Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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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No Words…Well Maybe Just a Few

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Cubs 6 @ Giants 5 (Box Score)

It’s funny the series of emotions that you have in the playoffs. They don’t just come on in baseball, but with every sport. You go up and down like a roller coaster. Then, magnify that even more with the long wait that Cubs fans have had and the amount of success in the regular season this year and you have a crazy coaster. Last night I went from being very confident to slowly losing confidence,  to complete panic. I actually seriously considered turning the game off after the 8th. For those of you who did, I’m sorry. Some quick notes as it was a late night and I’m sleepy.

    • I talked with a co-worker about how I was concerned that in the first three games, we got our offense from home runs, including home runs by pitchers. That concerned me. The middle of the lineup had not been uber productive or even a little productive. That got fixed at the end, and I’m glad to see it.
    • We didn’t see quite the start out of John Lackey as I had hoped for, but he was acceptable. I love when Lackey pitches. He’s got a total jerk face the entire time. I picture this as being how it looks in his home when he is getting ready to depart on a road trip.
    • Javier Baez is not human. It’s all I can say. I saw a quote on Twitter from Christina Kahrl that Javy had made in spring training when talking about playing 2B. He basically said it was easy because 1st base is right over there. This play was ruled safe, but just an example of the web gem reel that Javy turned in last night.

Now we wait and rest. Who does everyone want to see us play? I see positives in playing both the Dodgers and the Nationals, but I think I’m rooting for the Nats for the simple fact that it would be nice to beat Dusty.

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Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Cubs 5 @ Giants 6 (Box Score)

I came into last night’s game confident, but a little concerned that we would lay an egg against Madison Bumgarner. Thankfully, that didn’t happen…but other things did. Let’s get to my quick notes.

    • If you had told me that the Cubs would be leading after the 2nd inning 3-0 on a home run by Jake Arrieta and that they would have Bumgarner on the ropes with a high pitch count, I would have told you with almost 100% certainty that the Cubs would win that game. You would think that the Giants would have been on shut down mode after that. The Cubs got to their Goliath, but instead of packing it in, the Giants continued to scrap, and you have to give them a lot of credit for that.
    • I was pleased with Arrieta’s outing, overall. Six innings of two run ball with good command and a home run on offense. I’ll take that any day of the week. He is not the reason we lost. In fact, he was the furthest from it.
    • The bullpen did not look good in the game. Everyone struggled, or so it seemed. Is that a result of rust, or just one of those nights with everyone had a case of the struggles? Either way, you have to expect that the pen will get more work tonight with John Lackey on the mound. I can’t see him working more than seven innings, but more than likely more like six. That means at least two to three innings of bullpen work. We have to step up tonight.
    • I saw some folks on Twitter complaining about Mike Montgomery still being in the game when the Giants finally ended it in the 13th. At that point, it’s damage control and prep for the long game. You cannot end a game because you ran out of pitchers. Montgomery is stretched out from some starts toward the end of the year, so I was fine with him being out there. It didn’t work. It is what it is.
    • Would Jason Heyward have caught the drive by Conor Gillaspie in the 8th? I don’t know, but I tend to think he wouldn’t. You can watch the play again and debate, but you can’t complain about Heyward not being in the game when all you do is whine about how he shouldn’t even be on the playoff roster. You can’t have it both ways.
  • I don’t watch many games on the west coast, so I don’t have intimate knowledge of the AT&T field dimensions like I do of the Wrigley outfield, but I was amazed at how much room there is out there in right field. There is no reason Ben Zobrist should be out there manning RF. That needs to be Heyward’s territory. Zobrist doesn’t have the range for out there.
  • I cannot stand the coverage by FS1 and MLB Network. No pitch tracker, interviewing players while the game is freaking going on, and a god awful pre-game broadcast that highlights some disgraced players like Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose. It’s atrocious.
  • Tonight is an important game. You do not want to have to go back to Chicago to play a game five and burn Jon Lester. We need to win tonight on the back of Lackey and get some rest for Friday. I’m not worried that we would lose a game five, I just think it’s critical to have the rotation in line for the series. I’m pulling for a Dodgers win in game four and a Cubs win tonight.
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A Little Traveling Music, Please

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

Off they go to San Francisco, where I really hope the Cubs can finish this series on Monday (for obvious, and selfish, reasons. Obvious I won’t state, because if I needed to it wouldn’t be obvious. Selfish because I leave Tuesday for China and would be mid-flight between Chicago and Beijing when game four would be played and I am fairly certain that I couldn’t stream it from up there.)

This was an odd, yet pleasing, ballgame tonight. I actually watched it without ever really thinking it was in jeopardy – even after Hendricks left with an injury…I really wasn’t concerned. The bullpen made light work of the Giants, and it never seemed close. The coffee in the morning will be outstanding again – tonight’s Hibiki was really good, too.

What I liked about tonight’s 5 – 2 Cub victory:

Travis Wood – lining a first pitch fastball over the left field wall with a 103 mile exit velocity. Yes, Seymour. Wood hit it hard. We know.

4 quick runs on Samardzija and his early exit.

The aforementioned work of the bullpen and the fact that several guys got some work. One thing that worries me about starters going deep is a rusty bullpen, so games like this – especially if Hendricks is okay – can be very, very productive down the road, too.

Heyward’s swing – no question that his swing looked good tonight, and he squared up and even pulled several fastballs.  Maybe CAPS texting him over and over has actually helped.

The fact that the Cub pitchers (Hendricks and Wood) knocked in three runs and the Giants TEAM scored 2.

What I didn’t like:

Baez NOT running out another ball that he THOUGHT was a home run. C’mon Javy – everyone is praising you for your baseball acumen…well, smart ballplayers don’t get thrown out at second because they were hot-dogging a ball off the wall. That needs to stop.

Ninth inning – protecting a lead? Why isn’t Almora in left for Zobrist? If he isn’t on the playoff roster for that EXACT reason…why is he on the playoff roster?

Showing the “taped” talk with Bochy while Travis Wood was homering and not cutting away to the home run. At least Costas acknowledged it (something to the effect of “that’s the risk of running something taped during the game” but that’s just poor broadcasting in my book – what’s happening, especially a scoring play, takes precedent over a taped interview that could be re-run.)

Costas didn’t bother me too much tonight, and once again, I thought John Smoltz was insightful and good. It’s usually pretty tough to get any words in when Costas is on the job, but they seemed to do a good job.

Nicely done, Cubs. Nicely done. Go get some rest – and then spend a day studying Bumgarner’s patterns so that you can get to him. Even more than not wanting a game four that I couldn’t see? Is a game five that I could. Get it done in three.

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NLDS Game 1 Notes

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

Box Score / Highlights

All day, I waited and watched the clock. Time moved so slowly as I patiently worked and looked forward to the game. For dinner, I had an Italian Beef, and I was ready come game time. The Cubs did not disappoint.

LESTER’S OUTINGJon Lester was outstanding. There is no other way to describe it. People had their doubts and reservations as to what the Cubs paid for when they signed him to a large contract as he struggled a bit last season, but this season and especially tonight, he showed you why he got paid. He outdueled Johnny Cueto, and gave us a 1-0 lead. It looked early as if he may not get the result we wanted as Cueto seemed to get the calls on the outside of the plate and Lester didn’t, but he maintained his composure and worked through it. Most of all, he kept the pitch counts down each inning allowing him to toss a strong eight innings and have plenty of bullets to spare had he needed to go out for the 9th or even the 10th. Just a masterful outing by Lester.

SHERIFF ROSS – I don’t know how he continues to do it, but David Ross continues to come up clutch behind the plate with his ability to control the running game. We saw it early in the 1st inning as the Giants got a runner on and immediately tried to steal. Not only did Ross nail Gorkys Hernandez, but he annihilated him with the throw and made him look stupid. Later in the 3rd, Ross made a snap throw to Javier Baez at 1st in one of Joe Maddon‘s funky alignments that nailed Connor Gillaspie. Both plays, especially the throw in the 1st, set the tone and sent a message to the Giants that it wasn’t going to just be a run at all times type of night against Lester. If you missed the game, which seriously should not happen, you can watch both of the throws here.

BAEZ POWER – My wife came into the living room late in the game and saw the score was 0-0 and asked if the first team to score a run was going to win. I told her that I thought it would and she said that was boring. You can tell why my wife is not a baseball fan. Give me a 1-0 finish in a nailbiter any day of the week. For Baez, that ball off the bat looked like a no doubter, but the more it hung up there the more I thought it was going to be caught. In fact, I actually thought Angel Pagan had caught it until I looked closer and saw it in the basket. That was huge. If you missed Javy’s curtain call and march through the dugout giving fired up high fives, you missed a treat. It had me pumped. I’ve been a Baez guy since day one. I’ve made it no secret that I want him in the lineup every day. He just makes baseball plays.

SHARKNADO – Raise your hand if you’ve seen the movie or it’s sequel. It was bad. In game two we get to see another edition and it’s gonna be bad for Giants fans. I’m curious to see what sort of reception that Jeff Samardzija will get from the Cubs crowd at Wrigley. Obviously you don’t want him to be hated, but I’d love a nice hearty chorus of boos and some heckling all night long.

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