The new Gold Glove Award for utility players would be a perfect fit for the St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman.
Rawlings announced on Tuesday that utility players will be included in the positions eligible to win Gold Glove Awards. With most teams loading up on relief pitching, versatility on the field is more important than ever, so it seems natural that a utility player should earn a Gold Glove.
The Cardinals possess one of the top defensive infielders in baseball in Tommy Edman, who currently leads the majors in defensive Wins Above Replacement. Since 2013, the SABR Defensive Index has been utilized to help determine Gold Glove winners, along with votes from coaches and managers.
Edman’s primary positions are second base and shortstop, and he has also seen time at third base, center field and right field. It remains to be seen what the criteria are to be considered a utility player. The current requirement for a Gold Glove for an infielder and outfielder is that he has played at least 713 innings by his team’s 141st game. It’s worth noting that Rawlings is based out of St. Louis, so it almost seems that the award was designed with Edman in mind.
Edman won his first Gold Glove in 2021, when he mostly played second base. The competition for the utility Gold Glove doesn’t look particularly fierce this season; the New York Mets’ Jeff McNeil appears to be the only other real contender. However, the only way I can see McNeil coming away with the hardware is if analysts focus too much on his offense, since he is currently second in the National League in batting average.
Previously an annual contender for the award, Kolten Wong, a former Cardinal and typical defensive wizard, has regressed mightily in his fielding stats this year, placing in the negatives in defensive runs saved for the first time since 2017.
Since Wong is no longer a threat, and barring a McNeil upset, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Edman will receive a second Gold Glove Award to display on his shelf in 2022.