Royals No. 1 in MLB team defense ranks

The formidable OF trio of Alex Gordon, Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain sets the tone for the Royals' D. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

More and more, the use of defensive shifts is impacting the play of individuals. Last summer, there might not have been a better example than Jhonny Peralta. If a coach stood at the plate and mashed ground balls at Peralta and some of his peers, Peralta might be among the least impressive, lacking the range or the arm strength of someone like Andrelton Simmons.

But the Cardinals bought into the use of shifts last season, and Peralta, who was regarded as so limited in range at shortstop that the Tigers replaced him, finished third in Defensive Runs Saved. Some of the Pirates' defenders might be dressed up in a similar way by Pittsburgh's advanced use of shifts.

That's a factor in Part IV of our team element rankings. Earlier this week, we laid out the top-10 rotations, the top-10 bullpens and the top lineups. Now it's time to rank the defenses.

1. Kansas City Royals

In the postseason, casual baseball fans got to see the vision of GM Dayton Moore, who decided to fill the vast Kauffman Stadium outfield with guys who can cover a whole lot of ground and infielders who can make plays.