Who are the 2017 Fielding Bible Award/Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I)

October 16, 2017
 

For the next two weeks we will be writing a two-part series examining who the likely 2017 Fielding Bible Award contenders are. We will also be giving our predictions for the Gold Glove winners at every position in each league. This week, for Part I, we will be looking at catchers and infielders. Next week, in Part II, we will examine who the contenders are for the pitcher, outfield, and multi-positional awards. Please note in all of the tables below, the numbers in parentheses next to the players’ names represent their Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) totals at their primary position.

Catcher:

After winning two straight Fielding Bible Awards, Buster Posey suffered a down year defensively in 2017 as his DRS as a catcher dropped from 23 in 2016 to just 2 this past season. Posey's dropoff made the 2017 Fielding Bible race for catchers wide open, and two relative unknowns, Martin Maldonado and Austin Hedges, seized the opportunity. In the end Maldonado is the leading candidate for the award, as he was one of only two catchers (the other being Manny Pina) who had positive Runs Saved in all five components of DRS that apply to catchers: Stolen Bases, Bunts, GFP/DME, Adj. ER Saved, and Strike Zone.

 
  Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Martin Maldonado (22) Austin Hedges (20)
    Yasmani Grandal (17)
AL Gold Glove Salvador Perez (0) Martin Maldonado (22)
    Jason Castro (10)
NL Gold Glove Yadier Molina (7) Yasmani Grandal (17)
    Buster Posey (2)

 

First Baseman:

Last season's Fielding Bible Award winner, Anthony Rizzo, had another strong year defensively finishing with nine DRS. Unfortunately for Rizzo this defensive performance only ranked sixth among first baseman as Joey Votto and Brandon Belt paced the first baseman field with 11 DRS each. Belt gets the nod as the favorite for this year's Fielding Bible Award as he was able to lead the position in DRS while ranking just 25th in innings played as a first baseman. All of Belt's DRS were attributable to his range and positioning, and this mark led all first baseman as well.

 
  Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Brandon Belt (11) Joey Votto (11)
    Paul Goldschmidt (10)
AL Gold Glove Mitch Moreland (10) Carlos Santana (10)
    Joe Mauer (7)
NL Gold Glove Brandon Belt (11) Paul Goldschmidt (10)
    Anthony Rizzo (9)

 

Second Baseman:

With defending Fielding Bible Award winner Dustin Pedroia being hampered by nagging injuries throughout the year, Boston's scrappy second baseman was unable to live up to the consistent excellent defensive standard he set for himself. As a result, the 2017 second base award was up for grabs. DJ LeMahieu edges out perenial Fielding Bible Award contender Ian Kinsler as the favorite this year, as the Rockies' second baseman tied for the league lead with eight DRS. It is worth mentioning that the player he tied with, Yolmer Sanchez, saved his eight runs in only 620 innings at second base — approximately half of the innings played by the other two candidates. Due to this outstanding performance in his limited playing time, he could be a contender.

 
  Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award DJ LeMahieu (8) Ian Kinsler (6)
    Yolmer Sanchez (8)
AL Gold Glove Ian Kinsler (6) Robinson Cano (0)
    Jose Altuve (3)
NL Gold Glove DJ LeMahieu (8) Josh Harrison (6)
    Dee Gordon (3)

 

Third Baseman:

After winning two straight Fielding Bible Awards, Nolan Arenado looks to be in line for his third as he led all third baseman with 20 DRS in 2017. Arenado saved 17 runs with his range and positioning in 2017, tied for the lead among all third basemen, and trailing only Andrelton Simmons among all infielders. It should be noted that while Arenado is king of the hot corner for now, he will certainly be challenged in the future by Matt Chapman. Chapman, in just his rookie season with Oakland, saved nearly as many runs as Arenado (19) in just over half as many games. Chapman will be in consideration for the AL Gold Glove, but he will have to contend with mainstays Manny Machado and Adrian Beltre in what should be a very close race.

 
  Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Nolan Arenado (20) Matt Chapman (19)
    Jedd Gyorko (16)
AL Gold Glove Manny Machado (6) Adrian Beltre (6)
    Matt Chapman (19)
NL Gold Glove Nolan Arenado (20) Anthony Rendon (7)
    Justin Turner (6)

 

Shortstop:

Andrelton Simmons is in line to become the first player to win five straight Fielding Bible Awards as he led all of Major League Baseball with 32 runs saved in 2017. For the fourth time in the past five years Simmons led all infielders in DRS. Additionally, Simmons was the only shorstop in 2017 to have at least three Runs Saved in every single component of DRS that apply to middle infielders: Range and Positioning, GFP/DME, and GDP. Since 2014 Simmons has accomplished this feat three times. J.J. Hardy is the only other shortstop to accomplish this during this time frame, and he only did it once.

 
  Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Andrelton Simmons (32) Addison Russell (15)
    Trevor Story (11)
AL Gold Glove Andrelton Simmons (32) Francisco Lindor (5)
    Jose Iglesias (4)
NL Gold Glove Trevor Story (11) Addison Russell (15)
    Brandon Crawford (9)
 
 

COMMENTS (7 Comments, most recent shown first)

Brian
Surprised Kinsler did as well as he did. Watching the games, he seemed much worse this year than other years. Maybe it's just his own prior standard my mind is comparing him to.
1:12 PM Oct 18th
 
Mike137
Catcher runs saved from BBref:

Maldonado 11
Molina 11
Grandal 6
Hedges 6

Dramatically different from the numbers above. Why? Different evaluation of pitch framing? Do we know that is reliable?
8:07 PM Oct 17th
 
Mike137
It is interesting that the 2B, 3B, and SS awards might all go to Rockies. But I don't see how the altitude could play a role for infield play. Odd bounces are due to the interaction of the ball with the ground not the air, so altitude should not matter. Colorado pitchers faced 6177 batters, slightly below the NL average of 6190, so that is not a factor. So it seems they just have a really good infield.​
2:09 PM Oct 17th
 
jaybracken

I know people have studied the effect of altitude on curve balls (some showing a reduction of ~4 inches of break). I've always wondered if that makes balls slightly easier to field there as well - less funky spin, bad hops, etc.?
11:32 AM Oct 17th
 
smbakeresq
Question.

Would a player in a high run environment like Colorado have more DRS because he has more opportunities because so many more batters come to the plate?
11:09 AM Oct 17th
 
dbutler69
Good Fielding Plays/Defensive Misplays
5:38 AM Oct 17th
 
DavidTodd
nice article
what is gfp/dme?
1:39 AM Oct 17th
 
 
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