The saying goes offense wins games, but defense wins championships. Regardless of your belief in this saying, it goes without saying that in every team sport, point, goal, and run prevention is crucial to winning both games and championships. Who can forget “The Catch” by Willie Mays during the first game of the 1954 World Series, which the then-New York Giants would eventually win?
Below, you will find the best fielding teams in MLB The Show 22 for the best run prevention. Importantly, these rankings are from the April 20 live MLB rosters. As with any live roster, the ranking is subject to change throughout the season based on performance, injuries, and roster moves. The visible roster was sorted by highest Fielding rating. “Notable Fielders” will have their highest visible defensive rating listed; remember that catchers also have the Blocking rating.
1. St. Louis Cardinals
Division: National League Central
Notable Fielders: Harrison Bader (99 Fielding), Nolan Arenado (99 Reaction), Tommy Edman (92 Reaction)
St. Louis is led defensively by Nolan Arenado, winner of the Platinum Glove every year since 2017. Arenado is arguably the best defensive third basemen since Brooks Robinson, though a certain Pittsburgh Pirate is readying to challenge his throne. Up the middle, the Cardinals are stout with Harrison Bader in center and Tommy Edman at second, both of whom won a Gold Glove in 2021. Tyler O’Neill in left field also won a Gold Glove in 2021 and a Fielding Bible award after winning both in 2020 as well. Paul Goldschmidt actually wont Fielding Bible award in 2021 at first base even if his ratings don’t reflect such. While not at his peak, Yadier Molina at catcher is still above average in his final season. They can basically trot out a starting nine with no one having a lower rating than 70 in Fielding.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Division: National League West
Notable Fielders: Austin Barnes (97 Reaction), Mookie Betts (89 Reaction), Cody Bellinger (94 Arm Strength)
The team in the top five of every team category, the Dodgers also have a stout defense. Austin Barnes leads the way – when he plays – calling the game at catcher. Cody Bellinger in center (2019 Gold Glove) and Mookie Betts in right (five-time Gold Glove winner) make hitting anything from left-center to straightaway right basically an out. Max Muncy has turned himself into a great defensive first baseman, and he can be spelled by Freddie Freeman who, while not at his peak, is still a good defender, Trea Turner’s speed and range help make him a solid defender. Will Smith, the everyday catcher, is steadily improving what is already a good defensive package.
It just seems unfair that the team ranked first in hitting and pitching rates second in fielding. Don’t worry, it compounds as they are also one of the fastest teams in MLB The Show 22!
3. Tampa Bay Rays
Division: American League East
Notable Fielders: Kevin Kiermaier (99 Fielding), Brett Phillips (98 Reaction), Manuel Margot (89 Reaction)
Tampa Bay shines in one particular area, not to say their team is subpar in other areas, but their outfield defense has been their calling card for several seasons. Led by Kevin Kiermaier (three Gold Gloves), he’s joined by Brett Phillips and Manuel Margot, both of whom have high Reaction scores. Phillips may be the best defender on the team with a 90s across the four categories. Mike Zunino at catcher is solid, and young phenom Wander Franco should continue to improve what is already an above average defensive package as he gains more experience. Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe round out the infield with 2020 postseason breakout start Randy Arozarena able to fill in at any outfield position if needed.
4. Kansas City Royals
Division: American League Central
Notable Fielders: Zack Greinke (95 Fielding), Cam Gallagher (92 Reaction), Michael A. Taylor (99 Arm Strength)
Zack Greinke’s return just buttressed what is already a great defensive team made up of mostly young players who should continue to improve. Greinke has won six Gold Glove awards in his career and he joins a team that includes two Gold Glove winners from 2021 in Andrew Benintendi and Michael A. Taylor. Taylor also won the Fielding Bible award in 2021 for center fielders. Whit Merrifield, who can play all over the diamond, won the Fielding Bible award in 2021 for second basemen though young Nicky Lopez now mans second base, himself a great defender. Top prospect Bobby Witt, Jr. is fast and a good defender, as is Adalberto Mondesi. Cam Gallagher should be the everyday catcher with Salvador Perez, who’s regressed, slotting in as DH.
What separates this team from the previous three entries is that this team has speed that others don’t that will help them cover more area, particularly in the outfield. In fact, they’re ranked the second fastest team in MLB The Show 22.
5. Texas Rangers
Division: American League West
Notable Fielders: Jonah Heim (94 Reaction), Adolis Garcia (99 Arm Accuracy), Andy Ibáñez (86 Reaction)
A young team that has struggled for years and hoping to start the turnaround after signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, Texas at least has a top five defense (and hitting power) to help its perpetually maligned pitching staff. Jonah Heim is a strong defender at catcher, though his Blocking (59) could be higher. Adolis Garcia has above average speed to go along with his high defensive ratings, including a perfect 99 in Arm Accuracy in center field. Andy Ibáñez hopes to be the new Texas version of Adrián Beltre at third base, while Semien is fresh off of winning a Gold Glove in 2021 for Toronto and Seager, his double play partner, at least an adequate defender. Charlie Culberson can play the four non-catcher infield positions and is an above average defender while Eli White is one of the fastest players in the game to go along with above average defense.
6. Miami Marlins
Division: National League East
Notable Fielders: Jacob Stallings (99 Fielding), Joey Wendle (89 Reaction), Jazz Chisholm (81 Reaction)
Miami saw a huge jump to their defense by adding one player: catcher Jacob Stallings, acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh. Stallings won both a Gold Glove and the Fielding Bible award at his position in 2021 with ratings in The Show 22 to indicate as such. His Blocking is also great at 80. He’s joined by former Ray Joey Wendle, a versatile defender, and exciting Jazz Chisholm, Jr. at second base. Brian Anderson, another versatile defender, has a strong (if inaccurate) arm while Avisail García and Jesus Sánchez round out the outfield. Garrett Cooper is solid at first base, though his Arm Strength is meager (47). Then again, a first basemen shouldn’t have to throw the ball as much as other infielders.
7. Boston Red Sox
Division: A.L. East
Notable Fielders: Enrique Hernández (99 Arm Accuracy), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (90 Reaction), Christian Arroyo (90 Arm Accuracy)
If versatility is an advantage, then Enrique Hernández is the best example of this. He won the Fielding Bible award in 2021 for multi-position players, his second consecutive year winning the award. Jackie Bradley, Jr. joins him in the outfield and even though his batting has regressed, his defense is still high in right field; he did win a Gold Glove in 2018. Christian Arroyo at third has strong ratings and an accurate arm, as does Christian Vázquez at catcher. Trevor Story isn’t as good at short as he was in Colorado, but still stout, and Alex Verdugo has one of the strongest and accurate arms of all outfielders. Just be wary of Rafael Devers at third base who, to put it nicely, is decent defensively.
8. Chicago Cubs
Division: N.L. Central
Notable Fielders: Nico Hoerner (99 Reaction), Patrick Wisdom (88 Arm Strength), Jason Heyward (88 Arm Strength)
A team that theoretically is in a rebuild after the departures – by trade or free agency – of longtime franchise icons, the Cubs have hovered around .500 in the early parts of the season thanks in part to a good defense and speedy team. Nico Hoerner leads the way as an incredibly quick-twitched fielder with a strong and accurate arm at shortstop, possibly the most important defensive position in baseball. Patrick Wisdom is also strong at third base, but his accuracy could be better. Jason Heyward – five Gold Gloves, three Fielding Bible awards, and 2014 Defensive Player of the Year – like Bradley, Jr., is not the hitter he once was, yet has seen little dip in his defense. Japanese signing Seiya Suzuki is above average in right and has some versatility. While Willson Contreras is a good defender, he has a very strong arm at catcher to throw out runners. Yan Gomes can spell him at catcher with good stats and better Blocking (87). Nick Madrigal, acquired from the White Sox in 2021, should develop into a stout defender.
9. Philadelphia Phillies
Division: N.L. East
Notable Fielders: Ranger Suárez (85 Fielding), J.T. Realmuto (93 Arm Strength), Jean Segura (91 Arm Accuracy)
Interestingly, the two best players on the Phillies based on the Fielding rating in MLB The Show 22 are pitchers. Moving to position players, J.T. Realmuto – 2019 Gold Glove winner – is a great defender and arguably the best catcher in baseball. Jean Segura at second base is Gold Glove-caliber with his ratings. Bryce Harper has regressed a bit in right, but has maintained what has always been his defensive calling card: a powerful and accurate throwing arm. Simon Muzziotti and Garrett Stubbs don’t see as much playing time, but when they do, it’s because of their defense. Johan Camargo, formerly of Atlanta, brings an incredibly strong arm to above average defensive ratings at third base.
It’s interesting The Show 22 has them rated in the top ten defensively as many MLB pundits predicted the defense would be suspect after the additions of Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber.
10. Colorado Rockies
Division: N.L. West
Notable Fielders: Ryan McMahon (97 Reaction), Garrett Hampson (80 Fielding), Elias Diaz (85 Arm Strength)
Possibly the most surprising team on this list, Colorado hopes to contend in the competitive N.L. West that includes the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres (the Diamondbacks are clearly rebuilding). Their big splash was signing Kris Bryant, a former Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player, though his defense is average. However, Ryan McMahon is a fantastic third basemen who bounced back well after a subpar COVID-shortened 2020 season. Garrett Hampson at second base might have low ratings in both arm categories, but he is solid at Reaction and Fielding (80 each). Elias Díaz is a great defensive catcher, though is Blocking (55) could improve. Yonathan Daza, Connor Joe, C.J. Cron, and José Iglesias are all above average defenders as well.
Now you know the best defensive teams in MLB The Show 22. Which team will you play with to prevent the most runs?