Alex Baeza Wins Utah’s First ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove
OMAHA, Neb. – For the first time, the Utah baseball program has an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove award winner, as first baseman Alex Baeza landed the national laurel on Wednesday.
Gold Glove awards recognize the top defensive players in each division of collegiate baseball. The award was established in 2007 and given annually since then, with the exception of the pandemic-shortened season of 2020.
Baeza was one of two players recognized in the Pac-12, being joined by Stanford outfielder Brock Jones.
It was a remarkable homecoming season for Baeza as the local product from West Jordan, Utah, took his graduate year with the Utes following a career at Hawaii. He started all 54 games in 2022 for Utah—53 at first base—and quickly entered the conversation as one of the top players at the position in the Pac-12.
While difficult to measure in the box score, Baeza's ability to pick balls out of the dirt for outs was unparalleled, as was in general his hustle at the position. He was assessed just one error in 505 chances for a .998 fielding percentage, also helping the Utes amass 14 pickoffs on the season. In Pac-12 Conference play, he was error-free on 271 chances, fourth-most of any player in the league.
For the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honoree, you could point to any number of web gems as highlights of Baeza's ability. Games such as the Washington State series opener come to mind on April 1, 2022; with the Utes leading in the late innings, Kyler Stancato hit a grounder behind the bag, but a diving Baeza fielded the ground ball, sprinted to the bag and dove head-first for the out on a bang-bang play.
At the plate, Baeza led Utah with 17 doubles, which tied for 11th in the Pac-12 during the regular season. His .278 batting average was fifth on the team, contributing four home runs and 41 RBI.
He was initially named one of three Gold Glove finalists at first base on Monday, alongside Brodey Heaton of Belmont and Houston's Ryan Hernandez. Stanford's Adam Crampton (shortstop) and Jones (outfield) were also Gold Glove finalists from the Pac-12.
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Alex Baeza • 2022 Awards and Accolades
- ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove (1B)
- Pac-12 All-Defensive Team
For the first time at Utah…????????????
Congrats to @ABCA1945 / @RawlingsSports Gold Glove-winning first baseman @abaeza43!
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— Utah Baseball (@utahbaseball) June 22, 2022