A pair of Boston Red Sox players have been recognized for their outstanding defensive efforts with the prestigious Fielding Bible Award.
The Boston Red Sox are solid defensively and now have some hardware to prove it.
Unlike the more recognizable Rawlings Gold Glove Award, which has a history of basing results on reputation over merit, the Fielding Bible Award is considered to be more analytics driven. A panel of 12 experts rank 10 players at every position, plus a Multi-Position category reserved for utility players. While Gold Glove Awards are given to the top defensive player in each league, the Fielding Bible Awards aren’t league specific, meaning the Red Sox recipients faced competition from their National League peers.
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Betts was a natural choice, having lead Major League Baseball with 32 defensive runs saved. This was his first full season in right field, a position notoriously difficult to handle in Fenway Park due to it’s quirky corners. The converted second baseman adapted quickly to the outfield since his debut in the big leagues in 2014 and spent significant time in center field prior to this season.
Pedroia narrowly edged out Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, the 2015 FBA winner, whom he tied for the lead at the position with 12 defensive runs saved. This is Pedroia’s fourth time winning the award.
Both players have solid chances of adding a Gold Glove to their collection as well. Betts would seem to be an obvious choice in right field, but Pedroia has a bit more competition at second base from Kinsler and Seattle’s Robinson Cano. With a different panel of voters determining the Gold Glove winners, the results could turn out differently.
Jackie Bradley, Jr. is also a finalist for a Gold Glove award, but fell short to Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar in the Fielding Bible vote. Bradley is considered to be a defensive wizard that some consider to be among the best to ever patrol center field for the Red Sox, but he faces stiff competition at the position with arguably the deepest pool of elite defensive talent.
This marks the first time that the Red Sox have had multiple Fielding Bible winners in the same season in the 11 year history of the award.