For the ninth time in Texas Rangers history, two Rangers have won Gold Glove awards in the same season.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa at third. Joey Gallo in right field. It was the first Gold Glove for each player.
The Rangers are used to having an elite glove at third. Adrian Beltre won a Gold Glove three times. Buddy Bell, six times.
Gallo’s win is even more rare. It’s only the third time a Rangers outfielder has won the award. Gary Pettis won in 1990 and Juan Beniquez in 1977.
Kiner-Falefa and Gallo become the first double winners for the Rangers since 2016 when Adrian Beltre won at third and Mitch Moreland at first.
In 2005, Mark Teixeira, first, and Kenny Rogers, pitcher won. Rogers won in 2002 along with shortstop Alex Rodriguez, as well as in 2000 along with catcher Pudge Rodriguez, who won the year before with fellow teammate Rafael Palmeiro, who primarily played DH that season, playing just twenty-eight games at first that year.
Other two-time Ranger winners in the same year include 1981 with Jim Sundberg, catcher, and Buddy Bell, third, a repeat of 1980 and 1979. In 1977 both Sundberg and Beniquez won.
The Rangers leader in Gold Glove wins is Pudge Rodriguez with ten. Bell and Sundberg both won six.
Coming into the season, Kiner-Falefa didn’t have a position. He had been shuffled around in 2019, including a failed attempt to make him a catcher. But he quickly earned a starting position because of his bat in both spring trainings. On a team that was desperate for offense, he was one of the lone bright spots, forcing the Rangers to put him at third while they shifted Todd Frazier to first. He started forty-two games at third and fifteen at short.
Offensively, Kiner-Falefa had a steady ]year, hitting .280 with an OPS+ of 91, meaning he was slightly below major league average offensively. He was at .300 for most of the year until slowing down in mid-September.
Joey Gallo, after the promise of 2019, had a disappointing year at the plate in 2020. He put up a .181 average with just a .301 OBP and dismal .679 OPS. To put it in context with the rest of the hitters in baseball, Gallo’s OPS+ was just 84, the second-worst of his career. The Shed got to his head.
But at least they both brought their defense with them in 2020. So, congratulations to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo for winning Gold Gloves. It’s a remarkable accomplishment for a team that doesn’t value defense.