First Base – Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt had an MVP-worthy season and defense was
an important part of the equation. On offense, Goldy led all
National leaguers with the highest slugging percentage (.551) and
highest OPS (.952). And now, on defense, the Fielding Bible
Award panel declares that Goldschmidt is the best defensive first
baseman in the game. Baseball Info Solutions Video Scouts cover
every pitch and every play of every game and one of the many things they chart
are Good Fielding Plays. They've been tracking this for ten years now, and in 2013
Goldschmidt was the first player to record over 100 Good Fielding Plays. He had
113. He saved 13 runs with his defense for the Diamondbacks, finishing second
among first basemen to Anthony Rizzo (16) with the Cubs. Goldschmidt tallied
110 points to 98 for Rizzo in the Award voting.
Second Base – Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox With the most Defensive Runs Saved at second base in 2013 (15),
and the most Defensive Runs Saved at that position over the last
three years (44), Dustin Pedroia wins his second Fielding Bible
Award in those three years. Pedroia has the highest total of Good
Fielding Plays ever by a second baseman, with 89. He is
especially adept at making plays going to his left; he has made 32
more plays than an average second baseman to his left over the last three years.
His sure-handedness is legendary. He has the fourth-best fielding percentage of
all-time at second base at .991 with a minimum of 500 games played. He has
never had a single season below .990 playing regularly. Pedroia beat out 2012
award winner Darwin Barney in the voting by garnering 11 out of 12 first-place
votes, good for 118 points. Barney finished second in the voting with 98 points.
Third Base – Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles At age 21, Manny Machado is the youngest player ever to win a
Fielding Bible Award, and he did it unanimously as the award
panelists put him in the top position on each of their ballots.
Machado is a shortstop playing third base. He has all the skills to
be one of the best at shortstop, the most demanding position in the
infield defensively. It comes as no surprise to everyone who has
seen him play shortstop that he excels at third base as well. But
the level of excellence is off the charts. He saved 35 runs playing third base for the
Orioles last year. In this season of many "best defensive seasons" on record,
Machado's performance is the best by a third baseman, topping Ryan
Zimmerman's total of 25 runs in 2009. His range is tremendous in all directions,
whether to his right, to his left, or straight on. Compared to an average third
baseman, Machado made 11 more plays to his right, 14 more to his left and 15
more straight on. No other third baseman has had double-digit totals in every
direction before. Nolan Arenado came in second in the voting with 100 points and
was no slouch himself as he saved 30 runs for the Rockies defensively in 2013.
Shortstop – Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves Is Andrelton Simmons the second coming of Ozzie Smith? It sure
looks like it. He has everything that Ozzie had: soft hands, a quick
release, tremendous range, an incredible flair for the shortstop
position. And even one skill a little better than The Wizard of Oz:
a stronger throwing arm. We won't crown Simmons with the alltime
title just yet, but saving 41 runs in one year is the best on
record. That's on top of having saved 19 runs for the Braves in about a third of the
2012 season. The competition wasn't even close this past year. The next best runs
saved totals at shortstop were 12, 12 and 11 (Pedro Florimon, Clint Barmes and
Elvis Andrus). The Awards panel rewarded Simmons with a unanimous vote.
Left Field – Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals First Carl Crawford. Then Brett Gardner. Now Alex Gordon
repeats in consecutive years as The Fielding Bible Award winner
in left field. Gordon has great range but it's his throwing arm that
sets him apart. He is always aware of how to set himself up to
make the best throw possible after fielding the ball. He has 39
baserunner kills in the last three years, the most in baseball. (A
baserunner kill is a direct throw to a base or the plate to nab a
runner.) Gordon has been consistent about it too, with 12 kills in
2011, 14 in 2012 and 13 in 2013. Overall, Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates
saved a few more runs than Gordon (20 to 17) and actually tied Gordon in the
award vote with 112 points. We had to go to the first tie-breaker to determine the
winner, with Gordon winning the Fielding Bible Award by a one-vote margin, six
first-place votes for Gordon to five for Marte.
Center Field – Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers Carlos Gomez was an All-Star for the Milwaukee Brewers in
2013 as his offensive production took a leap upwards. But
defensively, Gomez has always been an All-Star and his leaping
ability is no small part of his arsenal of defensive skills. In 2013,
Gomez robbed five home runs as they were going over the fence,
the highest single-season total since Baseball Info Solutions
began tracking this ten years ago. No one else had more than two
in 2013. Those home run robberies accounted for eight Defensive Runs Saved.
Gomez has tremendous range, and, not only does he prevent home runs, he
prevents a ton of doubles and triples by ranging deep into territories where most
other center fielders don't venture. His throwing arm is above average as well. His
total of 38 runs saved is the third-highest season total on record behind the records
set this year by Andrelton Simmons (41) and Gerardo Parra (40). Gomez received
11 first-place votes out of 12 for 119 points. Juan Lagares of the Mets was placed
second on nine ballots and received 100 points overall.
Right Field – Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks Andrelton Simmons got all the ink, but Gerardo Parra quietly tied
Simmons for the highest single-season runs saved total on record
(41) this past season. He did it primarily playing right field (36
runs saved), but his prowess extends to all the outfield positions
as he added five more runs saved in limited action playing left and
center fields. Parra had the best range of any right fielder in
baseball, with 23 of his 36 runs saved making plays that other right fielders don't
make. But he also had the best throwing arm of any right fielder, with 10 runs
saved throwing out runners and preventing others from advancing. Parra received
11 out of 12 first place votes by the panelists for a total of 117 points overall.
Shane Victorino of the Red Sox received the remaining first place vote and was
second overall with 106 points.
Catcher – Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina stands alone. His six Fielding Bible Awards in the
eight-year history of the awards are more than anyone else has
received (Albert Pujols has five). Yadier, one of the Catching
Molina Brothers, also has six seasons with double-digit Defensive
Run Saved totals, including 12 in 2013. He threw out over 40
percent of runners trying to steal once again (seventh time in his
career). Looking at all the pitches thrown in the dirt while he was behind the plate
with runners on base, Molina blocked 97 percent from becoming wild pitches, the
highest rate in all of baseball. Molina had some good competition for the award
from Russell Martin (Pirates) and Salvador Perez (Royals). Molina had 114 votes
to 102 and 101 for Martin and Perez respectively.
Pitcher – R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays Mark Buehrle won the previous four Fielding Bible Awards at
pitcher. In 2013, Buehrle joined the Blue Jays and teammate R.A.
Dickey wins the Award. Did Mr. Buehrle give Mr. Dickey a few
pointers? Maybe. But the fact is that Dickey has been a
superlative defender for quite some time now. He has been in the
top 10 among 175 qualifying pitchers in Defensive Runs Saved in
each of that last four years. He excels in all facets of defending his position. As a
knuckleballer, Dickey always puts himself in good fielding position after each
pitch. He covers bunts very well, and has a tremendous pickoff move. He has
picked off 12 runners in the last three years, which is tied for the second-most in
baseball behind James Shields (19) among right-handed pitchers. The vote totals:
Dickey 105, Zack Greinke (Dodgers) 98, Buehrle 73.