The Cardinals have found their next Gold Glove outfielder

With a recent history of impressive defense from the outfield, the Cardinals have created their next winner of the prestigious award.
Colorado Rockies v St. Louis Cardinals
Colorado Rockies v St. Louis Cardinals / Scott Kane/GettyImages

Being the organization that elevated players such as Ozzie Smith, Jim Edmonds, and Yadier Molina to become defensive stars, the Cardinals have taken much pride in their glove work. Jose Oquendo has laid the foundation for infield development while Willie McGee laid the foundation for the outfield development. The end result has been very efficient, as the organization has been the industry model for how a team should play the field.

Since 2019, the Cardinals have seen strong developments from their outfielders. Harrison Bader won his Gold Glove in 2021, Tyler O'Neill won the Gold Glove in 2020 and 2021, Tommy Edman won in 2022, and Brendan Donovan won in 2022. How can anyone forget the record-setting year for team Gold Gloves in 2021?

Development within the organization has been of question over the past two seasons, but it is very safe to say that the origination has an upper edge in developing outfielders who dominate in the field. The front office was very confident going into 2024 what the starting outfield was going to be. They expected gold glove winner Tommy Edman to take full control of centerfield, Lars Nootbaar and his great glove to take over left field, and young phenom Jordan Walker to survive in right by hitting moonshots into Big Mac Land. All three of those plans failed completely.

The newly formed outfield core is gold glove winner Brendan Donovan in left field, surging bat Alec Burleson now replacing Walker in right field for the near future, and the unexpected Michael Siani taking over center field. With half of the season almost over, it is a very reasonable take that Michael Siani is a front-runner for the 2024 Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

Siani is not much of a threat at the plate. He is the true nine-hole hitter slashing .217/.259/.290/.549 (56 OPS+) which is unplayable in most major league lineups. But with that horrendous slash line....he somehow has a WAR of -0.1. He has held a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage across 461.1 innings played. He has committed zero errors on the season and is worth 3 defensive runs saved above average and 7 total fielding runs above average. By the metrics, he has been flawless and is providing his value to the team by manning centerfield. But if you are not convinced by the numbers, check out the eye test.

Plenty of season is left, and it is expected that Tommy Edman will take over centerfield once back from the IL. But the front office and coaching staff have some tough decisions ahead of them with the return of several key players in the next several weeks. With the potential of veterans being DFA'd and players being moved in trades, it is unclear what the expected role will be for Michael Siani. But so far in 2024, he looks like your National League Gold Glove winner in center field.