Tonight, Nolan Arenado completed a startling transformation, winning a Gold Glove Award as a rookie third baseman just years after he was expected to move across the infield to play first base. In beating out the Dodgers Juan Uribe and Mets' David Wright, Arenado accomplished something significant.
Before Nolan Arenado, only nine men won a Gold Glove Award as a rookie, and none of them were National League third basemen. It is very difficult for rookies to gain such an elite reputation in mere months, as Troy Tulowitzki knows all too well. Arenado, though, had a flair for the dramatic, and despite spending only five months in the big leagues, he kept a steady buzz by making the ridiculous play consistently.
For the first time in the award's history, a sabermetric defensive metric was directly applied to the award's result. A full 25% of a player's score is made up of a "SABR Defensive Index." This likely helped Arenado clear that rookie hurdle, as Arenado ranked 2nd in the NL in UZR (behind Juan Uribe) and had more Defensive Runs Saved than any two third basemen in the league .
On Monday, Arenado lost out to Manny Machado for the Fielding Bible Award at third base yet came in second place in the voting, tops in the National League.