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Who Was August's Top Defender?

September 5, 2019
Cubs shortstop Javier Báez’s reign as the three-time winner of The Fielding Bible Award for Multi-Positional Players is going to come to an end in 2019.

Báez has found a home at one position this season and has continued to excel. He’s Sports Info Solutions’ Defensive Player of the Month for August.

Báez led all shortstops with seven Defensive Runs Saved for the month. His 15 Defensive Runs Saved there for the season rank third behind Nick Ahmed and Trevor Story, both of whom have 18.

Báez’s season total is notable because seven of the runs he’s saved have come from things other than the primary component of Defensive Runs Saved, Range and Positioning. Báez has four Runs Saved from Double Plays and three from Good Fielding Plays (GFPs, which are charted by our Video Scouts).

Báez has successfully converted 91 of 126 double play opportunities in which he was either the fielder or the pivot man. The 91 conversions are the most of any shortstop. The 72% conversion rate ranks fifth among the 30 shortstops with the most opportunities.

Báez has 26 GFPs, two shy of Story for the MLB lead at shortstop. Báez’s value there comes largely from the MLB-leading four instances in which he’s cut down a runner at home plate on a ball hit to him.

Báez’s best play this month was a diving catch of a Starling Marte line drive on a ball that had an out probability of 7%. He’s excelled all season on balls hit in the shortstop-third base hole, converting 120-of-167 into at least one out when the Cubs defense was playing straight-up. That’s 13 more plays than the average shortstop would have been expected to make on those balls. Only Ahmed (+15) and Andrelton Simmons (+14) rate better.

Báez edged out Indians catcher Roberto Pérez for the top spot. Pérez led all catchers with eight Runs Saved this month. He’s saved 23 runs this season, tied with Austin Hedges and Cody Bellinger for the most by any player. Like Báez, Pérez excels in multiple areas. He ranks second in blocking potential wild pitches with a success rate of 96% and he ranks tied for third in our pitch framing stat, Strike Zone Runs Saved, with nine.

Defensive Player of the Month
Month Player
March/April Lorenzo Cain
May Cody Bellinger
June Austin Hedges
July Hunter Renfroe
August Javier Báez


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