MLB: Comparing Gold Glove Winners to Fielding Bible Counterparts

A comparison of the Rawlings Gold Glove winners with the winners of the Fielding Bible Awards, as voted on by a panel of experts.

The Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced on Tuesday. These awards are given annually to MLB players who have displayed superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position. They are separated by league and voted on by managers and coaches, with the caveat that managers may not vote for their own players. There is also a sabermetric component provided by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). The SABR component accounts for about 25 percent of the vote.

The Fielding Bible Awards are voted on by a panel of baseball experts. They first came out in 2006 as the brainchild of John Dewan and Baseball Info Solutions (BIS). The Fielding Bible Awards are meant to combine visual observation and subjective judgment with advanced statistical metrics. The panel this year included: Bill James, Baseball Info Solutions Video Scouts, MLB Network’s Brian Kenny, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron, former MLB outfielder Doug Glanville, Strat-O-Matic Baseball creator Hal Richman, sportswriter Joe Posnanski, ESPN researcher Mark Simon, longtime analyst Peter Gammons, writer Rob Neyer, and the Tom Tango Fan Poll. There were three tie-breakers: Ben Jedlovec and Dan Casey of BIS, and Sean Forman, the founder of Baseball-Reference. Information on the panel can be found at the Fielding Bible Awards link above.

One major difference between the Fielding Bible Awards and Rawlings Gold Glove Awards is that there is only one winner at each position for the Fielding Bible Awards instead of separate winners for each league. Let’s compare the winners of the awards for each position.


Rawlings Gold Glove

National League: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants (1st)

American League: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals (4th)

Fielding Bible: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants (2nd)

Buster Posey was an upset winner of the Gold Glove Award for catchers. His win this year broke a streak of eight straight Gold Gloves for Yadier Molina. While it was Posey’s first Gold Glove, it was his second straight Fielding Bible Award. He was also the only unanimous vote winner this season in the Fielding Bible Awards voting. He excelled in all aspects of catching and finished with 10 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) more than second-place finisher Yasmani Grandal.

Salvador Perez won his fourth straight Gold Glove. He’s been consistently strong on defense every full season of his career. He’s also been strong enough to endure a heavy workload each year. He’s averaged 134 games at the catcher position over the last four years and leads all of baseball with 4,662 innings at catcher since 2013.

First Base

Rawlings Gold Glove

National League: Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs (1st)

American League: Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers (1st)

Fielding Bible: Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs (1st)

Anthony Rizzo made a couple of very impressive catches right on the edge of the stands this year that made the highlight reels, including one in which he balanced on the ledge and reached over and another where he used the tarp to his advantage. He led NL first baseman in defensive runs saved. This was his first Gold Glove and his first Fielding Bible Award.

“It’s amazing, Rizzo said. “It means a lot. I know my dad is going to be extremely proud. He always gets on me for my defense, so this ranks right up there with any award I’ve gotten.”

Mitch Moreland snapped Eric Hosmer’s streak of three straight Gold Gloves with his first one this year. It’s the fourth time a Rangers first baseman has won the award. Mark Teixeira won it twice and Rafael Palmeiro won a controversial Gold Glove in 1999 despite playing only 28 games at first base that year (he was primarily a DH).

Second Base

Rawlings Gold Glove

National League: Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants (1st)

American League: Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers (1st)

Fielding Bible: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox (4th)

Dustin Pedroia has been a regular winner of the Fielding Bible Award and Gold Glove. This was his fourth Fielding Bible Award. He also has four Gold Gloves. This year, he lost the Gold Glove to Ian Kinsler, who won his first. Joe Panik was one of three San Francisco Giants to win a Gold Glove, along with Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford.

Third Base

Rawlings Gold Glove

National League: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (4th)

American League: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers (5th)

Fielding Bible: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (2nd)

Nolan Arenado has a stranglehold on the Gold Glove Awards at third base in the National League. This was his fourth in a row and also his second straight Fielding Bible Award. Adrian Beltre won his fifth Gold Glove, although his wins have been somewhat sporadic. He’s won five in the last 10 years. He led the AL in defensive runs saved at third base with 15. Beltre’s son may be a future Gold Glove winner. No word on whether he likes his head being touched.


Rawlings Gold Glove

National League: Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants (2nd)

American League: Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians (1st)

Fielding Bible: Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels (4th)

Andrelton Simmons won his fourth consecutive Fielding Bible Award despite playing only 124 games this year. He barely won it, though. He beat Brandon Crawford by a single point. It was the first time in his four-year run that he wasn’t the unanimous winner. Crawford got his due in the Gold Glove Award voting, winning his second straight for National League shortstops. He beat out Addison Russell and Freddy Galvis and gave the Giants a middle infield combo of Gold Glove winners (with Joe Panik).

Lindor was proud of winning his first Gold Glove. He said, “I can’t wait to show it off to my pops. The instincts I have, my hands and everything, I owe it to him and my brother and my cousin, the three guys who helped me the most when I was growing up.” Lindor beat out Andrelton Simmons and Jose Iglesias to win the award.

Left Field

Rawlings Gold Glove

National League: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates (2nd)

American League: Brett Gardner, New York Yankees (1st)

Fielding Bible: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates (2nd)

Starling Marte was a near-unanimous choice for the Fielding Bible Award. He had all first place votes and one second place vote. He also won the NL Gold Glove Award, with his closest competition being Adam Duvall and Christian Yelich. Brett Gardner was a bit of a surprise. He finished ahead of Alex Gordon and Colby Rasmus. Gordon won four straight Gold Gloves from 2011 to 2014 but injuries have limited him to 104 and 128 games in the last two seasons and ended his streak.

Center Field

Rawlings Gold Glove

National League: Ender Inciarte, Atlanta Braves (1st)

American League: Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays (2nd)

Fielding Bible: Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays (1st)

The two Kevins, Pillar and Kiermaier, were very close in the Fielding Bible Award voting, with Pillar just beating out Kiermaier, who won the award last year. Pillar had a distinct edge in games played, with 146 to Kiermaier’s 105. Despite missing more than one-third of the season, Kiermaier won the Gold Glove for the second straight year. Last year he added the Platinum Glove, given to the best overall defender in the league. Inciarte led NL center fielders in assists, which helped him beat Billy Hamilton and Odubel Herrera in Gold Glove voting.

Right Field

Rawlings Gold Glove

National League: Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs (4th)

American League: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox (1st)

Fielding Bible: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox (1st)

Mookie Betts led all of baseball with 32 defensive runs saved. He was a well-deserving winner of both the Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Awards with his excellence in right field for the Red Sox. Jason Heyward has become a regular winner of the Gold Glove. This was his fourth. He may have had a bad year at the plate, but he didn’t let it affect his defense.


Rawlings Gold Glove

National League: Zack Grienke, Arizona Diamondbacks (3rd)

American League: Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros (3rd)

Fielding Bible: Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros (3rd)

These two pitchers have a stranglehold on the Gold Glove Award for pitchers. They’ve each now won three straight. They were also the top two finishers this year for the Fielding Bible Award. Keuchel beat Greinke by three points, but his point total was the fewest of any of the 2016 Fielding Bible Award winners. This was also Keuchel’s third straight Fielding Bible Award.


Fielding Bible: Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (1st)

There is no Gold Glove awarded for multi-position players, but the Fielding Bible Award is handed out to a multi-position player who displays defensive excellence at more than one position. Javier Baez was the winner this year. Baez played 59 games at second base, 62 at third base, and 25 at shortstop. He even got into six games at first base and two in left field. One of his impressive skills with the glove is his ability to make the tag. He’s a tagging virtuoso.

There was agreement between the Fielding Bible Awards and the Gold Glove Awards on six of nine position players. The three positions where they didn’t agree were shortstop, center field, and second base. It’s nice to see the awards line up so well. It appears we’re well past the days when the Gold Glove goes to an undeserving player, like the 1999 award that went to Rafael Palmeiro even though he only played 28 games in the field at first base.

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