A Fielding Bible Award recognizes the best defensive player for each fielding position in Major League Baseball (MLB) based on statistical analysis. John Dewan and Baseball Info Solutions conduct the annual selection process, which commenced in 2006. The awards are voted on by 10 sabermetrically inclined journalists and bloggers including Dewan, sabermetric pioneer Bill James, and writers such as Peter Gammons, NBC Sports' Joe Posnanski, SB Nation editor Rob Neyer, and ESPN analyst Doug Glanville. The awards have historically been announced before the Gold Glove Awards, the traditional measurement of fielding excellence. Dewan wrote that this award cannot equal the prestige of the Gold Glove, which started 50 years earlier, but it provides an alternative.
Dewan felt that statistics in addition to visual observation and subjective judgment are integral in determining the best defensive players. The Fielding Bible Award attempts to address the deficiencies Dewan saw with the Gold Glove Award, previously the only organized subjective judgment of fielding. The voting for the Fielding Bible Awards are for the entire MLB, and not separated between the National League and the American League; playing defense was not perceived to be any different between the two leagues. The voters select the best defensive player at each position with the best player given 10 points, the second best nine points and so forth. From the award's inception, the specific outfield positions have been picked individually instead of choosing three generic outfielders, a practice employed by the Gold Glove Awards from 1961 to 2010. Each voter selects 10 players for each position. The candidates for each position are defined beforehand to eliminate the possibility of a vote going to player who was not really playing the position. (Rafael Palmeiro won the 1999 AL Gold Glove at first base despite being primarily a designated hitter and appearing in only 28 games as a first baseman that season.) In 2014, a multi-position award was introduced to honor a player who plays multiple positions, with a minimum of 600 innings played at any position but no more than 70 percent of those innings at a specific position. The voting for awards is summarized and published for each position, identifying who everybody voted for. This aims to instill accountability among the voters and provide insight into the process to the public.
Voters use sabermetrics to account for a defenders' range. The traditional standard of a high fielding percentage could be impacted by a player who does not make many errors but also does not get to many balls.
There have been some major differences between the player selections made for the Fielding Bible Awards and the Gold Glove Awards.The Boston Globe writer Peter Abraham said the Fielding Bible Awards "are far more accurate (and accountable)" than the Gold Glove awards since statistics are used along with the opinions of the expert panel. The Gold Gloves are selected by managers and coaches that may have seen a player as few as six times all season. Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times said the votes for the Gold Gloves rely largely on a player's past reputation. Jeff Wilson of The Southern Illinoisan believes that Gold Glove results are unduly influenced by a player's offensive prowess.Derek Jeter, winner of multiple Gold Gloves, believes that many defensive factors cannot be quantified. Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star noted that people "point out the primitive nature of defensive stats -- even if that's more perception now than reality."
In 2013, the Gold Glove award partnered with Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to add a sabermetric component to its vote. Afterwards, Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated wrote that the Gold Gloves "appear to have significantly closed the gap on their more statistically-driven counterparts."
|Player Name (#)||Name of winner (# times won if repeat winner)|
|Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum|
|2006||Iván Rodríguez||Albert Pujols||Orlando Hudson||Adrián Beltré||Adam Everett||Carl Crawford||Carlos Beltrán||Ichiro Suzuki||Greg Maddux||N/A|||
|2007||Yadier Molina||Albert Pujols (2)||Aaron Hill||Pedro Feliz||Troy Tulowitzki||Eric Byrnes||Andruw Jones||Alex Ríos||Johan Santana||N/A|||
|2008||Yadier Molina (2)||Albert Pujols (3)||Brandon Phillips||Adrián Beltré (2)||Jimmy Rollins||Carl Crawford (2)||Carlos Beltrán (2)||Franklin Gutiérrez||Kenny Rogers||N/A|||
|2009||Yadier Molina (3)||Albert Pujols (4)||Aaron Hill (2)||Ryan Zimmerman||Jack Wilson||Carl Crawford (3)||Franklin Gutiérrez (2)||Ichiro Suzuki (2)||Mark Buehrle||N/A|||
|2010||Yadier Molina (4)||Daric Barton||Chase Utley||Evan Longoria||Troy Tulowitzki (2)||Brett Gardner||Michael Bourn||Ichiro Suzuki (3)||Mark Buehrle (2)||N/A|||
|2011||Matt Wieters||Albert Pujols (5)||Dustin Pedroia||Adrián Beltré (3)||Troy Tulowitzki (3)||Brett Gardner (2)||Austin Jackson||Justin Upton||Mark Buehrle (3)||N/A|||
|2012||Yadier Molina (5)||Mark Teixeira||Darwin Barney||Adrián Beltré (4)||Brendan Ryan||Alex Gordon||Mike Trout||Jason Heyward||Mark Buehrle (4)||N/A|||
|2013||Yadier Molina (6)||Paul Goldschmidt||Dustin Pedroia (2)||Manny Machado||Andrelton Simmons||Alex Gordon (2)||Carlos Gómez||Gerardo Parra||R.A. Dickey||N/A|||
|2014||Jonathan Lucroy||Adrián González||Dustin Pedroia (3)||Josh Donaldson||Andrelton Simmons (2)||Alex Gordon (3)||Juan Lagares||Jason Heyward (2)||Dallas Keuchel||Lorenzo Cain|||
|2015||Buster Posey||Paul Goldschmidt (2)||Ian Kinsler||Nolan Arenado||Andrelton Simmons (3)||Starling Marte||Kevin Kiermaier||Jason Heyward (3)||Dallas Keuchel (2)||Ender Inciarte|||
|2016||Buster Posey (2)||Anthony Rizzo||Dustin Pedroia (4)||Nolan Arenado (2)||Andrelton Simmons (4)||Starling Marte (2)||Kevin Pillar||Mookie Betts||Dallas Keuchel (3)||Javier Báez|||
|2017||Martin Maldonado||Paul Goldschmidt (3)||DJ LeMahieu||Nolan Arenado (3)||Andrelton Simmons (5)||Brett Gardner (3)||Byron Buxton||Mookie Betts (2)||Dallas Keuchel (4)||Javier Báez (2)|||
|2018||Jeff Mathis||Matt Olson||Kolten Wong||Matt Chapman||Andrelton Simmons (6)||Alex Gordon (4)||Lorenzo Cain (2)||Mookie Betts (3)||Zack Greinke||Javier Báez (3)|||
|2019||Roberto Pérez||Matt Olson (2)||Kolten Wong (2)||Matt Chapman (2)||Nick Ahmed||David Peralta||Lorenzo Cain (3)||Cody Bellinger||Zack Greinke (2)||Cody Bellinger (2)|||
|2020||Roberto Pérez (2)||Matt Olson (3)||Kolten Wong (3)||Nolan Arenado (4)||Javier Báez (4)||Tyler O'Neill||Kevin Kiermaier (2)||Mookie Betts (4)||Max Fried||Kiké Hernández|||
Voted on by a 10-person panel that includes Bill James, Peter Gammons, Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer, and John Dewan as well as the entire video scouting team at Baseball Info Solutions, the award sets out to recognize the best defensive player at each position, regardless of league.
Unlike the Gold Glove awards, chosen by coaches and based largely on reputation, the Fielding Bible Awards are picked by a panel of experts relying heavily on new-wave statistical analysis for defense.
Every year, John Dewan and Baseball Info Solutions conduct their own process, the Fielding Bible Awards.
And in The Fielding Bible Awards, a vote by various sabermetrically inclined journalists and bloggers, Zimmerman narrowly lost out to Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria (voters didn't differentiate between leagues).
From a news release, here's the makeup of the group that gave Bourn his award in a statistically-guided decision as Bourn is figured to have saved the Astros 16 runs.
The awards have historically been announced before the Gold Glove awards, which are the traditional barometer for fielding excellence.
The three outfield positions are judged separately instead of simply choosing three outfielders.
There is a profound disconnect between those who vote for the Gold Glove Awards, Major League Baseball managers and coaches, and those who vote for the Fielding Bible Awards, 10 expert baseball observers, some of whom favor a sabermetrics approach to the game.
These awards are far more accurate (and accountable) than the Gold Gloves in that statistics are employed along with the opinions of a large panel of experts.
Jeter -- like many players -- dismisses defensive statistics as meaningless because of the many factors that cannot be quantified.