How soon will Mike Zunino be the Mariners’ everyday catcher?
Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan didn’t just win his first Fielding Bible Award today, he destroyed all comers. Ryan is one of nine winners at each position throughout MLB for the relatively new awards, which, in my opinion, have the most legitimacy for any defensive prize you’ll find.
They are chosen by a panel of 10 experts from the media and stats business, people who are informed about some of the more advanced metrics out there. These metrics are far from perfect, but they are still better than anything previously used. And unlike the Gold Glove Awards, chosen by coaches who rarely see players they are voting for more than a few times per season, I think the methodology behind the Fielding Bible Awards is superior.
John Dewan, the founder of Baseball Info Solutions and author of The Fielding Bible (and creator of the Defensive Runs Saved stat) helps organize the awards each year.
Here is what he had to say about Ryan:
“Brendan Ryan is the best defender in baseball. Period. Make that double period. His has saved 67 runs for his teams defensively over the last three years, the highest total among all players. The next highest runs saved total is not even close (Michael Bourn, 51).
“Ryan led all shortstops in 2012 with 27 runs saved, led in 2011 with 18, and finished second in both 2010 and 2009 with 22 runs saved each year. Seattle recognizes the value of Ryan’s defense, and that’s why they keep putting him out there day after day despite his .194 batting average during the 2012 season. It will be interesting to see if the American League coaches and managers, who vote for the Gold
Glove Awards, can look past Ryan’s offense and base their ballot on his defense alone. This has been one of the problems with the Gold Glove voting–a certain amount of offense has always been required for what should be a defense-only award. Gold Glove voting has never allowed for a position player hitting below the Mendoza line to win a Gold Glove. Hopefully Ryan will be the first.”
The winners’ list:
First Base–Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees (first-time winner)
Second Base–Darwin Barney, Chicago Cubs (first-time winner)
Third Base–Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers (fourth-time winner)
Shortstop–Brendan Ryan, Seattle Mariners (first-time winner)
Left Field–Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals (first-time winner)
Center Field–Michael Trout, Los Angeles Angels (first-time winner)
Right Field–Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves (first-time winner)
Catcher–Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals (fifth-time winner)
Pitcher–Mark Buehrle, Miami Marlins (fourth-time winner)