Award season is in full swing, as Rawlings finally announces this year’s Gold Glove award winners.
At the top of this year’s list in the American League stands Mike Leake, this year’s winner at the pitcher position for the AL. Because Leake spent the majority of his 2019 campaign in Seattle, his eligibility falls under the Mariners and the American League, which means this ultimately goes down as a Gold Glove win for the Mariners, despite Leake being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks and the National League on July 31.
This felt like just a matter of time. Though Leake has been about league average in terms of production on the mound throughout his career, he’s been far and wide one of the most athletic and sound defenders at the position for years. However, this was actually the first time he had ever been nominated for the award, but now he’s finally receiving the recognition many have felt he’s deserved.
Pitcher defense and athleticism is often way too overlooked in this league. On occasion, a game can swing not on a pitcher’s arm, but by his poor defense or lack of athleticism to get off the mound in time and/or in proper fashion. Ultimately, defense isn’t going to be favored over a pitcher’s ability to, well, pitch, but it’s also a nice plus to have if someone with the athleticism of a Leake or a Taijuan Walker come around.
For as irrelevant as it is to the future of the Mariners, or even the current state of the Mariners, it’s still nice to see some well-deserved hardware handed out to a guy that, despite not (understandably) wanting to be in Seattle, he gave everything he had in a season that was completely lost. Our hat’s off to Mike, who now gets to pitch close to home in Arizona with a shiny new piece of history sitting atop his mantle.