First Base – Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo won his first Fielding Bible Award in 2016, but he won an even bigger battle eight years ago. Rizzo was diagnosed with cancer at age 18 in his first year of professional baseball in the Boston Red Sox organization. It was then-Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester who gave him hope that he could still be a major leaguer. Because Lester also had cancer at a young age, and beat it. It is not coincidental that they are now Chicago Cub teammates. Rizzo saved 11 runs for the Cubs defensively in 2016 leading all MLB first basemen. He received seven of 10 first place votes and out-pointed runner-up Brandon Belt 113 to 101.
Second Base – Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox Dustin Pedroia now has four Fielding Bible Awards and four Gold Gloves. By the time you read this he might have five Gold Gloves, but he'll have to beat out Tiger Ian Kinsler, the 2015 FBA winner and the 2016 FBA runner-up at second base. The voting wasn't particularly close for the 2016 Fielding Bible Awards (114 to 104) but Kinsler had a great year defensively as well. Pedroia and Kinsler led all major league second basemen with 12 runs saved in 2016.
Third Base – Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies It's back-to-back Fielding Bible Awards for Nolen Arenado. He received all but one of the first place votes at third base for a total of 119 points. He also finished well ahead in Defensive Runs Saved, saving 20 runs for the Rockies, a good margin ahead of the 15 runs saved by Adrian Beltre (Texas) and Kyle Seager (Seattle). Arenado also led all fielders (not just third basemen) recording 71 Good Fielding Plays where he made a play that was not likely to be an out or prevent an advancement with an average play.
Shortstop – Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels Four years in a row for Andrelton Simmons. No one is yet to win five in a row; Mark Buehrle, Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols have also won four in a row. But it was the slimmest of margins (106 to 105 points) over Brendan Crawford of the Giants. This, after Simmons and Crawford finished first and second on every ballot in the 2015 voting. No one is close to Simmons' five-year total of 131 Defensive Runs Saved. Crawford is second in the five years with 62, less than half of Simmons' total. However, Crawford did edge out Simmons in 2016 DRS, 20 to 18. Addison Russell of the Cubs was also in the top three with 19 runs saved.
Left Field – Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates It's not the norm for your left fielder to have a wickedly strong throwing arm, but that is the case with Starling Marte. He led all outfielders in 2016 with 16 baserunner kills (direct throw to a base to nab the runner) with the next best left fielder at 9 (Ryan Braun). Throwing accounted for nine of Marte's MLB-leading 19 Defensive Runs Saved in left field. His ability to cover ground accounted for six more runs saved and making Good Plays while avoiding Misplays added another four runs saved, an all-around tremendous defensive performance for repeat-winner Marte. Marte's margin of victory over runner-up Yankee Brett Gardner was huge (119 to 90 points)
Center Field – Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Pillar upstaged Kevin Kiermaier. It was not easy as Kiermaier set a record for the highest single season total of Defensive Runs Saved in 2015 with 42. But in 2016 Pillar continued his reign as King of the Web Gem and added in 21 runs saved to boot. Kiermaier did have 25 DRS for the Tampa Bay Rays, but when it came to making catches, Pillar saved 47 bases compared to 34 for Kiermaier. The Fielding Bible Award voters rewarded Pillar with his first award in a close vote, 109 points to 106 points for Kiermaier.
Right Field – Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox Mookie's full name is Markus Lynn Betts, intentionally chosen by his parents so his initials are MLB. He is MLB and he is the best in MLB. Betts had the highest total of Defensive Runs Saved among any defender in baseball in 2016 with 32. He finished 10 runs ahead of runner-up Adam Eaton of the White Sox and 13 points ahead of him in the voting (116 to 103). See page YYY for a dramatic rundown of the battle for right field defensive supremacy during the 2016 season between Betts and Eaton.
Catcher – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants Buster Posey excels at every aspect of catching. There are five categories of defense that are measured in Defensive Runs Saved (Pitcher Handling, Controlling the Running Game, Handling Bunts, Good Plays and Misplays, and Getting Extra Strikes). Posey's MLB-leading total of 23 Defensive Runs Saved breaks down with an above-average number in each one of these categories with 1, 2, 4, 5, and 11 runs saved by category, respectively. Fielding Bible voters acknowledged Posey with a first place vote on every ballot giving him his second straight Fielding Bible Award.
Pitcher – Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros One day Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks) will win a Fielding Bible Award, but 2016 was not to be as the last ballot to come in gave a repeat award to Dallas Keuchel. Greinke had more first place votes than Keuchel, four vs. three, but an eighth place vote and a fifth place vote for Greinke did him in. The final point total was 103 to 100, Keuchel over Greinke. The voting panel recognized defensive excellence among pitchers throughout Major League Baseball, also giving first place votes to Bartolo Colon-Mets (3), Masahiro Tanaka-Yankees (1) and Jake Arrieta-Cubs (1).
Multi-Position – Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs Javy Baez was the epitome of defensive excellence at multiple positions. He saved 11 runs at second base, 4 runs at shortstop and one run at third base for the Cubs defensively in 2016. He also demonstrated his versatility by playing a few innings at first base and left field as well. Playing a lot of positions (five) and playing them well (16 DRS), that's what the Multi-Position Fielding Bible Award is all about. Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson was runner up in the voting (90 points vs. 105 for Baez). Dyson played all three outfield positions and saved 19 runs in total. Cub manager Joe Maddon encouraged versatility and was also rewarded by Baez' teammate Kris Bryant who played six different positions and saved 10 runs. Bryant was third in the voting among multi-position players, and the Cubs led all of baseball with the highest total of Defensive Runs Saved as a team (107).