The minor league Gold Glove award winners were named on Monday morning. Rawlings hands out one Gold Glove per position throughout the minors. Unlike the MLB awards where you just have to be the best in your own league to receive one, the minor league winners have to beat out every other player at their position, regardless of the league/level.
First baseman Will Craig was named a Gold Glove winner for the first time, as he continued to improve his defense since moving to the position in 2017 from third base. Craig did about as well as you can do defensively as far as errors go this season. He committed one in 952 innings and 886 chances, posting a .999 fielding percentage, which was three points higher than any MLB player. That’s after 15 errors in the previous two seasons combined. Craig also improved his play around the bag the last two years with better conditioning, and he has been better at picking throws in the dirt. A lot of his improvements came last year, but this year he was obviously much more sure-handed.
Ke’Bryan Hayes won the Gold Glove for third base for the third straight season. Hayes won the Gold Glove in 2017 with Bradenton and then was the only repeat winner in 2018 with Altoona. He led all of baseball with a .989 fielding percentage at third base this season, committing three errors in 287 total chances.
While Craig had a strong season at first base this year and deserved the Gold Glove, Hayes has the overall skills to win multiple Gold Gloves in the majors. He leads the minors in fielding percentage every year, but that only tells part of the story. Yes, he is sure-handed every year, but he’s also getting to plays most third baseman don’t make, with solid range side-to-side and coming in on plays as well as anyone in baseball. That has led to three straight Gold Glove awards from Rawlings.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.