Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche and shortstop Ian Desmond are finalists for a 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award. The winners will be announced Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
With one of the best defensive teams in the National League, it’s no surprise to see the Nationals with two finalists for this years awards, which are voted on by coaches and managers around the league.
The Nationals’ shortstop had a superb season, both at the plate and in the field, and continued to distance himself from a 34-error rookie season that had plenty labeling him as error-prone. In 2011, Desmond lowered that number to 23 and committed just 15 this season while often displaying exceptional range and a strong throwing arm.
Desmond’s abilities in the infield, where he was ranked fourth in the NL among shortstops with a 4.8 Ultimate Zone Rating, helped solidify the Nationals’ defense there and their pitchers often pointed to him as a strong influence keeping them calm during games.
But part of what has helped Desmond — as well as the Nationals’ other infielders — flourish has been the presence of LaRoche at first base.
The easy-going first baseman was a rock at the corner position this season saving countless errors from his infielders and committing just seven of his own.
Neither Desmond nor LaRoche have ever won a Gold Glove before in their careers and the Nationals’ only previous winner is third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who was honored in 2009.
Desmond will be competing against Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart, Miami’s Jose Reyes and Philadlphia’s Jimmy Rollins while LaRoche is up against Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto. Only Rollins has won a Gold Glove previously from this year’s shortstop group while Votto was the 2011 winner at first base.