Posted by John Dewan on December 16, 2015
September 28, 2015
Last week, we looked at the leading candidates for both the 2015 Fielding Bible Awards and the Gold Gloves Awards at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and catcher. Today, we’ll do the same for outfielders and pitchers, as well as for the multi-position Fielding Bible Award. As in the previous article, the numbers next to the player names in the tables are 2015 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) totals.
Left Fielders: All three outfield positions have a clear frontrunner for the Fielding Bible Award, at least as determined by DRS totals. In left field, that player is Starling Marte. Marte provides the Pirates center field-quality range in left field, a luxury allowed by the presence of perennial MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen in center. Since his first full season in the majors in 2013, Marte’s 45 Runs Saved trail only Alex Gordon (49) among left fielders in baseball.
The AL Gold Glove Award faces a really interesting situation. Reigning AL Gold Glove winner Alex Gordon has been limited to just 98 games this season because of a groin injury. Meanwhile, Yoenis Cespedes would lead AL left fielders with his 14 total Runs Saved, but he was traded at the deadline and has played his last 52 games in the NL for the Mets. Cespedes had 11 Runs Saved before he left the Tigres. Gordon may win the Gold Glove because of his success when he has been on the field as well as his track record, but this race should be interesting.
|Fielding Bible Award||Starling Marte (20)||Yoenis Cespedes (14)|
|Christian Yelich (13)|
|AL Gold Glove||Alex Gordon (6)||Yoenis Cespedes (11)|
|Eddie Rosario (11)|
|NL Gold Glove||Starling Marte (20)||Christian Yelich (13)|
|Justin Upton (8)|
Center Fielders: Andrelton Simmons continued his unbelievable defensive play this season and remains the best defender in baseball. However, if any player can stake a claim for the title besides Simmons, it is Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays. In his first full season, Kiermaier has saved 39 runs so far, just three runs shy of the DRS record for a player at any position in a season since 2003. The massive gap between Kiermaier and the field makes him a lock for the Fielding Bible Award and a heavy favorite for the AL Gold Glove. Meanwhile, the NL Gold Glove also has a pretty definitive favorite in A.J. Pollock, whose 15 Runs Saved provide a five-run cushion on his competition.
|Fielding Bible Award||Kevin Kiermaier (39)||Lorenzo Cain (17)|
|A.J. Pollock (15)|
|AL Gold Glove||Kevin Kiermaier (39)||Lorenzo Cain (17)|
|Leonys Martin (15)|
|NL Gold Glove||A.J. Pollock (15)||Odubel Herrera (10)|
|Billy Hamilton (7)|
Right Fielders: Jason Heyward is remarkably consistent. In his six major league seasons, he has saved his team a minimum of 15 runs with his range and positioning each year. In that time, only four other right fielders—Gerardo Parra, Shane Victorino, Jay Bruce, and Kevin Kiermaier—have managed 15 or more Range and Positioning Runs Saved in a season, and they each did it only once. Heyward will no doubt secure his third Fielding Bible Award and third Gold Glove.
As in left field, the AL Gold Glove Award in right field is not nearly as cut and dried. Eight of the top 10 players in DRS in right field play in the NL, and the other two—Lonnie Chisenhall and Rusney Castillo—fail to meet the inning requirements to even qualify for the AL Award. That leaves a wide-open race where players who have played the full season, like Kole Calhoun and J.D. Martinez, have the upper hand.
|Fielding Bible Award||Jason Heyward (21)||Curtis Grandersion (13)|
|Ender Inciarte (13)|
|AL Gold Glove||Kole Calhoun (4)||J.D. Martinez (5)|
|George Springer (2)|
|NL Gold Glove||Jason Heyward (21)||Curtis Grandersion (13)|
|Ender Inciarte (13)|
Pitchers: Dallas Keuchel is set to become only the fourth pitcher with multiple seasons of 10 or more Runs Saved in DRS history. In fact, his 14 Runs Saved are the second most by a pitcher in a season, trailing only the 15 runs Rogers saved the Tigers in 2008. Keuchel has a comfortable lead in DRS in the AL and should easily win that Gold Glove. In the NL, Zack Greinke is having one of his best defensive seasons in a career that already featured 10 seasons with positive DRS totals. He has the edge over a crowded field of pitchers with DRS totals between five and six.
|Fielding Bible Award||Dallas Keuchel (14)||Zack Greinke (8)|
|Mike Leake (6)|
|AL Gold Glove||Dallas Keuchel (14)||Joe Kelly (6)|
|Johnny Cueto (5)|
|NL Gold Glove||Zack Greinke (8)||Mike Leake (6)|
|Jake Arrieta (6)|
Multi-Position: Last season, we introduced the Multi-Position Fielding Bible Award to reward excellent defensive players whose versatility, a huge asset for their teams, was actually costing them the chance to win an award at any individual position. Lorenzo Cain edged out Ben Zobrist, the man who perhaps best embodies the need for the award, in its first season. This year, there are a variety of interesting and different types of candidates. Addison Russell has saved 9 and 10 runs at second base and shortstop, respectively. Lonnie Chisenhall has saved 7 and 11 runs at third base and right field, a fascinating combination. However, the player I think should win the Award, Ender Inciarte, has roamed all three outfield positions, saving 12, 3, and 13 runs in left field, center field, and right field, respectively. His lack of a ton of playing time at any one of the three spots has obscured the fact that his overall 28 Runs Saved is actually the second most of any player in baseball this season behind Kiermaier. He’s the perfect example of why the Multi-Position Award is so important.
|Fielding Bible Award||Ender Inciarte (28)||Addison Russell (19)|
|Lonnie Chisenhall (18)|