After the shortened 2020 season, the Blue Jays approached Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with a challenge.
In the first two seasons of his MLB career, the young slugger floated from third base to first base with many days at designated hitter, too. It still wasn't obvious where his fielding home would be moving forward but, ahead of Guerrero's third year, the Jays took the defensive questions off the table.
“Become a Gold Glove first baseman,” the Jays challenged Guerrero at the time.
Two seasons after Guerrero formally moved to first, he earned his first Gold Glove Award at the position. The 23-year-old bested fellow finalists Luis Arraez and Anthony Rizzo to win the 2022 honor for AL first basemen, the league announced Tuesday.
In 128 games at first base this season, Guerrero posted his highest career Defensive Runs Saved (+3), leading all AL 1B in the statistic. His 19 scoops at first this year were more than his previous two seasons combined, he posted the most defensive assists since moving to first, and started a career-high seven double plays in 2022.
"Hopefully it's the first of many," Blue Jays manager John Schneider said in a Gold Glove congratulatory video.
Guerrero was one of five Blue Jays to earn a spot as Gold Glove finalist for his respective position, but the only to win the award. Matt Chapman (3B), Jackie Bradley Jr. (RF), Whit Merrifield (UTIL), and José Berríos (SP) were also up for their position.