ST. LOUIS – One season removed from fielding a squad with a record-breaking five Gold Glove winners, it seems the St. Louis Cardinals could make history with help from their defense once again.
Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. will introduce a new “super utility” award for the 2022 season to honor some of the National League and American League’s best fielders who frequently play multiple positions.
“We’re thrilled to add a Rawlings Gold Glove Award that recognizes players with the superior defensive ability to play multiple positions,” said Mike Thompson, chief marketing officer for Rawlings. “Utility players are some of the most versatile athletes you’ll see on the field, and it’s time for them to be rewarded for their tremendous defense, alongside position players.”
Although the exact criteria hasn’t been announced for the award just yet, Cardinals infielder (and occasional de facto outfielder) Tommy Edman could fit the bill for the inaugural honor.
After winning his first Gold Glove at second base last season, Edman has shifted around the diamond and patroled five different positions this year. His primary spots remain in the middle infield with more than 70 games played at shortstop and second base in 2022.
Regardless where he defends, Edman seems to have a knack for the big plays. He enters Thursday with nine outs above average and 14 defensive runs saved at second base and nine outs above average and 6 defensive runs saved at shortstop.
Edman’s combined 20 defensive runs saved are tied for second-most in baseball. He has also played at least one game at third base, right field and center field this season.
Edman is a reigning Gold Glove winner from 2021 at second base, having earned honors with Paul Goldshcmidt, Nolan Arenado, Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader last year. The five winners gave the Cardinals the most in a season for one team and extended Major League Baseball’s all-time record to 51 Gold Glove awards.
“We got a bunch of good defenders around me,” Edman told Bally Sports Midwest last month on the team’s defense. We all kind of make each other better. If you see someone make a good play, it makes you want to make a good play as well.”
To determine the utility Award winners, Rawlings will collaborate with SABR to create a specialized defensive formula separate from the traditional selection process for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award position winners. Utilizing the SABR formula and additional defensive statistics, Rawlings will select one utility winner from each league. It will be the only Gold Glove award through which managers cannot nominate individual candidates.
If Edman doesn’t capture this award, other possible NL candidates could be fellow teammate Brendan Donovan, who has played adequate defense at six positions this season, in addition to Mets utility players Jeff McNeil and Luis Guillorme.