Oct 29, 2013, 8:18 PM EST
Superb defensive seasons by Denard Span and Ian Desmond weren’t quite superb enough to earn baseball’s highest fielding honor.
Neither Span nor Desmond won Gold Glove Awards, which were officially handed out tonight by Rawlings, though each Nationals player was a finalist at his respective position.
Span lost out to the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez as the NL’s top defensive center fielder. Gomez, a first-time Gold Glove winner, was the league’s top-rated center fielder in most advanced metrics, including runs prevented, ultimate zone rating and range factor. He and the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, the other finalist in the NL, shared the league lead with 11 assists from center field.
Span did enjoy a standout defensive season, his first in Washington. He was the NL’s only regular center fielder who didn’t commit an error. He ranked second only to Gomez with 379 putouts. He ranked third in runs prevented and ultimate zone rating, trailing only Gomez and the Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollack.
Desmond was a Gold Glove finalist for the second straight year but remains in search of his first award, having lost out this season to the Braves’ Andrelton Simmons. Not that there’s any shame in that: Simmons rated as the NL’s best defensive player at any position, saving 31.6 runs, recording 499 assists and turning 86 double plays. He committed 14 errors, tied for the fourth-fewest among NL shortstops.
Desmond enjoyed another sterling season in the field, though only the Cubs’ Starlin Castro committed more than Desmond’s 20 errors at shortstop in the NL. Desmond had the league’s third-best range factor, ranked fifth with 11.6 runs prevented and turned 88 double plays, second only to the Cardinals’ Pete Kozma.
The Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki was the other finalist in the NL at shortstop.
Gold Glove awards were selected from a vote of NL managers and coaches near season’s end.
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