Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts have won the 2016 Fielding Bible Awards for second base and right field respectively.
While the Fielding Bible is closely linked to the Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) statistic, the awards are not as simple as checking to see who had the best mark on the season. Instead, as with MLB’s award systems, they poll a group of experts to rank their top defenders at each position one-through-ten and award points based on that. The major difference is that the panel is smaller and more uniformly statistically inclined. Long story short: Jeter never won one.
Dustin Pedroia, on the other hand, certainly has. This is his fourth Fielding Bible Award, each coming in the last six seasons. Only Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols can claim more, with Pedroia establishing the clear gold standard at second base over the decade these awards have been around for.
This is Mookie Betts’ first time receiving a Fielding Bible Award, but if 2016 is any indication, it will not be his last. Betts’ +32 DRS is far-and-away the best mark at any position on the season, a full 10 runs above the runner-up in Adam Eaton. Given that his closest competition was also the second best defender (relative to position) in the game, Betts actually didn’t end up receiving the highest point total from the voters, but he did come in with 116 out of a maximum 120.
Of Boston’s three Gold Glove nominees, Jackie Bradley Jr. is notably absent, but that’s not terribly surprising. By all measurements he was less impressive with the glove in 2016 than expected, mostly due to some early struggles. There was likely some statistical noise involved there, but some of it was also pretty clear from the eye test—for instance, his difficulties playing balls at or off the wall. Given Bradley’s sheer talent in CF, though, it seems like it’s only a matter of time.