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Defensive infield tiers: Ranking all 30 teams

After winning the World Series in 2016 thanks in part to their defense, the Cubs' infield has been one of the best again this season. Mark Brown/Getty Images

If I were to ask you to think of a defensive highlight, I'm sure there are many plays that would come to mind.

One of the most memorable for me is Derek Jeter's play against the Red Sox in 2004 when he flew into the stands after making an incredible running catch 50 feet behind third base. There are countless others like that -- plays that astound and show up on the highlight reels for years to come. Those plays get the attention, and while they're certainly impressive, so much more than that goes into what makes a good infielder.

Below, I rank all the major league infield defenses into tiers. Rather than basing it off highlight-reel plays, though, I instead am able to use more sophisticated data that we have here at Baseball Info Solutions, specifically our Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric, to measure their defense as a whole. The rankings also take into account future projected lineup construction, as well as my own observations, in order to most accurately determine which infields will be the best defensively going forward.

Tier 1 -- Hot at the hot corner

1. Chicago Cubs
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Colorado Rockies
5. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cubs have had one of baseball's best defenses for a couple of years now, and it all starts with their infield. Addison Russell leads the way with 14 runs saved, second-most among shortstops this season, and he's surrounded by a more-than-capable supporting cast of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and either Javier Baez or Ben Zobrist, all of whom have been above average in the infield this season.