Could Rawlings announcement mean another Gold Glove for Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman?

Milwaukee Brewers' Kolten Wong (16) laughs with St. Louis Cardinals' Tommy Edman (19) after...
Milwaukee Brewers' Kolten Wong (16) laughs with St. Louis Cardinals' Tommy Edman (19) after hitting a double during the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)(AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 3:35 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Rawlings, the baseball equipment manufacturer responsible for presenting the Gold Glove Awards in Major League Baseball, made an announcement Tuesday that could have a particular impact on one specific St. Louis Cardinals player.

Rawlings announced that for the first time, it would present a Gold Glove to the best utility fielder in both the National and American Leagues. The move has been a long time coming, given that some of the most capable fielders were previously penalized for their ability and willingness to play multiple positions throughout the season.

Rather than worrying about meeting the innings threshold at a given position, these versatile players can now be honored for their strengths in the field instead of being excluded because of them.

“We’re thrilled to finally introduce a Rawlings Gold Glove Award that recognizes players with the superior defensive ability to play multiple positions,” Mike Thompson, chief marketing officer for Rawlings, said in a statement, per The Athletic. “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.”

The announcement should catch the attention of Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman. After winning his first-ever Gold Glove as a second baseman last season, the contours of the Cardinals roster have dictated that Edman shifts around the diamond this year. Edman has split his time defensively almost evenly between second base and shortstop, while also making appearances at third base, center field and right field this season.

At his primary two positions, Edman has piled up 19 Defensive Runs Saved, logging 14 at second base and another five at shortstop. Edman’s 19 DRS ties Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers for the best mark in the National League this season.

According to Baseball Reference’s calculation for Wins Above Replacement (bWAR), Edman’s 6.4 bWAR ranks him as the sixth-most valuable player in MLB this season, behind only Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Sandy Alcantara.

That’s quite the list. One of those guys might pass Roger Maris on the single-season home run list. Another is both a pitcher and a hitter. Another is the probably NL Cy Young Award winner. The other two are sluggers and likely Gold Glove recipients whose lockers reside just a few feet away from Edman’s in the Cardinals clubhouse.

Put into perspective, Edman is displaying some incredible value this season. When you distill his bWAR down, you notice that Edman leads MLB this season with 2.9 bWAR derived specifically from his defensive play. Though bWAR tends to reward supreme defense more substantially than FanGraphs WAR (fWAR) does, Edman is still better than a five-win player according to fWAR this season.

Why should Edman be punished for accumulating such a sterling defensive record across multiple positions? Fortunately, the latest announcement from Rawlings indicates that he won’t be.