Two former Diamond Hogs brought home one of the most prestigious defensive accolades in professional baseball Sunday.
The 2015 Golden Spikes winner Andrew Benintendi, who played for Arkansas in 2014 and 2015 and 2015 American League Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel, who played for Arkansas 2007-2009, won Major League Baseball’s Gold Glove Award for being the best defensive players at their positions for the 2021 season.
Benintendi won his first career Gold Glove. It is Keuchel’s fifth career Gold Glove, including three in a row from 2014-2016.
“Benny Baseball” is no stranger to defensive highlights. Benintendi made multiple highlight reel catches in the Boston Red Sox’s 2018 World Series run, including a diving catch with bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning against Keuchel’s Houston Astros. The catch saved the Red Sox from losing game four of the American League Championship Series, and it gave his team a 3-1 series lead.
His 2021 season with his new team, the Kansas City Royals, did not have the same end result but he etched his name in the history books and earned recognition as the best defensive left fielder in the American League.
Benintendi finished 2021 with a .987 fielding percentage, committing three errors on 234 defensive chances. He topped American League left fielders with six outfield assists and seven defensive runs saved. A Royals left fielder won the Gold Glove for the fifth consecutive year after now-retired Alex Gordon won it in his final four seasons in MLB.
Keuchel earned his fifth Gold Glove in eight seasons. He also brought home his fifth Fielding Bible Award as the best fielding pitcher in MLB, as voted on by a 17-man expert panel. It was his first since winning consecutively from 2014-2017.
He does not have the same highlight reel as Benintendi, but Keuchel is one of the best defensive pitchers of this generation. Keuchel is the third Chicago White Sox pitcher to win a Gold Glove, and his five awards tie him for eighth all-time among pitchers.
The 2009 seventh round pick posted a career-high 12 defensive runs saved in 2021. Only six players attempted to steal a base with Keuchel on the mound, and four of them were thrown out.
He had a .980 fielding percentage and led all pitchers with 47 outs recorded on 48 attempts during his 162 innings, narrowly missing out on his sixth error-free season. His career fielding percentage sits at .975 after he has recorded just 10 errors over 10 seasons and 400 defensive opportunities.
Both Keuchel and Benintendi produced stellar defensive seasons culminating in their Gold Gloves, and the pair of former Hogs will look to continue the momentum into 2022.