In a defense reminiscent of the “Whiteyball” era, the St. Louis Cardinals are baseball’s best defensive team.
MLB announced on Friday that the Houston Astros won the 2021 Rawlings Gold Glove Team award as the best defensive team in the American League, while the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League award.
This season, the St. Louis Cardinals had a record five individual winners (Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader).
The Cardinals had the top defense, especially in the infield according to rankings, as they made an MLB-best 36 percent of their non-routine plays, per Inside Edge. The league average was 28 percent. According to FanGraphs, St. Louis finished first in MLB with 86 defensive runs saved.
They had the best individual fielder in Arenado, who won the NL’s Platinum Glove winner for the fifth straight year, and also holds the record for the most Platinum Awards in baseball history. Arenado finished the 2021 season, his first with the Cardinals, in the top five amongst NL third basemen in DRS (six), DEF (8.0), assists (287), putouts (125) and double plays turned (38).
And with him staying with the Cardinals for the long haul, the defense is expected to continue to shine for years to come.