Urías wins 1st Orioles Gold Glove in 7 years

November 3rd, 2022

Urías joined an exclusive club on Tuesday, becoming only the third Orioles third baseman to win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award -- receiving the honor for the American League. The 28-year-old was among the record 14 first-time Gold Glove recipients in 2022, as the winners were announced on ESPN2 ahead of Game 3 of the World Series.

Toronto’s Matt Chapman and Cleveland’s José Ramírez were the other finalists for the AL third baseman honor. Baltimore center fielder Cedric Mullins was also a Gold Glove finalist, alongside Kansas City’s Michael A. Taylor and Cleveland's Myles Straw, who won at that position.

Before Urías, the most recent Baltimore player to win a Gold Glove at any position was Machado, who won the award for the second time in 2015. Machado had previously won in ‘13, while Robinson was a 16-time Gold Glove Award winner during his Hall of Fame career with the Orioles.

“It feels super cool,” Urías said of his elite company. “It’s so important for me, my family and my career to get this award. It feels so cool.”

Entering 2022, Urías had played only 10 career big league games at third base. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that marks the fewest games heading into a season at a Gold Glove-winning position for any non-rookie player (excluding pitchers and considering outfield as one position due to award history).

As a rookie in 2021, Urías spent most of his time in the middle infield, playing 48 games at shortstop and 32 at second base. He never had one set position in the Minors, either, making appearances at second (165 games), third (77), short (26), first (11) and even left field (three) over six seasons.

But it didn’t take long for Urías to settle in at the hot corner once he started playing there regularly earlier this year.

Urías led all AL third basemen with 14 Defensive Runs Saved this past season. He was also tied with the Yankees’ Josh Donaldson for the most Outs Above Average at third in the AL with seven. In 98 games at third, Urías had a .969 fielding percentage and only eight errors over 769 1/3 innings.

“I just felt so comfortable at third base,” Urías said. “I think it helped me a lot playing on the left side of the infield last year at shortstop.”

The O’s had 83 wins in 2022 -- an impressive 31-game turnaround from the previous year -- and Urías’ steady defensive presence was among the reasons for the team’s success. He also had a solid offensive year, hitting 16 homers with 51 RBIs and a .719 OPS.

“It was satisfying. It was more enjoyable to play with the Orioles this year than the last couple years,” Urías said. “Everybody did better, everybody had some improvement.”

Even after winning a Gold Glove, Urías isn’t a lock to be the O’s starting third baseman in 2023. Gunnar Henderson, the club’s No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, can also play there. So Baltimore will need to decide on its optimal defensive alignment, which could include Urías starting elsewhere or serving in a utility role.

Urías said he’ll “be ready for anything.” And wherever he plays, he’s hoping to build off his best year in the Majors yet.

“I think I still can do better, you know?” Urías said. “I’m always looking to do better every year, and let’s see if I can have a better season next year.”