The Astros have four. The Nationals have three. The Dodgers only have one. Gold Glove finalists have helped two of these three teams make the World Series.
And as all of you know, the Dodgers are not one of these teams. Cody Bellinger’s defense, along with his offense of course, surely helped LA win a franchise-record 106 games.
But even his studly defense in the outfield does not compare to having three or more Gold Glove finalists on a team like the two teams in the World Series do.
The Astros have Yulieski Gurriel at first base, José Altuve at second base, Alex Bregman at third base, and Josh Reddick in right field.
For Washington, they’ve got Anthony Rendon at third base, Juan Soto in left field, and Victor Robles in center field.
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Having solid players on defense helps out pitching, something that both of these teams have in common with the Dodgers. LA and the Nats were the top two teams in the National League, and in the MLB, in starting pitcher ERA, with ERAs of 3.11 and 3.53 respectively. The Astros finished in first in the American League and third in the MLB in starter ERA at 3.61.
Solid defense and solid starting pitching make up for deficiencies on offense and in the bullpen to a certain extent, something that has been made evident this postseason.
Even though the Nationals famously have the worst bullpen in the game (or at least they did during the regular season), they have provided their starters the best run support of any team in the postseason with the fifth-best fielding percentage of the ten playoff teams. The Astros have a fielding percentage 10% better than the Nats with 50 more total chances, with a bullpen devoid of star power.
If both teams can sustain their defensive and offensive supremacy, it will come down simply to luck in who wins the World Series this season. And the rest of the league will have no chance to catch up unless they change their ways.
For LA, adding another defensively solid player means dismantling pieces of their piecemeal utility defense, led by Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor, both of whom are solid defensively but may not be up to Gold Glove standards.
So who can the Dodgers add to bolster their defense?
Anthony Rendon is one option on the free-agent market, but beyond him, there are very few truly stellar options, especially for full-time players. As the trade market sharpens, I will expand on this need and how the team can fill it, but for now, it looks like there’s going to be slim pickings.