the better defensive first basemen in the game.
Now he has the hardware to prove it.
It was announced tonight that LaRoche has won the first Rawlings Gold Glove of his career. It comes after a season in which he posted a .995 fielding percentage, made just seven errors and had a UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) of 6.1, second-best among National League first baseman.
LaRoche beat out fellow finalists Freddie Freeman of the Braves and Joey Votto of the Reds for the award handed out to the top defensive NL first baseman. Voting is done by major league managers and coaches, with managers not allowed to vote for their own players.
It’s long been thought that a player’s offensive ability ends up factoring into the voting on Gold Gloves, even though it clearly shouldn’t, and so it’s interesting that LaRoche wins a Gold Glove this season after hitting 33 home runs and putting up 100 RBIs.
He’s certainly deserving of the honor based on solely his defensive skills, but the monster offensive season probably didn’t hurt matters.
Regardless, this award caps off what was an exceptional 2012 season for LaRoche, one which should help him land a pretty nice contract this offseason, be it from the Nationals or one of the other 29 major league teams.
LaRoche is the third Washington-based major leaguer to win a Gold Glove, joining Ryan Zimmerman (2009) and Senators catcher Earl Battey (1960).
Update: Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond was named one of four finalists for the Gold Glove given to an NL shortstop, but the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins took that award.
Update II: Here’s the complete list of Gold Glove winners, their team and the number of awards they’ve won.
P - Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay (1) and Jake Peavy, Chicago (1) - tie
C - Matt Wieters, Baltimore (2)
1B - Mark Teixeira, New York (5)
2B - Robinson Cano, New York (2)
3B - Adrian Beltre, Texas (4)
SS - J.J. Hardy, Baltimore (1)
LF - Alex Gordon, Kansas City (2)
CF - Adam Jones, Baltimore (2)
RF - Josh Reddick, Oakland (1)
P - Mark Buehrle. Miami (4)
C - Yadier Molina, St. Louis (5)
1B - Adam LaRoche, Washington (1)
2B - Darwin Barney, Chicago (2)
3B - Chase Headley, San Diego (1)
SS - Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia (4)
LF - Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado (2)
CF - Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh (1)
RF - Jason Heyward, Atlanta (1)