Nearly every day, we see Javier Baez make some kind of incredible play at shortstop or second base. Whether it’s snagging a line drive, making an impossible catch on a popup, starting a double play no other middle infielder could, or making a no-look tag, Javy has worked hard to make himself one of the best defensive players in baseball.
Baseball Info Solutions, which publishes the Bill James Handbook every year, created the Fielding Bible Awards 12 years ago to honor the best-fielding player at each position, plus one for a multi-position player. 10 awards are given, not separated by league, just one per position.
Javier Baez is the winner of the Fielding Bible multi-position award for 2017, his second consecutive such award.
Here's a short refresher course on how the Fielding Bible Awards are determined, which differs from the Gold Glove voting: Baseball Info Solutions asks a panel of twelve experts to rank ten players at each position, regardless of the team or league they played for during the year, on a scale from 1-10. They then use the same scoring technique as the Major League Baseball MVP voting: A first place vote gets 10 points, second place 9 points, third place 8 points, etc. Total up the points for each player and the player with the most points wins the award. It’s that simple and that transparent. A perfect score is 120. For further information on this year’s voting or previous-year winners, go to www.FieldingBible.com.
The panel includes Ben Lindbergh, Bill James, Mark Simon, Rob Neyer, Peter Gammons, Brian Kenny, Hal Richman and Joe Posnanski. A Tom Tango fan poll at Fangraphs.com is also considered in the balloting.
The complete voting will be published in the Bill James Handbook, which will be out soon. I’ll have a review of the Handbook and its 2018 projections for Cubs players here soon.
Other winners for 2017: Paul Goldschmidt, DJ LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado, Andrelton Simmons, Brett Gardner, Byron Buxton, Mookie Betts, Martin Maldonado and Dallas Keuchel.
Here are six minutes’ worth of Javy defensive plays from this past season. It’s worth watching the whole thing.