The 2014 Fielding Bible Awards

November 1, 2014

THE 2014 FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS have been officially announced. While in previous years there have been nine award winners—one for each position—this year there are ten. We have added a Multi-Position award to recognize the value of defensive versatility to play multiple positions and to play them each well. Of the ten winners, six players are being honored with their first Fielding Bible Awards and four players are repeating the feat.

The outfield in particular featured some singularly outstanding defensive performances this year. Of the three winners, Alex Gordon and Jason Heyward were both unanimous selections in left field and right field, respectively, and Juan Lagares came up just one vote shy of being a unanimous selection in center field. Furthermore, Lorenzo Cain of the Kansas City Royals, who split his time between center field and right field, won the first ever Multi-Position award. Cain was so good in 2014 that if he had played either position full-time, he likely would have been a very serious challenger to Lagares or Heyward for their awards.

Cain's Fielding Bible Award is his first. In addition, the voting panel chose Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers at first base, Josh Donaldson of the Oakland Athletics at third base, Juan Lagares of the New York Mets in center field, Jonathan Lucroy of the Milwaukee Brewers at catcher, and Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros at pitcher—all for the first time as well.

Repeat winners this year include four players. Atlanta Braves teammates Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward are both being honored for the second time at shortstop and right field, respectively. And earning their third award each are Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox at second base and Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals in left field.

A panel of 12 analysts, listed below, examined the 2014 seasons of every defensive player in Major League Baseball and then used the same voting technique as the Major League Baseball MVP voting. First place votes received 10 points, second place 9 points, third place 8 points, etc. A perfect score was 120.

One important distinction that differentiates THE FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS from most other baseball awards, such as the Gold Gloves, is that there is only one winner at each position instead of separate winners for each league. The goal of THE FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS is to stand up and say: "Here is the best fielder at this position in Major League Baseball last season." Another key feature of the system is that it also recognizes the runners-up for each position. A complete record of the voting can be found in The Bill James Handbook 2015.

Here are the results of THE 2014 FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS:

Position Winner Points
First Base Adrian Gonzalez 110
Second Base Dustin Pedroia 114
Third Base Josh Donaldson 114
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons 120
Left Field Alex Gordon 120
Center Field Juan Lagares 119
Right Field Jason Heyward 120
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy 105
Pitcher Dallas Keuchel 109
Multi-Position Lorenzo Cain 92

 

 

The Panel

  • Bill James is a baseball writer and analyst and the Senior Baseball Operations Advisor for the Boston Red Sox.

  • The BIS Video Scouts at Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) study every game of the season, multiple times, charting a huge list of valuable game details.

  • As the MLB Network on-air host of Clubhouse Confidential and MLB Now, Brian Kenny brings an analytical perspective on the game of baseball to a national television audience. He also won a 2003 Sports Emmy Award as host of ESPN's Baseball Tonight.

  • Dave Cameron is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

  • Doug Glanville played nine seasons in Major League Baseball and was well known for his excellent outfield defense. Currently, he is a baseball analyst at ESPN, primarily on Baseball Tonight and ESPN.com, as well as a regular contributor to The New York Times.

  • The man who created Strat-O-Matic Baseball, Hal Richman.

  • Named the best sports columnist in America in 2012 by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, Joe Posnanski is the National Columnist at NBC Sports.

  • For over twenty-five years, BIS owner John Dewan has collected, analyzed, and published in-depth baseball statistics and analysis. He authored The Fielding Bible—Volume II, and co-authored The Fielding Bible—Volume III.

  • Mark Simon has been a researcher for ESPN Stats & Information since 2002 and currently helps oversee the Stats & Information blog and Twitter (@espnstatsinfo). He is a regular contributer on baseball (often writing on defense) for ESPNNY.com and ESPN.com.

  • Peter Gammons serves as on-air and online analyst for MLB Network, MLB.com and NESN (New England Sports Network). He is the 56th recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for outstanding baseball writing given by the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America).

  • Rob Neyer has been a working writer for 25 years, and currently is best-known as FOXSports.com's Senior Baseball Editor. His seventh book, Untitled, will be published after he writes it.

  • The Tom Tango Fan Poll represents the results of a poll taken at the website, Tango on Baseball (www.tangotiger.net). Besides hosting the website, Tom writes research articles devoted to sabermetrics.

  • Our three tie-breakers are Ben Jedlovec, President of Baseball Info Solutions and co-author of The Fielding Bible—Volume III, Dan Casey, veteran Video Scout and Operations Analyst at BIS, and Sean Forman, the founder of Baseball-Reference.com.

Complete results and voting on THE 2014 FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS are presented in The Bill James Handbook 2015, published on or before November 1 every year. For more information on THE FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS, visit www.fieldingbible.com.

 
 

COMMENTS (9 Comments, most recent shown first)

steve161
I can understand wanting to recognize Cain, but he isn't superior to Lagares in CF or Heyward in RF. His point total suggest there were a number of other worthy candidates, so I'll be interested to see the voting breakdown when the Handbook arrives. I'll also be interested to see the vote at 3B and especially at C, where I rate Molina, Martin and Perez ahead of Lucroy.
7:33 PM Nov 7th
 
MarisFan61
It's to show that immersion in sabermetrics, like immersion in anything, can remove a fair amount of common sense.

Sorry folks :-) .....but this is a great, great example of how out-of-touch the thinking of 'experts' can be. IMO we've seen a number of others, but I've often been a minority of one on those. I'm glad to see that I've got company on this one.
9:24 PM Nov 5th
 
OldBackstop
I think they explain why Cain won. But I agree it is frustrating that a multi-position infielder, showing a wider disparity of skills isn't honored. Or a catcher OFer, or whatever. Corner OFers...shrug, okay, but doesn't really show a mastery of two (or more) positions. Is that the goal? Or is it just to cover a guy like Cain?
11:19 PM Nov 4th
 
shthar
A guy that just plays in the outfield does not deserve the award for 'multi position'.


8:43 PM Nov 4th
 
MarisFan61
(oops, NEYER of course) :-)
9:39 PM Nov 2nd
 
MarisFan61
I agree completely with Neyes.
CF and RF don't make a player "multi-position."
This is right in line with the debates and disagreements we've had lately about what's a "bench player," what's a "utility player".....I've been surprised to see the extreme differences of concept, and likewise I was very surprised to see Cain being consider "multi-position."
9:39 PM Nov 2nd
 
chill
Rob Neyer went over his ballot at his fox site, and made a good point. He had Lorenzo Cain way down his list, not because he wasn't a fine outfielder, but because Neyer thought "multi-position defense" meant more than "switched between two outfield spots." So Neyer had people who moved between outfield and infield, like Zobrist, at the top of his ballot. I guess it was up to the voters to decide how to interpret that category, but I think there's something to be said for Neyer's approach.
6:54 AM Nov 2nd
 
MarisFan61
Just a detail: The MVP vote doesn't work exactly that way.

First place votes count 'extra extra': 14 points, not 10.
But no matter. :-)
12:01 AM Nov 2nd
 
rtayatay
What a cool group of voters.
5:56 PM Nov 1st
 
 
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