Molina, Heyward win Gold Glove Awards
Yadi ties Cardinals record with eighth straight defensive honor
ST. LOUIS -- Catcher Yadier Molina and right fielder Jason Heyward won Rawlings Gold Glove Awards on Tuesday, making the Cardinals one of two National League teams with multiple winners of the defensive honor.
Molina (2008-15) joined Ozzie Smith (1982-92) and Bob Gibson (1965-73) as the only players in franchise history to win Gold Glove honors in at least eight consecutive seasons. He ranks only behind Ivan Rodriguez (13) and Johnny Bench (10) for most Gold Glove Awards won by a catcher.
Heyward adds a third Gold Glove Award to his collection, joining those he won in 2012 and '14 with the Braves. Now a free agent, Heyward is one of just four Cardinals outfielders to take home this defensive award. Previous winners include Curt Flood (1963-69), Willie McGee (1986) and Jim Edmonds (2000-06).
Both Molina and Heyward are eligible for a Platinum Glove Award, which is presented to the best player at any position in each leagues. Molina has won the honor in three of the past four seasons. The Platinum Glove winners will be unveiled on Friday following a fan vote.
Even though he missed the last two weeks of the season with a thumb injury, Molina led all NL catchers with 1,149 2/3 innings. He ranked third in the league with seven Defensive Runs Saved, third with a Defensive WAR of 1.6, and second among qualifying catchers with a caught stealing percentage of 41.3. Perhaps his impact is best illustrated by the Cardinals' record -- 85-47 -- in games he started this season.
Heyward, who started 136 of his 144 games in right field, led all NL right fielders with a 14 Defensive WAR and 22 Defensive Runs Saved. He tallied nine assists and threw out three runners at home, including two over the final month of the season.
This is the second defensive honor for Heyward this year, as he was the unanimous right field winner for the Fielding Bible Award. Heyward is also a strong contender for a Wilson Defensive Award, which will be presented on Wednesday..
The Cardinals did not have any other top-three vote-getters at any other position.
Voting for Gold Glove Awards is done by managers and coaches on each team. They may not vote for their own players and may only vote for players in their league. Those votes are then combined with a SABR Defensive Index -- a measure of the number of runs saved by a player's defensive performance compared to the average defensive player at that position -- to determine the winners.