Rawlings Baseball has released the finalists for the 2022 Gold Glove awards via their Twitter account. The award goes to the best defensive player at their given position with a winner in each division. Rawlings describes the award as one that is not decided solely on metrics or statistics, but by a combination of stats, a qualifying amount of playing time, and eye tests. The 2022 Blue Jays have five nominees this year.
After the finalists are decided, each team has seven members of the coaching staff vote and one of the seven must be the manager. The coaching staff cannot vote for members of their own team.
Whether they win or not, just being a finalist is an honour, as at the very least it puts a player on the map as an above-average defender at their respective position. Here are the Jays’ nominees:
José Berríos: Pitcher
Key stat: 1 DRS (defensive run saved)
The Gold Glove Award for a pitcher is an odd one. Of any position on the field, pitchers care about and practice defense the least. The ability to defend your position as a pitcher can honestly just come down to luck as well. How you land after your windup can oftentimes determine your ability to make the play.
If you land square to the plate in an athletic position, as Berrios does, you’re obviously more likely to make a potential play. Berrios’s consistent and athletic mechanics put him in the position to make plays with regularity. This would be Jose’s first award.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: First base
Key stat: 3 DRS
In Vladdy’s third full season at first base for the Blue Jays, he receives national recognition for his talent with the glove.
Since making the transition to the opposite corner, Guerrero has been able to make catches given his big frame and long legs. After countless hours of training, Vlad excels at turning double plays, making picks in the dirt, and knowing when to come off the bag when necessary. This would be his first award.
Matt Chapman: Third base
Key stat: .988 fielding percentage
We all knew this was coming. While the analytics don’t like him, the eye test says it all. Chapman is a vacuum at the hot corner for the Blue Jays and is one of the more automatic outs on the infield for the Jays in recent memory. His .988 fielding percentage led all qualified third basemen. This would be his fourth Gold Glove.
Jackie Bradley Jr.: Right field
Bradley Jr. is a staple of Gold Glove calibre play in the outfield. He’s shifted his talents from centre to right field and hasn’t skipped a beat. He still manages to track, field, and dive for balls with grace all the while having a rocket of an arm. This would be his second Gold Glove and his first as a right fielder.
Whit Merrifield: Utility
This is the first year that Rawlings is offering a Gold Glove to the best defensive utility man in their respective league. Whit Merrifield receives a nomination for this inaugural award due to his exploits throughout the field. He proved invaluable for the team down the stretch, as he played a solid second base while filling in in the outfield when needed.