Despite the rise of recently created awards to recognize defense in MLB, like the Fielding Bible award, the Gold Glove remains the highest standard and the most prestigious recognition for defensive stars.
The winners of the Gold Glove awards in MLB are mostly determined by managers and coaches in each league, but the good news is that a sabermetric component accounts for 25 percent of the vote.
Useful stats such as Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), Outs Above Average (OAA), Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Framing Runs (for catchers) are considered, as they should.
The winners of the 2022 season were announced this week, and there was a lot of fresh blood among those recognized.
“2022 Gold Glove Awards: FOURTEEN first-time winners; that’s the most in a single year, surpassing the prior record of 11 in 2020 & 1958 (1st year of award). Surpasses by 3, even with 2 additional winners this year with the Utility add,” MLB stats expert Sarah Langs tweeted.
2022 Gold Glove Awards:
FOURTEEN first-time winners
that's the most in a single year, surpassing the prior record of 11 in 2020 & 1958 (1st year of award)
surpasses by 3, even with 2 additional winners this year with the Utility add
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) November 1, 2022
A Big Army Of First-Time Winners
Christian Walker, Brendan Rodgers, Dansby Swanson, Ian Happ, Brendan Donovan, Jose Trevino, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Andres Gimenez, Jeremy Pena, Ramon Urias, Steven Kwan, Myles Straw, Kyle Tucker, and Shane Bieber are the first-time winners.
Some of those are veterans, like Trevino, Walker, Happ, and Bieber.
However, most of them are young players starting their careers, and winning this award will provide them a solid platform in the eyes of fans and, of course, in future contract negotiations.
Defense is still an important aspect in today’s baseball, and with more tools to measure things like range, arm, or footwork, it’s becoming easier to determine who are the real standout defenders and to dismiss those who are more reputation than actual skill.