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Baltimore Orioles

Ramón Urías joins Brooks Robinson, Manny Machado as Orioles’ Gold Glove third basemen

Ramón Urías wasn’t the Orioles’ opening day third baseman. He ended the year deemed the American League’s best defender at that position.

Urías was voted the AL’s Gold Glove third baseman, Rawlings announced Tuesday, with managers and coaches around the league casting ballots to account for 75% of the voting and the SABR Defensive Index determining the other quarter. The 28-year-old is Baltimore’s first Gold Glove recipient since Manny Machado, also at third base, in 2015, and joins Machado and franchise icon Brooks Robinson as the only Orioles to win a Gold Glove as a third baseman.

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Urías was the Orioles’ only honoree. Cedric Mullins was a finalist in center field, but the award went to the Cleveland Guardians’ Myles Straw. Baltimore’s Jorge Mateo was one of the game’s top shortstops by advanced metrics, winning the Fielding Bible Award as the best in the position in both leagues, but he wasn’t among the Gold Glove finalists. Houston Astros rookie Jeremy Peña was the winner.

Ranked third among all AL fielders with a SABR Defensive Index of 11.1, Urías was nearly four better than the next qualified AL third baseman in that regard. Urías also led AL third basemen with 14 Defensive Runs Saved, per Sports Info Solutions, and tied for the league lead at the position with seven Outs Above Average, according to Statcast.

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Urías posted those figures despite ranking 11th in the AL in innings played at third base. With Kelvin Gutiérrez at third, Urías was the Orioles’ starting second baseman in the first game of the year, having spent spring training vying for time at that position, shortstop and third base. He made starts at all three positions during the regular season but was Baltimore’s primary third baseman. He appeared in the lineup at third base 84 times, just more than half of the team’s games but more than double any other Oriole.

Most of Urías’ playing time in his 2021 rookie season came up the middle, with only 10 appearances at third base. No non-rookie position player had ever entered a season playing fewer major league games at a spot at which they won a Gold Glove, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Despite his defensive prowess, it’s unclear whether Urías will play third base for the Orioles in 2023. With Urías sidelined by a right knee injury that ended his season, top prospect Gunnar Henderson drew the majority of start at third base down the stretch and will likely be Baltimore’s starter there next season. But given what he showed defensively and with a bat that measured as above average, Urías can still make space for himself on an Orioles roster that figures to be designed for contention in the AL East.

Orioles third baseman Ramón Urías is Baltimore’s first Gold Glove recipient since Manny Machado, also at third base, in 2015, and joins Machado and franchise icon Brooks Robinson as the only Orioles to win a Gold Glove as a third baseman.

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