The Gold Glove Awards have long honored players who are the best fielders at their given position. However, the system of giving out nine awards in each league left out players who spread their defensive greatness across multiple positions.
Now, Rawlings is choosing to honor those utility players.
The company, which sponsors the Gold Glove Awards, announced on Tuesday that it will begin handing out a trophy to one utility player in each league starting in 2022.
“We're thrilled to add a Rawlings Gold Glove Award that recognizes players with the superior defensive ability to play multiple positions,” chief marketing officer Mike Thompson said. “Utility players are some of the most versatile athletes you'll see on the field, and it's time for them to be rewarded for their tremendous defense, alongside position players.”
The new distinction will be handed out along with the 18 awards given to the top defensive player at each position in the American League and National League.
Rawlings said it will collaborate with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to devise a specific formula that is different from the one used to help name winners at each position. The company will use the SABR formula and other defensive statistics to name a utility player winner.
The traditional Gold Glove Award winners are determined based on a mix of analytics and votes from managers and coaches. In 2013, Rawlings made the SABR Defensive Index a new factor that accounts for around one-quarter of the selection process with the remaining power going to managers and coaches.
Gold Glove Award finalists will be named on Nov. 3 and winners will be named on Nov. 8.