Who are the 2014 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I)

October 1, 2014

We are looking forward to what promises to be an exciting October of postseason baseball, but now that the regular season is behind us, it’s also a great time to reflect on the players who enjoyed tremendous seasons. As one of the 12 voters for The Fielding Bible Awards, here are some of my considerations as I fill out my ballot.

Today, we’ll take a look at catchers and infielders. Part II will be the next Stat of the Week where we’ll look at pitchers and outfielders. (Note: In the tables below, the numbers next to the player names represent their Defensive Runs Saved totals.)

Catchers: Yadier Molina has won six of the last seven Fielding Bible Awards, including the most recent two. He’s definitely in the mix again this season, but a thumb injury that cost him close to two months may prevent him from winning his seventh Award. The favorite to replace him comes from within his own division. Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers has developed into one of the best defensive and offensive players in the game. In particular, Lucroy is an exceptional pitch receiver. His 95.9 percent block rate on pitches in the dirt and potential wild pitches is the best among qualified catchers. Russell Martin has more Runs Saved than either Lucroy or Molina, and has caught 28 runners trying to steal, second most in baseball behind Rene Rivera of the Padres.

Salvador Perez may fall short in the Fielding Bible Awards, but, as was the case in 2013, he will have much less competition for the Gold Glove in the American League. However, rookies Caleb Joseph and Christian Vazquez of the Orioles and Red Sox, respectively, could challenge Perez in future seasons if they become regulars.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Jonathan Lucroy (11) Russell Martin (12)
Yadier Molina (8)
AL Gold Glove Salvador Perez (8) Caleb Joseph (8)
Christian Vazquez (6)
NL Gold Glove Jonathan Lucroy (11) Russell Martin (12)
Yadier Molina (8)


First Basemen: A season-ending injury to Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt opens the door for veteran Adrian Gonzalez to win his first Fielding Bible Award, which is long overdue. Since 2009, Gonzalez’s 62 Runs Saved lead the position by 12 runs, but he has had the poor luck to share his prime with superb defensive first basemen Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira. Pujols may still be the favorite to win the Gold Glove in the AL, but foot injuries have robbed him of the range that allowed him to routinely save double-digit runs per season in the mid-2000s. Steve Pearce and Chris Davis of the Orioles combined for 17 Runs Saved at the position, but their split duty may cost either one of them the chance to win the Award this year.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Adrian Gonzalez (12) Yonder Alonso (9)
Matt Adams (8)
AL Gold Glove Albert Pujols (6) Mike Napoli (7)
Steve Pearce (9)
NL Gold Glove Adrian Gonzalez (12) Yonder Alonso (9)
Justin Morneau (8)


Second Basemen: Ian Kinsler was exactly the stabilizing defensive force the Tigers hoped they were acquiring in the blockbuster offseason trade that sent Prince Fielder to the Rangers. Kinsler led the position with 20 Runs Saved and helped stabilize an otherwise erratic infield defense in Detroit. Dustin Pedroia and D.J. LeMahieu are hot on Kinsler’s heels with 17 and 16 Runs Saved, respectively. Pedroia has won two of the last three Fielding Bible Awards at the position but once again had his season cut short due to injury. Even if LeMahieu falls short in the Fielding Bible Award, he is a deserving candidate for the NL Gold Glove. He has a six-run cushion over 2011 Fielding Bible Award winner Darwin Barney, and his lead is even greater over the leading full-time second basemen in the NL. Of course, Brandon Phillips has won four of the last six NL Gold Gloves, so it's possible he could win another despite trailing LeMahieu by 10 Runs Saved.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Ian Kinsler (20) Dustin Pedroia (17)
D.J. LeMahieu (16)
AL Gold Glove Ian Kinsler (20) Dustin Pedroia (17)
Jonathan Schoop (10)
NL Gold Glove D.J. LeMahieu (16) Kolten Wong (9)
Brandon Phillips (6)


Third Basemen: In 2013, we saw a changing of the guard at third base that will likely continue this season. After Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, and Ryan Zimmerman dominated the Fielding Bible Awards at third base for seven years, Manny Machado took home the Award last season. A pair of injuries that bookended his abbreviated season will prevent Machado from repeating, but new stars Josh Donaldson and Nolan Arenado will compete to pick up the mantle and will likely take home their respective Gold Gloves. A few veterans remain in the mix, as well, such as Juan Uribe and Adrian Beltre.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Josh Donaldson (20) Nolan Arenado (16)
Juan Uribe (17)
AL Gold Glove Josh Donaldson (20) Kyle Seager (10)
Adrian Beltre (9)
NL Gold Glove Nolan Arenado (16) David Wright (13)
Juan Uribe (17)


Shortstops: Andrelton Simmons was not quite as dominant in 2014 as he was in 2013, when he finished the season with an unprecedented 41 Runs Saved. However, his 28 Runs Saved this season still provides a nine-run cushion over the closest shortstop to him, Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart. Meanwhile, almost all of the good shortstop play took place in the NL this season. J.J. Hardy is really the only viable candidate for the Gold Glove Award in the AL. Part-time players like Jose Ramirez and Nick Franklin provide some optimism for improvement in the AL, but this season, most of the full-time competition finished with negative Runs Saved totals.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Andrelton Simmons (28) Zack Cozart (19)
Jhonny Peralta (17)
AL Gold Glove J.J. Hardy (10) Alcides Escobar (-4)
Alexei Ramirez (-4)
NL Gold Glove Andrelton Simmons (28) Zack Cozart (19)
Jhonny Peralta (17)
 
 

COMMENTS (1 Comment)

rgregory1956
Just to be clear: the "favorites" are your favorites, not necessarily the GG voters, right?
10:07 PM Oct 1st
 
 
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