SAN DIEGO -- When the Padres traded for Trent Grisham last November, the baseball world asked questions about whether he'd be capable of handling center field.
Grisham, as it turned out, was more than capable. And now he has a Rawlings National League Gold Glove Award to show for it.
On Tuesday night, two days after his 24th birthday, Grisham became the first Padres Gold Glove Award winner since Chase Headley at third base in 2012. He beat two of the game's most renowned center fielders to win it, too, edging out the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger and the Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr., who were finalists.
Grisham was worth 6 outs above average, according to Statcast, trailing only Bellinger among NL center fielders. He joins Steve Finley (1995-96) and Mike Cameron (2006) as Padres center fielders to win the award.
Padres third baseman Manny Machado was a finalist, but he was unable to end Nolan Arenado's stranglehold on the NL award at the position. The Rockies' star earned his eighth straight Gold Glove Award.
Grisham’s elite range was driven mostly by his incredible jump on the ball. By some metrics, he gets the best jumps in baseball. In the first three seconds after pitch release, Grisham moved an average of 2.2 feet in the right direction more than an average fielder would have. (If 2.2 feet doesn't sound like much, think about how many balls hit the tip of a glove or are missed by inches.)
Break it down further, and in the 1.5 seconds after pitch release, Grisham covered more ground, on average, than any qualifying outfielder in baseball, according to Statcast.
Ultimately, that's what made the Padres so confident in Grisham last offseason -- confident enough that they traded Manuel Margot, their only other center-field option, to Tampa Bay.
"The way he moves, the jumps off the balls, all his movement patterns -- it gave you a pretty good indicator," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. "A week into Spring Training, watching it in games, you felt pretty confident it was going to play out well."
Before 2020, Grisham was mostly known for his defensive blunder for Milwaukee in the '19 National League Wild Card Game.
Now, he's known as one of the most valuable defensive players in baseball. And he has the hardware to back it up.