Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed captures NL Gold Glove award

AL Catcher – Salvador Perez, Royals (fifth)

Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed won his first Gold Glove award on Sunday night, bringing an end to a three-year win streak at the position by the Giants’ Brandon Crawford in the National League.

“It feels pretty cool,” Ahmed said on the ESPN show that unveiled the awards. “It’s an award I’ve obviously followed as a shortstop and a guy who values defense for my whole career. And even going back to before I was in the major leagues, it’s something I looked up to as a young kid. So it’s very special.”

Ahmed has long been regarded as one of the league’s better defensive shortstops, but this was his first year even as a finalist for the award. That is probably largely due to the fact he had been unable to stay healthy over the previous two seasons, missing large chunks of 2016 (hip injury) and 2017 (hand fractures).

But Ahmed stayed healthy in 2018, and he tied the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons for the most defensive runs saved in the majors by a shortstop with 21.

“I think I have gotten a little bit better,” Ahmed said during a phone interview last week. “I don’t know how the numbers would say that, but I feel like I’ve gotten a little more consistent, a little more aware of different game situations and a little smarter out there.

“But it’s definitely being out there every single day, playing more days, more innings out there. I definitely feel like if I had done that the past few years I’d maybe be up for the award those years a well. Hopefully, I’m going to keep that trend of healthy seasons going.”

Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke also took home an award, the fifth of his career, all of them coming in the past five seasons. He has won a Gold Glove in each of his three seasons with the Diamondbacks.

Diamondbacks right fielder Jon Jay was a finalist, but that award went to Braves right fielder Nick Markakis.

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