Monday, November 1, 2010

Brett Gardner Wins Fielding Bible Award

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Fielding Bible Awards, I recommend you check out the website. I find their methodology intriguing, and I feel that this is a much better indicator of defensive performance than the Gold Glove. To keep it brief, a panel of ten 'voters' - Bill James, BIS Video Scouts, Hal Richman (of Strat-O-Matic fame), Joe Posnanski, John Dewan (the guru of defensive +/-), Mat Olkin (an MLB sabremetrics consultant), Peter Gammons, Rob Neyer, Todd Radcliffe (a former scout and head video scout for BIS), and the Tom Tango Fan Poll - cast a ballot for the best fielder at each position. A first place vote is worth ten points, a second place vote is worth nine, and so forth.

Brett Gardner is the first Yankee to win the award, which was initially conceived in 2006. This past season, Gardner led all left fielders in UZR, UZR/150, and Defensive Runs Saved (also known as Dewan's +/-), and finishing second in Total Zone. While I am not without my biases, I cannot think of another Yankee that has covered as much ground as Gardner in my lifetime, and I truly believe that he ranks among the very best defensive outfielders in the game today - and it would seem that some of the game's best minds do, as well. From The Fielding Bible:
In the big upset of the awards, Gardner unseated three-time winner Carl Crawford by 10 points in the scoring. The judges recognized his speed and skill in covering the spacious left-field territory in the Yankees new stadium.
And here's a look at the Fielding Bible Awards as a whole:

Catcher - Yadier Molina
First Base - Daric Barton
Second Base - Chase Utley
Third Base - Evan Longoria
Shortstop - Troy Tulowitzki
Left Field - Brett Gardner
Center Field - Michael Bourn
Right Field - Ichiro Suzuki
Pitcher - Mark Buehrle

More information about the voting is available in The Bill James Handbook 2011, which was released today.

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