On Tuesday night, Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart and Miami Marlins left fielder Marcell Ozuna became the first players to win both the Minor League and Major League Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, as the duo claimed its first Gold Gloves at the Major League level.
Barnhart won the Minor League award in 2011 with the Class A Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League. Ozuna won his Minor League award for Class A Advanced Jupiter of the Florida State League in 2012.
The 26-year-old Barnhart is the third Reds catcher to win the Gold Glove, joining Johnny Edwards in 1963-64 and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, a 10-time winner from 1968-77.
"It means everything to me," Barnhart told MLB.com. "To be able to share something that [Bench] has, with everything he brought to the city of Cincinnati as far as baseball is concerned and other things, it's just extremely special. I've grown up as a guy that really focused, because I truly thought that the reason I would get to the Major Leagues was because of my defense."
That was the early thinking, said Tom Nichols, the Dragons' play-by-play announcer, who knew six years ago he was watching a whiz with the glove.
Video: Barnhart lays out for diving catch in foul territory
"You knew Tucker had a future in the Major Leagues based on defense alone," Nichols said. "He was consistently accurate with his throws. He didn't have throws that bounced in front of the bag and went out into center field. When we talk about catching prospects in the Midwest League, Tucker is the standard."
Last season with the Reds, Barnhart committed one error in 926 1/3 innings and threw out 44 percent of the runners attempting to steal. In 92 games with Dayton, he committed only two errors in 925 chances.
Offseason MiLB include
Ozuna, who made the National League All-Star team in 2017, won the Gold Glove in his first season in left field. While Ozuna made a name for himself with his bat after hitting .312 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs, he also posted a .984 fielding percentage while committing five errors and is credited with saving 10 runs defensively.
With the Hammerheads, he committed only four errors while playing all three outfield positions.
"It means a lot to me because it is one more achievement in my career -- something that every player would like to win," Ozuna told MLB.com. "And I thank God I was able to achieve it."