Olson helps his teammates more than he helps himself. He was the best in baseball, scooping 44 difficult throws from his fellow infielders.
The next best first baseman had 31 scoops. Olson is not the most athletic first baseman, but he is the most consistent.
His range is not as wide as some others, but when it comes to handling balls that are defined as "straight-on" by Baseball Info Solutions,
he was the best with nine more plays than an average first baseman.
He led all first basemen in baseball saving 14 runs for the A's defensively.
2017 Paul Goldschmidt
2011 Albert Pujols
2016 Anthony Rizzo
2010 Daric Barton
2015 Paul Goldschmidt
2009 Albert Pujols
2014 Adrian Gonzalez
2008 Albert Pujols
2013 Paul Goldshmidt
2007 Albert Pujols
2012 Mark Teixeira
Second Base – Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals
The little man got his revenge in 2018.
After 6'4" DJ LeMahieu beat out runner-up 5'6" Jose Altuve in 2017, the 5'9" Wong edged LeMahieu in the second-closest vote of the 2018 Fielding Bible Awards.
Only five points separated the two in the voting, with Wong getting 111 points to 106 for LeMahieu. Wong had 19 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018, the most among second basemen.
He excels going to his left handling batted balls in the hole between first and second, as good or better than anyone in baseball.
On top of that, he did very well going the other way with an 89% success rate on plays he attempted to backhand in 2018.
2017 DJ LeMahieu
2011 Dustin Pedroia
2016 Dustin Pedroia
2010 Chase Utley
2015 Ian Kinsler
2009 Aaron Hill
2014 Dustin Pedroia
2008 Brandon Phillips
2013 Dustin Pedroia
2007 Aaron Hill
2012 Darwin Barney
Third Base – Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics
While he was helped on occasion by the scoops of fellow Fielding Bible Award winner Matt Olson,
Chapman saved the most runs defensively in all of baseball at any position in 2018 (29 Defensive Runs Saved). His arm is a cannon.
He was clocked throwing 98 as a pitching prospect and the speed is still there. It allows him to make plays down the line that no one else can.
No third baseman was better on balls hit to his right. Chapman throws his body all over the field to make plays.
He had 36 plays where he dove, slid or jumped to make the play.
Yolmer Sanchez was a not-close second among third basemen with 25.
2017 Nolan Arenado
2011 Adrian Beltre
2016 Nolan Arenado
2010 Evan Longoria
2015 Nolan Arenado
2009 Ryan Zimmerman
2014 Josh Donaldson
2008 Adrian Beltre
2013 Manny Machado
2007 Pedro Feliz
2012 Adrian Beltre
Shortstop – Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels
Six straight Fielding Bible Awards says it all for Mr. Defense.
That's the most consecutive awards in the history of the awards; no one else has won more than four in a row.
Simmons tied Nick Ahmed for the lead among shortstops with 21 Defensive Runs Saved. Simmons posted positive range numbers on balls hit to his left, right, and straight-on,
doing so in all three in the same season for the second time in his career:
+8 plays (compared to the average shortstop) on balls in the hole, +12 on balls to his left, and +5 on balls hit straight on.
2017 Andrelton Simmons
2011 Troy Tulowitzki
2016 Andrelton Simmons
2010 Troy Tulowitzki
2015 Andrelton Simmons
2009 Jack Wilson
2014 Andrelton Simmons
2008 Jimmy Rollins
2013 Andrelton Simmons
2007 Troy Tulowitzki
2012 Brendan Ryan
Left Field – Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
Like Brett Gardner last year, Gordon had some time off from being recognized as the best left-field defender in baseball.
He won three straight Fielding Bible Awards between 2012 and 2014, and now wins his fourth overall in 2018. As a former third baseman,
he's always had a strong arm for a left fielder. He showed it again this year saving six runs defensively with his arm among his MLB-leading 18 left-field DRS overall.
He had seven outfield Kills (direct throws to a base to nab a runner).
He averaged three Good Fielding Plays per 100 innings; no other regular left fielder averaged even two.
2017 Brett Gardner
2011 Brett Gardner
2016 Starling Marte
2010 Brett Gardner
2015 Starling Marte
2009 Carl Crawford
2014 Alex Gordon
2008 Carl Crawford
2013 Alex Gordon
2007 Eric Byrnes
2012 Alex Gordon
Center Field – Lorenzo Cain, Milwaukee Brewers
If you want great outfield defense Cain is your man. He has always been a great defender,
whether it's been in center field or in right field where he dominated defensively for the Royals for so many years.
Cain's versatility was rewarded with a Multi-Position Fielding Bible Award in 2014. After playing center field exclusively for the last two years,
Cain receives this Fielding Bible Award for center field in 2018. His game is going back and getting it—he was +13 on balls hit over his head in 2018.
He led all center fielders with 20 Defensive Runs Saved. After struggling a bit holding and throwing out runners in 2017,
he improved from -6 DRS with his arm in 2017 to +5 in 2018.
No center fielder has won back-to-back Fielding Bible Awards—can Cain be the first in 2019?
2017 Byron Buxton
2011 Austin Jackson
2016 Kevin Pillar
2010 Michael Bourn
2015 Kevin Kiermaier
2009 Franklin Gutierrez
2014 Juan Lagares
2008 Carlos Beltran
2013 Carlos Gomez
2007 Andruw Jones
2012 Mike Trout
Right Field – Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
Back-to-back-to-back. And unanimous in both 2017 and 2018.
Betts has taken every first-place vote for defense in right field for two years in a row in the Fielding Bible Awards,
attaining the perfect score of 120 both years. When it's obvious it's obvious: Betts is the best.
He has 83 Defensive Runs Saved over the last three years. Second best in right field is 35.
Betts not only has a great arm, amazing speed, and tremendous range, he also gets a great first step on balls hit in any direction.
2017 Mookie Betts
2011 Justin Upton
2016 Mookie Betts
2010 Ichiro Suzuki
2015 Jason Heyward
2009 Ichiro Suzuki
2014 Jason Heyward
2008 Franklin Gutierrez
2013 Gerardo Parra
2007 Alex Rios
2012 Jason Heyward
Catcher – Jeff Mathis, Arizona Diamondbacks
Mathis only played just over 500 innings in 2018, but his 17 Defensive Runs Saved led all catchers by a wide margin (12 was second best).
The announcer in a recent playoff game said "there should be a stat for that" when the catcher blocked a potential wild pitch to keep the runner for advancing.
There is! It's called Catcher Blocks, and Mathis was the best in baseball in 2018 blocking 96.4% of difficult pitches (primarily pitches in the dirt)
when one or more runners were on base or in a strikeout situation.
Plus he is one of the best getting extra strikes framing pitches (ranking third with 1.6 extra strikes earned per 100 called pitches).
2017 Martin Maldonado
2011 Matt Wieters
2016 Buster Posey
2010 Yadier Molina
2015 Buster Posey
2009 Yadier Molina
2014 Jonathan Lucroy
2008 Yadier Molina
2013 Yadier Molina
2007 Yadier Molina
2012 Yadier Molina
Pitcher – Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks
Greinke has been deserving as an excellent defender for many years and he finally wins his first Fielding Bible Award in 2018.
After every pitch Greinke lands in good position to make plays, staying ever alert. He is quick to both sides of the mound,
and he can come in to field a short chopper and make a quick throw to first base. He tied for the most DRS among pitchers with seven.
He was excellent holding runners, allowing only two stolen bases all year with five caught stealing.
2016 Dallas Keuchel
2011 Mark Buehrle
2016 Dallas Keuchel
2010 Mark Buehrle
2015 Dallas Keuchel
2009 Mark Buehrle
2014 Dallas Keuchel
2008 Kenny Rogers
2013 R.A. Dickey
2007 Johan Santana
2012 Mark Buehrle
Multi-Position – Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
When slick fielding shortstop Addison Russell went out with injury, then later a suspension,
Javy Baez stepped over from his second base position without missing a beat for the Cubs. His defense is elite at both second base and shortstop.
He also moves to third base and first base, whenever needed, with tremendous success. He saved five runs at second base,
three at shortstop and two more at third base in 2018. He led all infielders (not counting first baseman) with 46 Good Fielding Plays in 2018.
He is excellent turning double plays from both second base and shortstop. His ability to make tags on throws is legendary.