Blue Jays Marcus Semien wins AL Gold Glove for second basemen – Sports Illustrated

Marcus Semien remained adamant he saw himself as a shortstop.

He said it when he first signed with the Blue Jays, he took ground balls at short all season, and he repeated it in his final press conference of the season. Despite all his talk of short, Semien finished the season as the best second basemen in baseball.

Semien hit more homers in a season than any 2B before him, led the position in WAR, and, on Sunday, he was awarded the American League Rawlings Gold Glove for second basemen. 

Two other Toronto Blue Jays finished as finalists for AL Gold Glove Awards, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and José Berríos, but neither won, falling to Andrew Benintendi and Dallas Keuchel, respectively. 

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Semien came into 2021 with just 26 starts at 2B in his big league career. He took ground balls before almost every game, worked with Toronto coach Luis Rivera on short bouncers with specialized gloves, practiced alongside and mentored his new double-play partner Bo Bichette, and quickly became the best defensive player in the AL at his new position. Semien bested fellow finalists Whit Merrifield and David Fletcher for the honor, leading all second basemen in UZR and FanGraphs defensive value.

Semien recorded seven outs above average at second, per Baseball Savant, while starting 146 games at the position. When he wasn’t at second, he moved over to his natural shortstop, recorded more games played than anyone else in baseball in 2021 — all 162.

Semien enters this winter as a free agent, once again, coming off the best season of his career. His offensive impact was immense, his defensive impact has now been awarded, and it’s clear Semien’s value to the Blue Jays stretched beyond those on-field contributions.

When asked what Semien meant to him, personally, after Toronto’s season finished in early November, Bichette was visibly emotional.

“Everything,” he said.