NEW YORK — Catch this: Buster Posey is the new Gold Glove backstop in the National League.
The San Francisco Giants star unseated Yadier Molina behind the plate Tuesday when Rawlings announced its annual honours for fielding excellence. Posey was picked as the NL catcher, ending Molina’s eight-year reign with St. Louis.
“I don’t know if it makes it any more special or not that he had won it eight years in a row because I think I’d be happy with it either way,” Posey said on a conference call. “This one’s up there for me. I’m a firm believer you win ballgames with pitching and defence.”
Posey was joined on the Gold Glove roster by a pair of Giants teammates, the double-play combination of shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Joe Panik.
Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado won for the fourth consecutive year, and Arizona pitcher Zack Greinke took his third straight prize.
Other winners in the NL were Atlanta centre fielder Ender Inciarte, Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo and right fielder Jason Heyward from the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
Young shortstop Francisco Lindor from AL champion Cleveland was a first-time winner, along with Texas first baseman Mitch Moreland, Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler, New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner and Boston right fielder Mookie Betts.
Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez won his fourth Gold Glove in a row, Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel took his third straight and Tampa Bay centre fielder Kevin Kiermaier repeated from last year.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was rewarded for the fifth time overall.
“I’m pretty surprised an old man like me can win the Gold Glove,” said the 37-year-old Beltre, who was thrilled Moreland won as well.
“I think I’m happier for him than for me because for the last couple of years, he has played such a great defensive first base and was never recognized,” Beltre said. “Most of my mistakes are throwing the ball and Mitch has saved me so many errors and makes things look easier for me.”
The 22-year-old Lindor became the first Indians player to win a Gold Glove since outfielder Grady Sizemore in 2008, and their second shortstop after Omar Vizquel won every year from 1994-2001.
Votes are submitted in September by managers and coaches who cannot choose their own players. Three years ago, Rawlings added a sabermetric component to the Gold Glove selection process as well.