Will the 2021 infield be legendary?
The 2021 Cardinals infield was pretty impressive, especially if you saw the wild double play they pulled off on the Cubs on September 25 during the 17 game winning streak. This group featured three Gold Glove winners and had future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina behind the plate.
Nolan Arenado’s first year as the Cardinals third baseman saw some jaw dropping defensive moments. The nine-time Gold Glove winner, led all NL third baseman during 2021 in Putouts, Double Plays Turned and Range Factor. He was also second in Fielding Percentage, fourth in Total Zone Runs and second in Assists. In one of the newer defensive analytics, Outs Above Average (OAA), he came in 4th among all third basemen in baseball(10).
Paul Goldschmidt won his fourth Gold Glove in 2021. Goldschmidt led all NL first basemen in Assists, Double Plays Turned and Fielding Percentage. He was second in Putouts, Total Zone Runs, and fourth in Range Factor. His 6 OAA is third among all first baseman across baseball.
One of the more surprising developments of 2021 was the emergence of Tommy Edman at second base, who won a Gold Glove. Edman led all second basemen with a 13 OAA. The closest to him? Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jean Segura, who finished second with nine OAA. Among NL second basemen he was third in Range Factor and Fielding Percentage.
9-time Gold Glover Yadier Molina is still one of the best in the game. In 2021, he was 10th in Defensive WAR for all NL players. Additionally, he led NL catcher in Double Plays Turned, was second in Caught Stealing and Caught Stealing Percentage, thirdd in Assists, fourth in Total Zone Runs and Fielding Percentage.
Offensively, the shortstop position was a point of frustration in 2021. However, defensively, the tag team of Paul DeJong and Edmundo Sosa was solid. Neither player was a defensive liability. DeJong’s OAA (5) and Sosa (4) put them 10th and 11th among shortstops.