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The Fielding Bible Awards 2022

Mark Simon

Lots of new faces at the Fielding Bible Awards party this year, as this is the first time there are eight first-time winners since the second year of the awards, 2007.

Say hello to Ranger Suárez (Phillies, pitcher), Jose Trevino (Yankees, catcher), Christian Walker (Diamondbacks, first base), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies, second base), Jorge Mateo (Orioles, shortstop), Steven Kwan (Guardians, left field), Myles Straw (Guardians, center field), and Tommy Edman (Cardinals, multi-position).

The only two award winners this year who had won the award previously are a pair of players nearing the lead for most Awards won: Nolan Arenado (Cardinals, third base) and Mookie Betts (Dodgers, right field), who each won their fifth Fielding Bible Award, one shy of Andrelton Simmons and Yadier Molina, whose six are the gold standard.

This year's Fielding Bible Awards were determined by a 15-person expert voting panel. The panel awards 10 winners each year, one at each position plus an additional award that goes to the best defensive multi-position player.

The criteria for the multi-position award changed in 2021 to prioritize players who had a high degree of positional versatility and value; players who usually play many positions in a season, might move from position to position within a game, and have demonstrated the ability to handle high leverage positions when the team needs them to.

Voters selected their Top 10 from a list of 15 players that required the highest Defensive Versatility Score, a formula created by Bill James.

Our panel voted on 10 players at each position on a scale from 1 to 10. A first- place vote gets 10 points, second place nine points, third place eight points, etc. We total up the points for each player, and the player with the most points wins the award at that position. A perfect score is 150 points.

Close races were a theme this year, with four positional awards decided by 11 or fewer points in the voting. The closest was at third base, where Arenado nosed out Ke’Bryan Hayes by two points, and shortstop, where Mateo topped Miguel Rojas by a similar margin. Straw beat Michael A. Taylor by eight points in center field. Betts won by an 11-point margin over Kyle Tucker.

Also of note: In seven of the 10 wins, it marked the first time a player from that team won at that position. Lots of newness this year.

First Base – Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks

Walker was the runaway leader in Defensive Runs Saved at first base with 17. No other first baseman had more than 6. Walker’s 17 Runs Saved were the most by a first baseman since Joey Votto had 18 in 2017.

Walker dominated defensively because his range was outstanding, particularly to his right. He was the only first baseman to convert more than 50% of opportunities on those balls into outs (opportunities = balls with a >0% out probability).

Walker joined Paul Goldschmidt as the only Diamondbacks to win the award at first base. Goldschmidt won it with the Diamondbacks in 2013, 2015, and 2017.

Previous Winners:
2021 Paul Goldschmidt 2015 Paul Goldschmidt 2009 Albert Pujols
2020 Matt Olson 2014 Adrián González 2008 Albert Pujols
2019 Matt Olson 2013 Paul Goldschmidt 2007 Albert Pujols
2018 Matt Olson 2012 Mark Teixeira 2006 Albert Pujols
2017 Paul Goldschmidt 2011 Albert Pujols
2016 Anthony Rizzo 2010 Daric Barton

Second Base – Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies

Second Base – Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies Rodgers made quite the climb, going from -5 Runs Saved and one 10th-place vote for his play at second base in 2021 to leading all second basemen in Defensive Runs Saved with 22 and winning the award in 2022.

Rodgers, a converted shortstop, won with an aggressive style. He led all second basemen in diving plays with 19, using them to extend his range and make near-impossible plays possible.

Rodgers is the second Rockies second baseman to win the award, joining DJ LeMahieu.

Previous Winners:
2021 Whit Merrifield 2015 Ian Kinsler 2009 Aaron Hill
2020 Kolten Wong 2014 Dustin Pedroia 2008 Brandon Phillips
2019 Kolten Wong 2013 Dustin Pedroia 2007 Aaron Hill
2018 Kolten Wong 2012 Darwin Barney 2006 Orlando Hudson
2017 DJ LeMahieu 2011 Dustin Pedroia
2016 Dustin Pedroia 2010 Chase Utley

Third Base – Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals

Arenado returned to the top spot at third base in an extremely close vote, edging out last year’s winner Ke’Bryan Hayes by two points. Arenado’s 19 Runs Saved were a 13-run improvement from 2021, when he finished third in the voting. He got back to what he did best in previous seasons, making plays on balls hit to his left.

Arenado’s five Fielding Bible Awards are the most by a third baseman. He’s one shy of Andrelton Simmons and Yadier Molina for the most Awards won overall. He’s also the first Cardinals player to win the award at third base.

Previous Winners:
2021 Ke’Bryan Hayes 2015 Nolan Arenado 2009 Ryan Zimmerman
2020 Nolan Arenado 2014 Josh Donaldson 2008 Adrián Beltré
2019 Matt Chapman 2013 Manny Machado 2007 Pedro Feliz
2018 Matt Chapman 2012 Adrián Beltré 2006 Adrián Beltré
2017 Nolan Arenado 2011 Adrián Beltré
2016 Nolan Arenado 2010 Evan Longoria

Shortstop – Jorge Mateo, Baltimore Orioles

Mateo won in a crowded field, as six different shortstops received a first-place vote. Mateo was instrumental to the Orioles resurgence, finishing a close third among shortstops with 14 Defensive Runs Saved and tied for second in Good Fielding Plays with 28. Mateo was the No. 1 shortstop in double play conversion rate, turning two on 72% of opportunities.

He's the first Oriole shortstop to win the award.

Previous Winners:
2021 Carlos Correa 2015 Andrelton Simmons 2009 Jack Wilson
2020 Javier Báez 2014 Andrelton Simmons 2008 Jimmy Rollins
2019 Nick Ahmed 2013 Andrelton Simmons 2007 Troy Tulowitzki
2018 Andrelton Simmons 2012 Brendan Ryan 2006 Adam Everett
2017 Andrelton Simmons 2011 Troy Tulowitzki
2016 Andrelton Simmons 2010 Troy Tulowitzki

Left Field – Steven Kwan, Cleveland Guardians

Kwan was the only unanimous winner of a Fielding Bible Award this year. He easily led all left fielders with 21 Runs Saved and his 20 Good Fielding Plays tied for the left field lead.

Kwan was above average in making plays on balls hit to all parts of left field, be they shallow, medium, or deep. His 19 Range Runs Saved in left field were more than any outfielder had at any one position.

Kwan is the first Guardians player to win the award for left field.

Previous Winners:
2021 Tyler O’Neill 2015 Starling Marte 2009 Carl Crawford
2020 Tyler O’Neill 2014 Alex Gordon 2008 Carl Crawford
2019 David Peralta 2013 Alex Gordon 2007 Eric Byrnes
2018 Alex Gordon 2012 Alex Gordon 2006 Carl Crawford
2017 Brett Gardner 2011 Brett Gardner
2016 Starling Marte 2010 Brett Gardner

Center Field – Myles Straw, Cleveland Guardians

Straw edged last year’s winner, Michael A. Taylor, in a close vote. Straw finished a close second to Taylor with 17 Defensive Runs Saved but led all center fielders in Good Fielding Plays (24) and Outfield Arm Runs Saved (7).

Straw is the first Guardians player to win the award in center field. In fact, Straw and Kwan are the first Guardians outfielders to win a Fielding Bible Award since Franklin Gutierrez won as a right fielder in 2008.

Previous Winners:
2021 Michael A. Taylor 2015 Kevin Kiermaier 2009 Franklin Gutierrez
2020 Kevin Kiermaier 2014 Juan Lagares 2008 Carlos Beltrán
2019 Lorenzo Cain 2013 Carlos Gómez 2007 Andruw Jones
2018 Lorenzo Cain 2012 Mike Trout 2006 Carlos Beltrán
2017 Byron Buxton 2011 Austin Jackson
2016 Kevin Pillar 2010 Michael Bourn

Right Field – Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers

Betts finished second to Aristides Aquino in Defensive Runs Saved in right field but led right fielders in the range component of that stat. His 15 Runs Saved in right field were an 11-run jump from 2021.

Betts won his fifth Fielding Bible Award, one shy of Andrelton Simmons and Yadier Molina for most overall. A Dodgers player has won three of the last four Fielding Bible Awards in right field, with Betts winning two of those and Cody Bellinger winning one.

Previous Winners:
2021 Aaron Judge 2015 Jason Heyward 2009 Ichiro Suzuki
2020 Mookie Betts 2014 Jason Heyward 2008 Franklin Gutierrez
2019 Cody Bellinger 2013 Gerardo Parra 2007 Álex Ríos
2018 Mookie Betts 2012 Jason Heyward 2006 Ichiro Suzuki
2017 Mookie Betts 2011 Justin Upton
2016 Mookie Betts 2010 Ichiro Suzuki

Catcher – Jose Trevino, New York Yankees

Trevino, who was acquired in a trade by the Yankees just before the season started, led all catchers with 21 Defensive Runs Saved. He was the premier catcher in our pitch framing stat, Strike Zone Runs Saved, and rated above-average in both pitch blocking and limiting stolen bases.

Trevino is the first Yankees catcher to win a Fielding Bible Award.

Previous Winners:
2021 Jacob Stallings 2015 Buster Posey 2009 Yadier Molina
2020 Roberto Pérez 2014 Jonathan Lucroy 2008 Yadier Molina
2019 Roberto Pérez 2013 Yadier Molina 2007 Yadier Molina
2018 Jeff Mathis 2012 Yadier Molina 2006 Iván Rodríguez
2017 Martin Maldonado 2011 Matt Wieters
2016 Buster Posey 2010 Yadier Molina

Pitcher – Ranger Suárez, Philadelphia Phillies

Suárez led all pitchers with 9 Defensive Runs Saved. Not only was Suárez good at coming off the mound to make plays, he didn’t allow a stolen base all season (in fact, there were only two attempts!).

Suárez finished second on the Phillies in Runs Saved, trailing only batterymate J.T. Realmuto with 11. Suárez is the first Phillies pitcher to win a Fielding Bible Award.

Previous Winners:
2021 Dallas Keuchel 2015 Dallas Keuchel 2009 Mark Buehrle
2020 Max Fried 2014 Dallas Keuchel 2008 Kenny Rogers
2019 Zack Greinke 2013 R.A. Dickey 2007 Johan Santana
2018 Zack Greinke 2012 Mark Buehrle 2006 Greg Maddux
2017 Dallas Keuchel 2011 Mark Buehrle
2016 Dallas Keuchel 2010 Mark Buehrle

Multi-Position – Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals

Edman played a near identical number of innings at second base and shortstop and was fundamentally sound at both spots. He ranked third with 12 Defensive Runs Saved at second base, while playing far fewer innings than the players who ranked No. 1, 2, and 4. On a per-inning basis, he had the second-fewest misplays at second base and the fewest at shortstop.

He's the first Cardinals player to win the multi-position award, which was first awarded in 2014.

Previous Winners:
2021 Kiké Hernández 2018 Javier Báez 2015 Ender Inciarte
2020 Kiké Hernández 2017 Javier Báez 2014 Lorenzo Cain
2019 Cody Bellinger 2016 Javier Báez