Best Single-Season Runs Saved Totals

August 19, 2013

Baseball Info Solutions now has over 10 years of Defensive Runs Saved data. Over the last decade, we've witnessed some incredible defensive seasons. A pair of shortstops, Jack Wilson and Adam Everett, saved an estimated 32 and 34 runs in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In 2010, Brett Gardner set the then-record 35 Runs Saved split between left and center field. This season, someone new has broken that record.

Player Season Runs Saved
Andrelton Simmons 2013 37
Brett Gardner 2010 35
Adam Everett 2006 34
Franklin Gutierrez 2009 32
Jack Wilson 2005 32


Andrelton Simmons now has 37 Runs Saved this season, an impressive total on its own but even more spectacular in context. First, Simmons has set that record with a month and a half left to go in the season. It is possible that Simmons could cost his team runs going forward, but that seems unlikely. If he continues to save runs at this pace, he will run away from his nearest single-season competitors.

Second, Simmons’ pace is supported by more than just the four months this season. Because of the timing of his debut for the Braves in 2012, Simmons has now played 168 games in his career, a few more than he would play in a full, healthy season. In that time, Simmons has saved an incredible 56 runs.

It is pretty clear that Simmons is a special player. Next in his sights will be the career Runs Saved record. He may have a bit of trouble catching the career leader, Adrian Beltre, who continues to add to his current total of 167, but it will be a joy to watch him try.


COMMENTS (4 Comments, most recent shown first)

Isn't saying he already set the record like saying someone broke a record for batting average when he has enough at bats left to go o-fer and not break the record?
7:08 AM Aug 26th
I feel like Albert Pujols' 2007 total of 31 runs saved, at first base, deserves a mention here.
2:13 PM Aug 21st
Simmons has probably had the greatest 162 game stretch of fielding of all time. According to baseball reference, the record for most fielding runs above average in a season was Darrin Erstad in 2002 at 39 runs (as rated by Total Zone runs). There have been a number of seasons in the low-to-mid 30s in runs above average, including Andruw Jones, Brooks Robinson, Art Fletcher, Mark Belanger, and Ozzie Smith. According to TZR, Simmons has saved 43 runs in his major league career of 168 games; John's estimate is even greater at 56 runs, though it is not possible to reconstruct for older players. When you consider that Simmons is a shortstop, this record is particularly impressive. Simmons dWAR for 2013 will very likely be the record; he currently stands 4th on the list at 4.8 Wins, but is likely to easily catch Terry Turner's 1906 at 5.4.

Thanks, John! I had no idea that we were in the presence of such greatness!
11:55 AM Aug 20th
From the Stats section, Manny Machado is also on pace to break the old record. He's just a little below pace for the post-WWII record for doubles (59 by Todd Helton 2000).
9:30 PM Aug 19th
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