The 2016 Fielding Bible Awards

October 28, 2016
 

THE 2016 FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS have been officially announced. Of the ten winners this season, four players are first-time Fielding Bible Award winners, while the other six have been honored for their defensive prowess before.

Dustin Pedroia and Andrelton Simmons both won their fourth Fielding Bible Awards. Pedroia reclaimed his title from Ian Kinsler for his fourth win in six seasons. Simmons won his fourth consecutive award despite missing playing time this season. This was the first time that he didn’t win unanimously, however, as he only narrowly beat out Brandon Crawford – 106 to 105 points in the voting. 

The only unanimous vote this season was for catcher Buster Posey, who excelled in every defensive aspect of catching and finished with 10 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) more than second-place DRS finisher Yasmani Grandal. Nolan Arenado and Starling Marte were close to winning unanimously with only one voter ranking each player in second place. These are the second Fielding Bible Awards for Posey, Arenado, and Marte, all repeating their titles from last season.

Like Simmons, Dallas Keuchel barely came out on top in the voting for his position this season, winning his third consecutive pitcher Fielding Bible Award. He finished three points ahead of Zack Greinke, despite having only three of the 12 panelists rank him as the number one pitcher. He finished with the fewest points of any of the 2016 Fielding Bible Award winners.

There were four first-time winners in 2016: Center fielder Kevin Pillar, who narrowly beat the 2015 Fielding Bible Award winner Kevin Kiermaier; right fielder Mookie Betts, who led all of baseball in DRS with 32; and Cubs teammates first baseman Anthony Rizzo and multi-position player Javier Baez. The two Cubs helped lead their team to an outstanding 107 DRS, the most by any team since DRS tracking began in 2003.

A panel of 12 experts, listed below, examined the 2016 seasons of every defensive player in Major League Baseball and ranked the 10 best players at each position on a scale from 1 to 10. The same scoring technique as the Major League Baseball MVP voting was then used. First place votes received 10 points, second place 9 points, third place 8 points, etc. A perfect score is 120.

One important distinction that differentiates THE FIELDING BIBLE AWARDSfrom 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 2017.

Here are the results of THE 2016 FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS:

Position Winner Points
First Base Anthony Rizzo 113
Second Base Dustin Pedroia 114
Third Base Nolan Arenado 119
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons 106
Left Field Starling Marte 119
Center Field Kevin Pillar 109
Right Field Mookie Betts 116
Catcher Buster Posey 120
Pitcher Dallas Keuchel 103
Multi-Position Javier Baez 105

 

The Panel

  • Bill James is a baseball writer and analyst published for more than thirty years. He is 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 an MLB Network on-air host of MLB Now and MLB TonightBrian 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. Until recently, he resided in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where the local minor league team once forced him to watch Michael Morse play shortstop for an entire season. He has appreciated defensive value ever since.
  • 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 on Baseball TonightSportsCenter,Wednesday Night Baseball, and ESPN.com, as well as a regular contributor to The New York Times, and he is the author of the bookThe Game from Where I Stand.
  • The man who created Strat-O-Matic Baseball, Hal Richman, continues to lead his company's annual in-depth analysis of each player's season. Hal cautions SOM players that his voting on this ballot may or may not reflect the eventual fielding ratings for players in his game. Ballots were due prior to the completion of his annual research effort to evaluate player defense.
  • 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 and CEO John Dewan has collected, analyzed, and published in-depth baseball statistics and analysis. He has authored or co-authored four volumes of The Fielding Bible.
  • 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 contributor on baseball (often writing on defense) for ESPNNY.com and ESPN.com, and is the author of Numbers Don't Lie: The Biggest Numbers in Yankees History(published by Triumph Books in June 2016).
  • 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 most recently has contributed to The New York Times, Vice Sports, and Complex. When he's not writing, he's thinking about not writing. Rob will live in Portland, Oregon for as long as they let him.
  • 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 is the Senior Data Architect—Stats at MLBAM and is the co-author of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball.
  • Our three tie-breakers are Ben Jedlovec, President of Baseball Info Solutions and co-author of The Fielding Bible—Volume III and The Fielding Bible—Volume IVDan Casey, veteran Video Scout and Senior Operations Analyst at BIS, and Sean Forman, the founder of Baseball-Reference.com.

A personal note: The winners of the Fielding Bible Awards all have extraordinary physical abilities. This weekend I am riding 115 miles in a fundraiser that helps those who are losing their physical abilities. I am riding for my friend Nancy who has MS. It’s call Bike MS and it raises funds for Multiple Sclerosis research. If you are moved to donate towards a cure for MS, you can support my ride at http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/JDrideforNANCY.

 
 

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