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The 2017 Fielding Bible Awards

October 31, 2017

The 2017 Fielding Bible Awards have officially been announced. Of the 10 winners this season, three players are first-time Fielding Bible Award winners, while the other seven have been honored for their defensive prowess previously.

Andrelton Simmons made history by becoming the first ever player to win five consecutive Fielding Bible Awards. Unlike in 2016 when Simmons narrowly edged out Brandon Crawford for the award (106 points vs. 105 points), this year Simmons solidified his grip on the shortstop position. His margin of victory of 24 points was the second highest behind only Javier Baez for the multi-position award.

The only unanimous vote this season was for right fielder Mookie Betts, who once again excelled in right field for the Boston Red Sox. He finished with 13 more Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) than the two players tied for second place—Jason Heyward and Yasiel Puig.

The three first-time winners in 2017 were center fielder Byron Buxton, who came within one second place vote of winning the award unanimously; catcher Martin Maldonado, who led all catchers with 22 DRS; and DJ LeMahieu, who tied for the league lead in DRS among second baseman with 8 Runs Saved.

A panel of 12 experts, listed below, examined the 2017 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 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 2018.

Here are the results of The 2017 Fielding Bible Awards voting:

Position Winner Points
First Base Paul Goldschmidt 110
Second Base DJ LeMahieu 108
Third Base Nolan Arenado 118
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons 118
Left Field Brett Gardner 117
Center Field Byron Buxton 119
Right Field Mookie Betts 120
Catcher Martin Maldonado 102
Pitcher Dallas Keuchel 110
Multi-Position Javier Baez 97

The Panel:


  • Ben Lindbergh is a staff writer for The Ringer, where he hosts two podcasts, Achievement Oriented and The Ringer MLB Show. He also hosts the Effectively Wild podcast for FanGraphs. He is a former staff writer for FiveThirtyEight and Grantland, a former editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus, and the New York Times bestselling co-author of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team. He lives in New York City.



  • Since you have this book, you probably know Bill James, a baseball writer and analyst published for more than thirty years. Bill 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.



  • 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 was formerly the National Columnist at NBC Sports and is now the Executive Columnist for MLB Advanced Media.



  • For over twenty-five years, BIS owner 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. He is a regular contributor on baseball (often writing on defense) for, 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, 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 Besides hosting the website Tango on Baseball (, Tom is the Senior Data Architect—Stats at MLBAM and is the co-author of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball.



  • Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for FanGraphs and a contributor for The Athletic. He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak. He previously covered the Pittsburgh Pirates for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.



  • Our three tie-breakers are Ben Jedlovec, President of Baseball Info Solutions and co-author of the The Fielding Bible-Volume III and The Fielding Bible-Volume IVDan Casey, veteran Video Scout and Senior Operations Analyst at BIS, and Hans Van Slooten, who runs

COMMENTS (5 Comments, most recent shown first)

Well....add me to the list of people wondering the same thing...not sure why the objection to Kenny or Neyer.
5:41 PM Nov 4th
You're not the only one who'd love to know.
Seems like a pretty odd comment.
(Even to me.) :-)
8:03 PM Nov 2nd
I'd be very interested to know why Rob Neyer and Brian Kenney are not legitimate panelists. They seem highly qualified to me.
8:56 AM Nov 1st
Hey, the guy won an emmy in 2003, isn't that enough for you?
6:46 PM Oct 31st
Get rid of Brian Kenney and Rob Neyer and you have a semi-legitimate panel.
5:35 PM Oct 31st
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