Who needs Gold Gloves when we've got the Fielding Bible Awards?

Rick Yeatts

Via Bill James Online, John Dewan has announced the 2012 Fielding Bible Award winners:

P - Mark Buehrle
C - Yadier Molina
1B - Mark Teixeira
2B - Darwin Barney
SS - Brendan Ryan
3B - Adrián Beltré
LF - Alex Gordon
CF - Mike Trout
RF - Jason Heyward

I don't have my ballot handy, but I think I might actually have voted for all of these guys. And I might not have been alone in that regard, as most of the winners were incredibly popular choices. At each position, the voter ranks 10 candidates, 1 through 10, and the candidate gets 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, etc.

Well, this year there were three unanimous winners -- Mark Buehrle, Yadier Molina, and Alex Gordon -- along with five more winners who gathered at least 95 points points in the balloting. Remember, the maximum is 100 points. The complete voting results aren't available yet, but it looks like everybody except Adrián Beltré -- pushed by Mike Moustakas and Brett Lawrie -- was a landslide winner.

This is unusual. Last year, only four winners garnered more than 90 points; the year before, there were six.

So what's going on this year? Maybe it's a crackpot theory, but I think it's got something to do with the narrowing of the differences between the more popular sophisticated defensive metrics. I suspect that all of the voters at least glance at the numbers, and I suspect that most of them -- well, actually us -- do more than just glance.

I look at most of the numbers out there, while also taking reputations into account. And it seems to me that while in past years it wasn't hard to find big differences in how various metrics treated particular players, this year I noticed very few meaningful differences. This might be just an odd season, but I think what's happened instead is that as the bright people who does these things have refined their methods, they've simply become more accurate. And as they've become more accurate, they've converged on the same conclusions.

Whether that's a good thing or not, I don't know. Perhaps we're all just whistling in the dark. But I'm convinced that each Fielding Bible Award winner was, in fact, an outstanding fielder in 2012. Which, I suspect, is more than I'll be able to say about the Gold Glove winners when they're announced Tuesday.

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