By Jon Becker
One of Sports Info Solutions owner John Dewan’s first and most impactful innovations was his creation of The Fielding Bible, which has published four volumes since the inception of Defensive Runs Saved in 2003. DRS and The Fielding Bible have been at the forefront of fielding analytics for over a decade and a half now, with DRS now appearing on the player pages at FanGraphs. And so, we are thrilled to announce the relaunch of FieldingBible.com!
There are many sources and nuggets of information on the website, including past Fielding Bible Award winners and the Fielding Bible FAQ, which discusses the components of Defensive Runs Saved in great and easy-to-digest detail. But, if the numbers are your thing, the Statistics page is the place for you. Let’s take a look at what we think are the three best and most commonly used pages on that tab.
Want to know which outfielder has saved the most run with his arm? How about which fielder has the best combination of range and positioning? Or maybe you just want to know who the best player is across the board? The DRS Leaderboard can do all of that and more. Here are examples of some things you can find just by playing around with the filters at the top of the page and the sorting feature on the table (sort by a column by clicking on the column heading):
- Padres catcher Austin Hedges has 11 Strike Zone Runs Saved this year, five more than the next-closest catcher (Buster Posey)
- Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has 188 Total Runs Saved since 2010, over twice as many as the next-best shortstop (Brandon Crawford, 78)
- From 2003 until his career ended in 2008, Greg Maddux led all pitchers with 41 Range and Positioning DRS
This page is where you can look even more in-depth at the Range & Positioning component of DRS. This includes looking at how a player performs depending on which direction he has to move, how a pitcher is at holding runners, or how many opportunities an outfielder has had to throw runners out on the bases, among many other things. Here are some more tidbits from that page:
- The aforementioned Maddux was excellent at making plays to his right (+39 Plays Saved) and straight on (+16) over the last 6 years of his career, but was almost neutral (+1) to his left (meaning: along the first base side).
- Dodgers right fielder and DRS darling Cody Bellinger has already accrued 19 Bases Saved in right this year, while runners have only taken nine extra bases on him in 38 opportunities (24%)
- In his 2004 Gold Glove season, future Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter posted a Plays Saved of -24 on plays to his right (balls in the shortstop-third base hole); he managed +7 in the final season of his career, 2014
This page is similar to the Fielding Bible Range & Positioning page, except that it gives a much more basic, zoomed-out view of a player’s performance by position and by season. If you’re only interested in the individual components of DRS, rather than the sub-components, this is where you want to be. For example:
- Cubs infielder Javier Baez won the 2018 Fielding Bible Award for Multi-Position players; that year, his value was pretty evenly distributed (2 DRS as a 3B, 5 as 2B, 3 as SS)
- Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto spent much of the offseason working on his pitch-framing, and that shows in the data; his Strike Zone Runs Saved was -2 in 2018 and is up to +1 this year. His 10 Runs Saved overall ranks second among catchers.
- Athletics 3B and 2018 Fielding Bible winner Matt Chapman was elite at fielding bunts last season. He had 3 Bunt Runs Saved, most in MLB.
We hope you enjoy the new FieldingBible.com!