The St. Louis Cardinals have six players who were named finalists for Gold Glove awards. Two of them have already won prestigious defensive recognition.
Under Mike Shildt, the St. Louis Cardinals returned to their George Kissell-roots and became a premier defensive ball club. Defense was once again the strength of 2021.
Although Gold Glove awards are not announced until November 7, the Fielding Bible Awards for each position were given out yesterday.
If you are unfamiliar with the Fielding Bible Awards, they are awarded by a 17-person panel filled with baseball writers and analysts. The panel places all fielders together regardless of league and used advanced metrics to determine the best fielders in MLB.
Paul Goldschmidt is your winner of the Fielding Bible Award for first base. When you are at the top of the Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) leaderboard, you deserve to have your fielding recognized. From the Fielding Bible Award panel:
"The Cardinals infield led MLB in turning ground balls and bunts into outs, both because Goldschmidt could make plays and because he helped his teammates make plays by catching their throws."
This is Goldschmidt’s fourth Fielding Bible Award in his career and his first with the Cardinals.
For the second year in a row, Tyler O’Neill won the Fielding Bible Award for left fielder. He dominated the competition, winning all but three votes for the award. Like Goldschmidt, his DRS numbers bested other competitors. Perhaps the biggest improvement from 2020 to 2021 was his outfield arm.
"O’Neill’s arm numbers improved considerably. He had seven assists without the aid of a cutoff man in 2021 (tied with Raimel Tapia for the most at the position) after having none in left field in 2020."
While the award does not necessarily guarantee a Gold Glove winner, it provided immense support for being rewarded for it. Think about it. If you are considered the best fielder at your position in all of MLB, how could you not be a Gold Glove winner?