The Pittsburgh Pirates saw one of their outfielders received a Golden Glove Award at the end of the 2018 season. It is not the one that many would have thought.
When one looks at the Pittsburgh Pirates roster it is easy to say that the team’s best overall defender is center fielder Starling Marte. He has won two Gold Gloves one in 2015 and the other coming in 2016. In general, he is easy to watch in the field. He is fast and tracks down a lot of tough plays. Also, he has one of the best arms in baseball.
However, Marte was not honored as the best defensive player on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2018 season. Instead, left fielder Corey Dickerson was credited for playing really good defense and earned one of the three Gold Gloves that are handed out outfielders. This was Dickerson’s first defensive award.
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Dickerson late last offseason from the Tampa Bay Rays. When the team brought him in there were two things that he was noted for: his potential power that he could add to the team and his average defense. Many were concerned whether or not Dickerson would be able to handle PNC’s left field. Dickerson’s previous year in Tampa, he rated as a -1 defensive run saved with just a +3 UZR/150.
Well, last year Dickerson made big-time improvement knowing that PNC’s left field would require more than adequate. He worked hard to become a better fielder and quickly silenced those questions about his defensive abilities. The 29-year-old played 124 games in left field last season and had 7 outfield assists and only made 1 error.
His defensive metrics spoke even more about Dickerson’s improved defense. He rated first in the National League and second overall in baseball for defensive runs saved. As mentioned earlier, he was credited for -1 in 2017, last year he improved that number to +16. In terms of UZR/150, he rated second in the National League and third in baseball with a value of +12, compared to +3 in 2017.
All this led to Dickerson earning his first career Gold Glove Award. It really embodies the work that he put in to become a better all-around player. It also made a big difference for the Pittsburgh Pirates as a team to have two very good defenders in the outfielder.
This year Dickerson hopes to continue to bring excellent defense. He has reflected on his defensive improvements this spring. He told MLB.com’s Adam Berry that he gives outfield coach Kimera Bartee a lot of the credit for making him a better fielder. So Dickerson felt that need to give thanks to Bartee for helping him win a Gold Glove last season.
Well, according to Adam Berry Dickerson received his customed Gold Glove Rawlings glove. These are unique gloves that have a gold lining indicating Dickerson’s achievement last season. He was given four gloves to use throughout the season. Instead, he will only be keeping three of the gloves. The outfielder gave Bartee one of the gloves as a type of thank you for making him into a better defender. Here is what Dickerson told Berry about giving Bartee the glove:
"“It was a matter of respect, just telling him thank you for his big part in it,” Dickerson said. “A lot of people that help get overlooked, so it was good to recognize him.”"
A really nice gesture by a player who has quickly become one of Pittsburgh’s favorite Pirates. Dickerson came to the Buc’s noted for his offense, but now looks to be one of the team’s better all-around players. Hopefully, he continues to play strong defense in the 2019 season.