Have you liked the defense so far this postseason?
Hope so! There’s been some pretty good glovework all the way around, and even a few highly-impressive pickoffs at key moments.
With 8 teams remaining after all the Wild Card sweeps, there are plenty of standout players still in the field.
Let’s go position-by-position to find the players with the most Defensive Runs Saved who are still playing as the LDS begins.
First Base – Christian Walker ranked 2nd in Runs Saved at first base this season, two runs behind the leader, Carlos Santana, and one run better than another playoff participant, Matt Olson. Walker is the reigning Fielding Bible Award winner at the position. Olson’s pretty good too. He won the Award 3 years in a row from 2018 to 2020.
Second Base – Marcus Semien ranked 2nd in Defensive Runs Saved this season but over the last 3 seasons, he’s No. 1 at the position. He brings it every game. Semien led all second basemen in innings played and since 2021, he has played 700 more innings than the next-closest second baseman.
Shortstop – Like Semien, veteran Miguel Rojas leads shortstops in Runs Saved over the last 3 seasons. Rojas finished tied for 4th in Runs Saved in 2023 and has been particularly good at fielding balls in the shortstop-third base hole the last 2 seasons.
Third Base – Austin Riley has also done well by Defensive Runs Saved the last 3 seasons, ranking 3rd among third basemen in that time behind Ke’Bryan Hayes and Ryan McMahon. The two guys ranking 4th and 5th behind Riley are two defensive superstars, Nolan Arenado and Matt Chapman. Riley ranked 4th at the position this season.
Left Field – Lourdes Gurriel Jr. totaled 14 Runs Saved this season and ranked 2nd at the position, just behind Steven Kwan. How did Gurriel do it in only 95 games in left field? He ranked 2nd in the range component of Runs Saved AND 2nd in the throwing component.
Center Field – We’ve written about Johan Rojas before and we acknowledge him here again. He handily leads the remaining playoff center fielders in Runs Saved despite not even having played 400 innings there this season. The next-closest playoff center fielder to Rojas’ 14 is Cedric Mullins, with 7.
Right Field – Adolís Garcia’s cannon of an arm was responsible for all 7 of his Runs Saved this season. Garcia and Fernando Tatis Jr. trailed only Nolan Jones of the Rockies for most Outfield Arm Runs Saved in MLB in 2023.
Catcher – Gabriel Moreno led all catchers in Runs Saved this season. He was the top catcher at thwarting basestealers by our measures and one of the best pitch blockers too. His status is in question after getting injured in Game 2 against the Brewers. If he’s out, the top remaining catcher is Will Smith, whose 12 Runs Saved ranked 4th overall.
Pitcher – The Phillies ranked 25th in Defensive Runs Saved during the regular season, but they’ve got some good gloves on the pitching staff. Taijuan Walker came in 2nd in the Fielding Bible Awards to teammate Ranger Suárez last season. His 18 Runs Saved over the last 3 seasons are the most of any pitcher in MLB.
Most Defensive Runs Saved – Players on LDS Teams
|1B- Christian Walker||Diamondbacks||9|
|2B- Marcus Semien||Rangers||16|
|SS- Miguel Rojas||Dodgers||12|
|3B- Austin Riley||Braves||9|
|LF- Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||Diamondbacks||14|
|CF- Johan Rojas||Phillies||15|
|RF- Adolís Garcia||Rangers||7|
|C- Gabriel Moreno||Diamondbacks||20|
|P- Taijuan Walker||Phillies||5|