Brett Gardner has long been considered to be one of the top defensive left fielders in MLB. Now, the New York Yankees star has the hardware to prove it.

Yankees’ Brett Gardner Wins First Career Gold Glove Award

The 33-year-old won his first career Rawlings Gold Glove Award on Tuesday as the American League’s top defender in left field, beating out four-time winner Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals and the Houston Astros’ Colby Rasmus, the other two finalists.

Gardner is the first Yankees outfielder to win the prestigious award since Bernie Williams won four consecutive times from 1997-2000.  The Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts won the right field award and the Tampa Bay Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier got it for center field.

Gardner ranked second in the AL with a .989 fielding percentage and 249 putouts. Only Gordon beat him in fielding percentage with .991 and the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Upton beat him in putouts with 253.

According to Fangraphs, Gardner led the Majors with 86 plays made out of his zone (OOZ). Upton was the next-closest AL left fielder, with 75. Gardner also ranked second in the AL with 12 Defensive Runs Saved, trailing Rasmus (14), and was third in the AL with nine assists.

Gardner is also only the eighth Yankees outfielder to win a Gold Glove since the award’s inception in 1957, and the first Yankee to win the award at any position since Mark Teixeira (first base) and Robinson Cano (second base) since 2012.

Gardner batted .261/.351/.362 with 22 doubles, six triples, seven homers, 41 RBIs and 16 steals in 148 games this past season, his ninth with the Yankees.

He has made several spectacular plays for the Yankees during last season, including a big leap at the left-field wall to make a catch for the final out of the Yanks’ 7-6 home victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. The bases were loaded at the time.

The Gold Gloves are chosen with a combination of votes from managers and coaches– who cannot vote for their own players– and statistical analysis.

Gardner is currently under contract with the Yankees for $26 million through 2017.

The left fielder has been the subject of trade rumors that have only grown over recent years as the team seeks to get younger and to cut salary. Nevertheless, Gardner still has the tools to play a capable center field.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 24: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees makes the catch for the out on a hit by Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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