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Who are the 2016 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I)

Friday, October 14th, 2016

by John Dewan

For the next two weeks we will be writing a two-part series examining who the likely 2016 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, outfielders, and multi-positional awards. (Note: In all of the tables below, the numbers next to the players’ names represent their Defensive Runs Saved totals.)


No catcher came close to Buster Posey this season in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). The 2015 Fielding Bible Award winner led all catchers this year with 23. Posey saved runs in every single category for catchers. The only other catcher to do this was Carlos Perez. Almost half of Posey’s DRS came from his ability to frame pitches (11) to obtain extra strike calls from the umpire. He was tied with Russell Martin for third in this ability behind Yasmani Grandal and Tyler Flowers.

While Posey should be a clear-cut winner for the Gold Glove in the National League, will his defensive performance be enough for Rawlings to replace their entrenched eight-time winner, Yadier Molina? Molina finished 14th in DRS in 2016. Over in the American League, Salvador Perez has won the Gold Glove for each of the past three seasons despite his overall DRS catcher rankings of 12th in 2014 and 18th in 2015. In 2016, Salvador Perez had another pedestrian season defensively. He finished tied for 13th overall with only three Runs Saved. The skill that Perez struggled the most with was his pitch framing, costing his team eight runs with that aspect of his game.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Buster Posey (23) Yasmani Grandal (13)
Derek Norris (15)
AL Gold Glove Salvador Perez (3) James McCann (9)
Russell Martin (7)
NL Gold Glove Yadier Molina (2) Buster Posey (23)
Yasmani Grandal (13)


First Baseman:

This season’s top contender, Anthony Rizzo, is in line for his first ever Fielding Bible Award. Last season’s Fielding Bible Award winner, Paul Goldschmidt, finished 9th in DRS this season. Rizzo finished first with 11 DRS, 9 of which were due to his range and positioning.

Eric Hosmer won the AL Golden Glove for the last three seasons, despite being ranked no higher than 13th at first base in DRS. This season, he ranked 33rd, costing his team six runs. With such a bad defensive season, this year’s winner should be someone else. A likely candidate is Chris Davis with his eight runs saved split evenly between his range and positioning and his Good Fielding Plays, Defensive Misplays, and Errors (GFP/DME).

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Anthony Rizzo (11) Freddie Freeman (9)
Brandon Belt (9)
AL Gold Glove Chris Davis (8) Mitch Moreland (7)
Eric Hosmer (-6)
NL Gold Glove Anthony Rizzo (11) Freddie Freeman (9)
Paul Goldschmidt (4)


Second Baseman:

In 2015, there was a clear-cut leader for the Fielding Bible Award at second base, Ian Kinsler with 19 DRS. However, in 2016, Dustin Pedroia was healthy again, making it a close race between the two. Both finished with 12 DRS, followed closely by Robinson Cano and Javier Baez who finished with 11. It is worth mentioning that Javier Baez saved 11 runs in only 383 innings played at second base, less than a third of the innings by any of the other three candidates. Due to this outstanding performance in his limited playing time, he could be a contender.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Ian Kinsler (12) Dustin Pedroia (12)
Robinson Cano (11)
AL Gold Glove Dustin Pedroia (12) Ian Kinsler (12)
Robinson Cano (11)
NL Gold Glove DJ LeMahieu (3) Javier Baez (11)
Joe Panik (3)


Third Baseman:

The 2015 winner, Nolan Arenado, was dominant again defensively in 2016. His 20 DRS topped both Kyle Seager and Adrian Beltre, who were tied for second with 15. He saved 18 runs due to range and positioning, leading all third-basemen and trailing only Addison Russell for all infielders in the league. Due to splitting his time between third base and shortstop, Manny Machado dropped to fourth overall in DRS in 2016 with 13. However, his 13 Runs Saved in 998 innings still gave him a higher rate than both Adrian Beltre with 15 in 1,219 innings and Kyle Seager with 15 in 1,400 innings. It will be a close race between Machado, Beltre, and Seager for the AL Gold Glove.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Nolan Arenado (20) Manny Machado (13)
Adrian Beltre (15)
AL Gold Glove Manny Machado (13) Adrian Beltre (15)
Kyle Seager (15)
NL Gold Glove Nolan Arenado (20) Anthony Rendon (8)
Matt Duffy (11)



This season’s race at shortstop is a close one between four players: Andrelton Simmons, Brandon Crawford, Addison Russell, and Francisco Lindor. Out of the four, the slight edge goes to Simmons, who played only 1045 innings (at least 217.2 fewer than the other three), and still managed to only trail by two Runs Saved. Also, Simmons and Crawford were the only two to not cost their teams runs in any of the three categories that comprise Runs Saved for middle infielders – Range and Positioning, GFP/DME, and GDP.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Andrelton Simmons (18) Brandon Crawford (20)
Addison Russell (19)
AL Gold Glove Andrelton Simmons (18) Francisco Lindor (17)
J.J. Hardy (6)
NL Gold Glove Brandon Crawford (20) Addison Russell (19)
Zack Cozart (8)

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®,

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I Love Bryan Adams

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

by Cap’n Realist

After the second straight day of attacks on one of my favorite musicians, I feel it’s important to Make A Stand.   These sort of attacks tend to Cut Like a Knife, and though many of you may not be fans, it’s important that he can Depend on Me.  I’m not oven going to make this about the fact that the man is charitable and principled, his defense of LGBT rights and the rights of Canadian First Nations citizens are plenty well chronicled.  This is about the fulfilling experiences that have been brought into my life through seeing his live shows.  He doesn’t have a great singing voice, and that comes through in his recorded music.  It also makes his live shows sound just like him.  It’s a nice shift from the “who is this singing?” I usually experience when seeing a show, especially a rock show.

In the summer of ’85, a 15 year old realist from the outskirts of Chicago and his 16 year old friends made the 90 minute trip to Alpine Valley Music Theater in beautiful Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  The great Bryan Adams was playing with a Euro Band called Cock Robin.  Cock Robin was known for their hit song “When Your Heart is Weak” which, as I understand it, continuously plays on a loop in Seymour’s waiting room.  I digress.  The show itself was fantastic, because as with any rock show, I knew the lyrics and could sing along.  I was 15.  During that show, I met and made out with a Northwestern co-ed named Carrie (or Kerry, or Cari, or Keri…can’t be sure).  Anyway, it was the realist’s first make out sesh, and it was with a college chick.  A One Night Love Affair, if you will. One for the ages.

I never saw Carrie again, but saw Bryan Adams twice more in the 80’s.  In the 90’s, like Sherm and Brad, I decided I was too cool for Bryan Adams, so I spent my money on Third Eye Blind and Chumbawumba tickets.  Fast forward to September 10th, 2001, I met a tall exceptionally attractive woman on a first date in Manhattan Beach, California.  We had a great time for the first half hour or so, but then the conversation lagged.  She asked what type of music I was into.  I couldn’t admit to Chumbawumba at that point, so I muttered “Bryan Adams.”  Turns out SHE LOVED THE GUY!  The next day was extremely tragic for all of us, but we decided to keep seeing each other.   Three months later, we flew to Vegas to see him live at the Paris Casino on New Year’s Eve.  I kicked down for 13th row tickets, the best I could afford.  The first 12 rows of the venue were completely empty, the usual Vegas garbage of hanging on to the best seats as a thank you for the worst gamblers.  After a single song, he stopped the show and asked the ushers to orderly move everyone 12 rows closer.  Initially, they refused, and the head of the casino had to come on stage and meet with him before they’d do it…but he steadfastly said that his fans deserved to be close.  We ended up in the front row. The following 4th of July I got engaged to that woman, and 15 years later, Bryan Adams’ music is something we still agree on.   Unlike 3rd Eye Blind and Chumbawumba, my marriage and Bryan Adams have stood the test of time.   Sure it’s cheesy, and the lyrics are bad, but admit it, you know the words.

“I got my first real six string…

You didn’t come here today looking for an All-Star recap, did you?

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Stat of the Week – How Good Are The Cubs?

Friday, April 29th, 2016

One of our readers, Andrew Berman, shared some research he did where he looked into the best starts to the regular season in major league history, specifically referencing the Chicago Cubs and their 20-game tear to open up 2016. Andrew’s research references Bill James’ Pythagorean Winning Percentage, which uses a team’s runs scored and runs allowed to estimate their expected win-loss record. Runs scored and allowed are more representative of a team’s underlying performance than wins and losses over a small sample, and so it’s no surprise that Pythagorean Winning Percentage has proven more predictive of team’s future win-loss records than their actual win-loss records.

As it stands today, the Cubs hold a major league-best 15-5 record. But how does their Pythagorean record stack up against some of baseball’s historically great teams? We went back 75 years and examined each team’s first 20 games of the season. Here’s what we found:

Pythagorean Winning Percentage Through 20 Games, 1940-2016
Team Year Runs Scored Runs Allowed Pythagorean Win% Outcome
Athletics 1981 99 37 .877 Lost ALCS
Dodgers 1974 117 51 .840 Lost World Series
Cubs 2016 123 54 .838 TBD
Yankees 2003 142 63 .836 Lost World Series
Red Sox 2001 109 49 .832 Missed Postseason
Twins 1972 96 49 .793 Missed Postseason
Indians 1959 121 62 .792 Finished 2nd in AL
Cardinals 2012 104 54 .788 Lost NLCS
Dodgers 1941 120 63 .784 Lost World Series
Tigers 1984 120 63 .784 Won World Series

The Cubs boast the best Pythagorean Winning Percentage in over 30 years of baseball. Granted, we’re putting stake in only an eighth of a season’s worth of data, but there is some pretty remarkable company shown in the table. Of the bunch, only two teams missed the postseason, while four of the seven who did dress in October found themselves playing for the World Series by season’s end. Let’s see how their run differential compares to some of the great teams of the past.

Run Differential Leaders Through 20 Games, 1940-2016
Team Season Runs Scored Runs Allowed Run Differential
Yankees 2003 142 63 79
Cubs 2016 123 54 69
Dodgers 1974 117 51 66
Tigers 1993 158 93 65
Cardinals 1962 141 77 64

From top to bottom, the Cubs have done everything well this season, dominating all phases of the game. Their pitching has been spectacular, where they own a league-leading 0.96 WHIP and the league’s third-best ERA at 2.58. As we wrote last week, their defense has been among the best in baseball so far, and their offense has been well above average in its own right. For a bit of perspective on this season, here’s how the run differential leaderboard shapes up through the first 20 games of 2016.

Run Differential Leaders Through 20 Games, 2016
Team Runs Scored Runs Allowed Run Differential
Cubs 123 54 69
Cardinals 126 85 41
Nationals 82 52 30
Mets 88 60 28
Dodgers 96 74 22

When restricting to only the first 20 games of 2016, the Cubs are well ahead of the rest of the field. While they certainly won’t maintain this torrid pace, their differential of plus-69 runs prorates to 559 over a 162-game season. Give or take 200 runs, and that mark would still easily top the 1998 Yankees’ differential of 309 runs, the greatest difference dating back to 1940. But only time will tell if history was meant to be made in 2016.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®,

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Seymour Goes to Camp

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

by Seymour Butts

As most of you are aware, I am a recidivist when it comes to Cubs fantasy camp. This year was my 13th. I took my GoPro along and spent the last month cutting about 8 hours of film to 17 minutes. The camera was mostly mounted to my head and thus a lot of the footage bobbles. I discovered that the sound quality of the GoPro mounted in it’s housing was not great, and eventually I discovered how to do voice overs, but only late in the project did I figure out how to adjust the sound levels on that. When running the camera makes a repetitive pounding noise.

When I looked at it last night, there were several things I wanted to have done better, but with my target audience being , well, all of us, I said “screw it, I’m done”.

My goal is to give you a taste of just what goes on there and hopefully a few of you will figure out what those of us who have been already know. It needs to be at the top of your bucket list.

Enjoy it, or don’t I really don’t give a crap at this point.

And for those who just can’t stand that not everyone uses their real name here (honestly, Seymour Butts is a name just made for this blog) you can figure out mine with some effort in this video, thought I cut an introduction short to make that task more difficult.

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Chris Coghlin: The Road Back to Relevancy

Monday, December 21st, 2015

by Adam Serink

The outfield for the Chicago Cubs of 2016 looks outstanding. Names like Heyward, Schwarber, Soler, and even Zobrist likely will highlight the lineup card for years to come. But there is another name that Cubs fans should get used to hearing, if they aren’t already – Chris Coghlan.

On January 15, 2014, the Chicago Cubs signed Chris Coghlan to a minor league deal including an invite to Spring Training. Coghlan had been drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft by the Florida Marlins, and he continued to dazzle throughout his minor league career. He earned his first major league call up in May of 2009, and it seemed like Coghlan would not see the minors ever again. That year, Coghlan hit nine home runs, and drove in forty-seven runs, with an impressive slash line of .321/.390/.460. With that impressive display, Chris beat out such names as JA Happ, Andrew McCutchen, and Dexter Fowler for the 2009 Rookie of the Year honour. It seemed like the Marlins had something special, and without a doubt, they believed Coghlan would be their next star.

Late 2013 – After the impressive debut season, the major leagues caught up with Chris. He managed to slash .242/.307/.352 with the Marlins for the remainder of his tenure with the major league team. Injuries caught up with Coghlan, and over those four seasons following his outstanding debut season, he managed to play in only 265 major league games. The Coghlan of 2009 was gone, and the Marlins’ organization, and fan base had realized that. He had been optioned to the minor leagues numerous times, and his lingering injury problems turned off most everybody. Within four years, Coghlan had went from being a potential star with the Marlins, to a minor league castaway. And in late 2013, the Marlins called it quits. They pulled the plug on the ”Chris Coghlan Experiment”. He was not tendered a contract for the following year, therefore, making him a free agent for the first time in his career. Could this have possibly been the end of a career that once had so much promise? Possibly so. But it never did come to that.

When the Chicago Cubs signed Coghlan. he was expected to challenge names such as Schierholtz, Lake, Sweeney, and Ruggiano for a spot in the outfield. And when the time came to pick who stayed, and who went, Coghlan, with his .224 average throughout the spring, did not appeal to Theo and Jed, leading to their decision of sending him down to AAA Iowa. In his twenty four games played in Iowa, Coghlan hit for only a .243 average, but put together a stellar on-base percentage at .379, while jumping around the field at all three outfield positions, and multiple innings logged at first base. He showed strong versatility and was it possible that Coghlan had yet again found himself? It sure seemed that way.

On May 3, 2014, Ryan Sweeney strained his right hamstring, as he almost regularly managed to do. The corresponding move was made, and Chris Coghlan was added to the roster. May 4th was Coghlan’s debut in Cubbie blue, and there was nothing note-worthy about it, to say the least. Actually, from his Cubs’ debut until July 6, Coghlan looked like he was lost. He was overmatched, out of place, and it seemed like it was soon to be the end for Cogs and his tenure with the team. Through his first fifty games played as a Cub, Coghlan started twenty seven games, with a slash line of .229/.303/.356. Many had lost hope in Chris, but Rick Renteria was not one of those people. Coghlan’s playing time increased, he received more at bats, starts, and eventually, Ricky’s experiment worked – Coghlan was looking good out there.

On July 7, Chris Coghlan had himself a game. He went four-for-five, with two doubles, a stolen base, and two runs scored. With one game, his batting average shot up twenty three points, and it sparked a resurgence in his career, where he initially was at the point many believed it was over for him. With that one game, Coghlan began to play with great frequency, and his numbers began to go up as well. After one game, Coghlan had become a feared hitter yet again in Major League Baseball, marking a major comeback in a career that just months prior had looked so bleak. From July 8th, onward, Coghlan looked like a new man at the plate. Whether it was Renteria’s persistence, or Coghlan’s mentality, something had changed with Chris. He was blazing hot. He hit .307, with thirty four extra base hits from July 8th, until the end of the season, Coghlan had been one of the best bats the Cubs could’ve asked for. They had found a type of player they needed in the worst way – a lefty bat, who could play everywhere in the field, steal bases, take great at bats, and get on base more than most. It was no shocker to see that Chris had been named the Opening Night starter for the 2015 season, this time by the new manager, Joe Maddon. The Cubs showed a lot of confidence in their new left fielder that they salvaged from the trash heap, and turned into something special.

A player such as Coghlan likely appeals greatly to a manager like Joe Maddon. His hard-nosed, tough playing style, while not flashy, or as appealing to the typical fan is beneficial to the team. The newly found power stroke and defensive versatility, while maintaining strong on-base skills, could open up a new door for Coghlan, who could potentially become a player similar to new teammate, Ben Zobrist, and Maddon would be the manager help him accomplish that. Do not expect to see Coghlan’s name in the lineup every day, but expect him to be a quietly productive member of the 2016 Chicago Cubs, and a player who could earn a nice contract after the season.

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