The Rawlings Gold Glove winners for overall fielding excellence were announced live Sunday night in an hour-long "Baseball Tonight" special on ESPN. Three of the five Blue Jays finalists won, including third baseman Matt Chapman, starting pitcher José Berríos and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.
Catcher Alejandro Kirk and left fielder Daulton Varsho were both runners up. That tied Toronto with the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs for the most winners at three.
Matt Chapman wins his fourth career Gold Glove at the hot corner, and is the second Blue Jays third baseman to win the honour after Kelly Gruber in 1990. Chappy led all AL third basemen with 12 total Defensive Runs Saved (commonly referred to as DRS) in 2023, upping his career total to 92. The other finalists, Alex Bregman and José Ramírez had 5 and 1, respectively.
As MLB notes in their summary, “Since Chapman made his MLB debut in 2017, no other AL third baseman is close to that [career total of 92] figure -- Isiah Kiner-Falefa is second, with 19 DRS.”
It appears likely that the Blue Jays will make a $20.325 million qualifying offer to the free agent Chapman by 5 p.m. EST on Monday.
José Berríos won his first ever Gold Glove after being named a finalist last year. He beat out Sonny Gray and Pablo López, and joins Marcus Stroman (2017) and R.A. Dickey (2013) as the only pitchers in Blue Jays franchise history to win a Gold Glove. According to the Fielding Bible, Berríos tied for third among MLB starters with 5 total defensive runs saved. He also led all AL starters in infield assists (26) and ranked 7th in putouts (15).
And what more can be said of Kevin Kiermaier’s glove in CF? He won his fourth career Gold Glove Award and first since 2019 with Tampa Bay, beating out Julio Rodríguez and Luis Robert Jr. As MLB notes, “He tied for the league lead among center fielders with 18 defensive runs saved and 13 outs above average [OAA]. He’s the fifth Blue Jays outfielder to win a Gold Glove Award -- the others are Vernon Wells (2004-06), Shawn Green (1999), Devon White (1991-95) and Jesse Barfield (1986-87).”
The fact Kiermaier tied Varsho with a DRS of +18 in CF may have played a role in Varsho not winning in left field. While he started 96 games in LF, he also played 59 games in CF, which effectively split his vote. The winner, Steven Kwan of the Guardians, won his second consecutive Gold Glove after leading all MLB left fielders with a DRS of +16 and an OAA of +9.
Varsho led all outfielders with a DRS of +29 and was 6th with an OAA of +11, but he split those stats with left fielders and centre fielders because 10 of those outs above average came in CF, and he tied with Kiermaier at +18 for DRS in CF, but was +11 in LF, which trailed Kwan.
Former Blue Jay Gabriel Moreno also won his first Gold Glove at catcher. He led all catchers with a DRS of +20, as well as Statcast's ‘caught stealing above average’ stat at +9 in 2023, becoming the first ever D-backs catcher to win a Gold Glove. He’s also the 6th youngest catcher to win his first Gold Glove honour, at 23 years and 229 days. Blue Jays catcher Kirk was a runner up in the AL to Jonah Heim of the World Series champion Rangers.
And Jays fans, Platinum Glove voting is now open, so be sure to vote for your favorite player.