Mariners Insider

Brendan Ryan earns 2012 Fielding Bible award

Post by Ryan Divish on Oct. 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm with 13 Comments »
October 25, 2012 2:27 pm

Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan has earned a 2012 Fielding Bible award for his stellar play in the field this season.

What are the Fielding Bible Awards? Well, they are like the Gold Gloves but only more legitimate. Here’s your answer from the press release …

A panel of 10 analysts, listed below—including Peter Gammons, Bill James, Joe Posnanski, and Doug Glanville—examined the 2012 seasons of every defensive player in Major League Baseball and then used the same voting technique as the Major League Baseball MVP voting. First place votes received 10 points, second place 9 points, third place 8 points, etc. A perfect score was 100. A complete record of their votes can be found in The Bill James Handbook 2013.

One important distinction that differentiates THE FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS from most other baseball awards, such as the Gold Gloves, is that there is only one winner at each position instead of separate winners for each league. The goal of THE FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS is to stand up and say: “Here is the best fielder at this position in Major League Baseball last season.” Another key feature of the system is that it also recognizes the runners-up for each position, instead of just focusing on the winners.

The winners …


Mark Teixeira finally broke through to win his first Fielding Bible Award. He supplanted Albert Pujols, who won the award in five of the previous six seasons. In his first year in the American League, Pujols fell to third place with 72 points with Adrian Gonzalez in second place with 84 points.


Darwin Barney led all second basemen in Defensive Runs Saved with 28. Closest to him were Robinson Cano and Alexi Casilla with 15. Barney secured 96 points, only 4 points short of a unanimous win. The 2011 Fielding Bible Award winner, Dustin Pedroia, was runner up in 2012 with 82 points.


Adrian Beltre had some competition from a couple of new kids on the block with the defensive emergence of Mike Moustakas and Brett Lawrie at third base. Beltre edged Moustakas and Lawrie by four and seven points, respectively. Beltre has been tremendous defensively his entire career and is now the proud owner of four Fielding Bible Awards at third base.


Brendan Ryan fell one point shy of the maximum score. He has been a defensive standout for several seasons now, and with injuries limiting three-time winner Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan was finally rewarded for his excellent play. Ryan led all shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved by a significant margin with 27. His closest competitor was Atlanta rookie Andrelton Simmons with 19.


Alex Gordon was a unanimous winner finishing first on the ballot of all 10 Fielding Bible Award panelists, earning him a perfect score of 100 points. He has been tremendous defensively since the first day he walked out to left field after playing third base earlier in his career, but he did get some help this year due to injuries to other key players. Brett Gardner and Carl Crawford won five of the six previous awards in left field, but neither was consistently on the field in 2012.


In the only race that featured two candidates that received 90 or more points, Mike Trout earned what could easily be the first of many Fielding Bible Awards in his standout rookie season. Falling just short with 90 points was Michael Bourn, who won the award in 2010.


The youth movement continued in right field with first-time winner Jason Heyward. Heyward secured 96 points to top Josh Reddick, who had 84. Reddick actually saved more runs defensively for his team than did Heyward, 22 runs saved to 20, but Heyward’s excellent range and his third straight season of great defensive play earned him a well-deserved award.


Less surprising than Yadier Molina’s perfect score of 100 points was his loss a year ago. For whatever reason, Molina had a down year in 2011. He bounced back strong in 2012 throwing out baserunners at a 46 percent rate after his poor showing—by his own standards, anyway—of 25 percent in 2011. He had 16 Defensive Runs Saved overall, to lead all catchers. Last year’s winner, Matt Wieters, came in second with 81 points.


For Mark Buehrle, it was a new league but the same story. He was our third unanimous winner of 2012 en route to his fourth-consecutive Fielding Bible Award. Jake Westbrook had 75 points and was the closest player to him. Buehrle was solid in all aspects of his defensive play, and, as always, especially so in holding runners. He allowed only five stolen bases in eight attempts and picked off two other baserunners.

Here’s the voting panel

1. Bill James is a baseball writer and analyst and the Senior Baseball Operations Advisor for the Boston Red Sox;

2. The BIS Video Scouts at Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) study every game of the season, multiple times, charting a huge list of valuable game details;

3. The man who created Strat-O-Matic Baseball—Hal Richman;

4. Named the best sports columnist in America in 2012 by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, Joe Posnanski is a Senior Writer at a new journalism venture called Sports On Earth;

5. For over twenty years, BIS owner John Dewan has collected, published and analyzed in-depth baseball statistics and is the author of The Fielding Bible and The Fielding Bible—Volume II and co-author of The Fielding Bible—Volume III;

6. Hall-of-Famer Peter Gammons serves as on-air and online analyst for MLB Network,, and NESN (New England Sports Network);

7. Doug Glanville played nine seasons in Major League Baseball and was well known for his excellent outfield defense. Currently, he is a baseball analyst at ESPN, primarily on Baseball Tonight, and ESPN The Magazine;

8. Mark Simon has been a researcher for ESPN Stats & Information since 2002. He has worked on Baseball Tonight, co-hosts the Baseball Today podcast, and contributes regularly (sometimes on the subject of defense) to and;

9. After nearly fifteen years with, Rob Neyer joined SB Nation as National Baseball Editor in 2011. He has written six books about baseball;

10. The Tom Tango Fan Poll represents the results of a poll taken at the website, Tango on Baseball ( Besides hosting the website, Tom writes research articles devoted to sabermetrics;

The three tie-breakers are Ben Jedlovec, Vice President of BIS and co-author of The Fielding Bible—Volume IIIDan Casey, veteran Video Scout at BIS; and Dave Studenmund, one of the owners of and the editor of The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.


Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. imjtaylor79 says:

    Congrats to Brendan. While it would be nice if he could match his career batting average (.244) next year, I could put up with an above the Mendoza line average if he continues to be the top SS in all of baseball. Now if we could just get some consistent offense at DH.

  2. bbnate420 says:

    I agree, ijmtaylor79. Glad he’ll be back for next year at least. We’ll see how Franklin is doing when they have to make a decision on him for 2014. That kind of defense is invaluable, and it’s probable that he will hit better in 2013. He certainly can’t hit a lot worse. I would gladly take .240-.250, 20-25 doubles, a few triples, 5-8 hrs, and 40+ RBIs from him in 2013.

  3. wabubba67 says:

    Franklin will never develop into an everyday SS at the major league level. Below average range, hands, and arm. He is a second baseman…maybe. Use him as trade bait with an arm (most likely Vargas) to get a dependable, veteran (with a few good years left ahead of him), bat.

  4. Palerydr says:

    I’m a fan of an all field no hit SS as long as we can put an offense together to compensate for 1 light hitter. Having 4-5 guys consistently in your lineup hitting around .200 = the kind of season we just suffered through Do Not want to see that again.

    Nice to see Hal Richman get some props I’ve played Strat-o-Matic BB since 1980. Some notable players John Miller, Bob Costas, and Doug Glanville. The company also has Football, Basketball and Hockey.

  5. bbnate420 says:

    Good points, Palerydr.

    wabubba67, I’m glad you have a crystal ball. I’m sure you are rich, living in Vegas off your sports bets? You may well be right about Franklin . The scouting reports I have read don’t agree with a fair amount of your assessment. You should look at a number of them and average them out. Not just cherry pick ones that fit your narrative. It definitely is still questionable amongst scouts whether or not Franklin can be an every day major league SS. He will probably never be a very good-great SS defensively. He has above-average range and an average arm from the consensus I have read. He still needs work on his consistency, as most 21 year old players do. The question is whether or not his offense can justify his defense? This could go a number of different directions as well. Does Ackley move to the OF? That would open 2nd. Does Ackley stay at 2nd but not show improvement in 2013? I’m not necessarily against trading him if we can get value, but I don’t think we’re anywhere that point right now. I’m not mjust trying to poo-poo your post.

  6. bbnate420 says:

    My point, wabubba67, is that none of us know what he will be for sure. Not even close at 21. I’m fine with them trading him if they can get a good deal or get a real impact player if they are somehow in the playoff race in July of 2013. He’s still rated above Zunino by most scouting sites. Yes, I know Zunino hasn’t played much professional ball. I personally would bet on Zunino being the better major league player than Franklin at this point. I just wouldn’t give up on him yet without some real value coming back in return. Like I said, he still provides some insurance for Ackley at this point as well. I think Ackley will improve dramatically in 2013, but this is just projection. We don’t know until we see it.

  7. wabubba67 says:

    This is the second year that I’ve watched Franklin in the Arizona Fall League against other organizations top prospects. I often sit behind home plate and quietly listen to what various scouts are saying about some players…they seem to confirm my beliefs about Franklin.

    I’m not saying that he is without value….just that his perceived value by Mariner fans seems to be higher than his actual value.

  8. bbnate420 says:

    We’ll find out. He is the #29 rated prospect in baseball according to That doesn’t necessarily mean he will be a SS. His errors came down while he was in Tacoma. I haven’t seen advanced defensive stats for him. He probably would be better off at 2nd, but Ackley is there now. Hopefully, he fulfills his promise and we don’t need to think about replacing him. I would be in favor of moving Ackley to the OF as well if Franklin is ready and the M’s didn’t bring in a good OF in the off-season or sign Wright and already move Seager there. Worst case, he must have some trade value. Especially to ,teams looking st him for 2nd.

  9. footballscaa says:

    Now all that needs to happen is a DH for the SS position. Then everything will be great in Marinerville.

  10. I’m loving the debate about Franklin. I’m actually trying to get some outside scouts to get me their opinions. Obviously, the Mariners aren’t going to come out and say it — would devalue him in possible trades. Hopefully I will have something by Wednesday. My gut feeling is that he isn’t an everyday shortstop. The arm strength is lacking. It’s glaringly noticeable when you see Triunfel play shortstop — he has an arm like Rafael Furcal. Franklin can make up for that by getting rid of the ball quickly – but that needs to improve.

  11. wabubba67 says:

    Tough to get rid of the ball quickly if he can’t ever seem to field a groundball cleanly.

  12. bbnate420 says:

    Ryan, so do you see Franklin as a 2nd baseman? That makes him purely trade bait unless they move Ackley or he busts? Is there any chance they might consider Franklin for LF? I think Franklin could probably use all of 2013 at AAA. For offensive development as well. Do you have a different projected timeline? I haven’t really seen much of either of them in person, but I wouldn’t be comfortable with Truinfel at SS right now with the kind of numbers he puts up, just taking defense into account. He made 30 errors in 131 games in 2012 and 31 errors in 107 games in 2011. That’s at least improvement, I guess. ;-)

  13. bbnate420 says:

    I’m personally fine with keeping Ryan for a few more years if he keeps playing defense like he has and can raise his average to around .240 or so. His walk rate is good. The M’s also have Romero and Miller in AA, so there may be a log jam at middle infielder in a few years. Miller seems to have defensive limitations as well although his error rate did improve dramatically as the year wore on, his first full professional year.

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