The past few seasons have been weak ones for the St. Louis Cardinals, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. This has been especially evident when post-season awards were announced for defensive excellence and the Cardinals found themselves with one lone representative (usually Yadier Molina). In 2019, however, the defense was much improved over the previous seasons. An increase in award nominees seemed likely. The Rawlings Gold Glove nominees were announced on Thursday and indeed more than one Cardinal made the cut.
The Cardinals have six Gold Glove finalists, with a representative at every position besides left field, right field, and third base. Here they are:
Jack Flaherty - pitcher - seeking first Gold Glove
Yadier Molina - catcher - seeking tenth Gold Glove
Paul Goldschmidt - first base - seeking fourth Gold Glove
Kolten Wong - second base - seeking first Gold Glove
Paul DeJong - shortstop - seeking first Gold Glove
Harrison Bader - centerfield - seeking first Gold Glove
Honestly... all of these guys are legitimate nominees and a case could be made for all of them. Flaherty probably has the worst case, but pitcher defense can be tough to judge due to the small sample size. Yadier Molina did not have as good as a season behind the plate as J.T. Realamuto, but he has a strong reputation. Goldschmidt, with 4 defensive runs saved, per Fangraphs, should probably come in second to the Diamondbacks Christian Walker, but he also has strong reputation as a fielder. Kolten Wong has the strongest case as he was far and away the best second baseman in the National League and is considered an excellent fielder among baseball folks. He leads all qualified second baseman with 14 DRS and in UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) at 5.2 and is first in the NL with out of zone plays at 87. Paul DeJong and Harrison Bader are interesting cases. DeJong leads all shortstops in UZR and is a close third in DRS at 14. He has had a great defensive season, but voters may not think of him when the think of defensive excellence. Harrison Bader has the highest UZR among all centerfielders, but his lack of playing time might hurt him. Had he hit better and cracked the lineup more often, he would be the runaway winner.
The Cardinals have a good mix of veteren and newbies. Odds are at least one Cardinal comes away with a Gold Glove. Kolten Wong winning should be a sure thing, but these awards can be weird (which is surely why the Fielding Bible awards exist), so the Cardinals could still walk away with no winners.
But if Kolten Wong does not win, we throw a fit, right?
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