Seattle Mariners rookie first baseman Evan White and shortstop J.P. Crawford are now Gold Glove winners.
Both first-time finalists, the two Seattle infielders were announced as American League honorees Tuesday evening on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.
The last time two Mariners won baseball’s top defensive award in the same year was 2010, when outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez were recognized. White and Crawford are the first infield duo to win for Seattle since first baseman John Olerud and second baseman Bret Boone in 2003.
White’s elite defensive ability made him an anchor in Seattle’s infield in his first season in the majors.
The 24-year-old, who beat out two AL West rivals in Houston’s Yuli Gurriel and Oakland’s Matt Olson, is the first rookie first baseman to ever win the award since its creation in 1957.
“You don’t see many first basemen that can do what our guy can do,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said in September. “Evan’s been fantastic all year with the length around the bag, with the stretching, the picking the balls out of the dirt, the range going to catch pop ups, the throwing arm. … He’s got everything you’re looking for in a defensive player, and a ton of confidence on top of it.
“He wants the ball hit to him. He wants to be in the middle of it. And he is. On most nights he’s a big contributor to what we’ve done defensively.”
White appeared in 54 of the Mariners’ 60 games this season, and led all AL first basemen in defensive runs saved (seven), scoops (seven) and out of zone plays (11).
He was one of six first basemen to record only one error this season, and one of three from the AL, joining Gurriel and Olson.
White posted a .998 fielding percentage, and ended the season with 49 consecutive games without making an error, converting each of his 363 chances during that span.
He also ranked second among AL first basemen with a 2.2 Ultimate Zone Rating, per FanGraphs, trailing only Olson (2.5).
White becomes the second Mariners rookie to win a Gold Glove after Ichiro won his first in 2001. White is the 11th rookie to ever win a Gold Glove.
He is the second Mariners first baseman to ever be honored, joining Olerud, who won in 2000, 2002 and 2003.
Crawford, meanwhile, made significant defensive strides in his first two seasons with Seattle winning his first Gold Glove ahead of Houston’s Carlos Correa and Detroit’s Niko Goodrum.
The 25-year-old finished the shortened season leading all AL shortstops with 62 out of zone plays.
His 4.9 defensive runs above average ranked second, behind Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor (8.4), and his six defensive runs saved also ranked second, trailing only Correa (eight). His 2.5 UZR also ranked second, behind Lindor (5.8).
“We’ve seen him make a ton of highlight reel type plays, but it’s the consistency,” Servais said of Crawford’s defensive growth in September. “It’s the way he’s just gotten better in his work before the games, and I don’t think he gets enough credit for the type of arm that he has. He can really throw. The range is there. His first step, his angles to ground balls, his reading the ball off the bat and knowing the speed of the runner — all those things. He’s checking all the boxes.”