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.
|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)|
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).
|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)|
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.
|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)|
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.
|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.
|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®, www.statoftheweek.com