SIS is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Fielding Bible Awards. This marks the 18th season that we have honored the best defensive players in MLB. The awards are voted on by a panel of experts who consider statistical analysis, the eye test, and any other factors that they wish to utilize.
We are also announcing the winner of our inaugural Defensive Player of the Year award.
This year’s winners are:
|Player of the Year||Ke’Bryan Hayes||Pirates|
|CF||Kevin Kiermaier||Blue Jays|
|RF||Fernando Tatis Jr.||Padres|
Defensive Player of the Year
Ke’Bryan Hayes is our inaugural Defensive Player of the Year. He led 3rd basemen in Defensive Runs Saved this season and easily leads all 3rd basemen in Runs Saved since his debut season, 2020.
“Ke’Bryan Hayes had another outstanding season defensively,” said SIS VP Baseball, Bobby Scales. “Since the day he entered the Major Leagues he has displayed a level of defensive excellence that few young players exhibit at this early stage of their careers. This year was truly a special one for him.”
1B – Christian Walker won his 2nd straight Fielding Bible Award. He finished 2nd among 1st basemen with 9 Defensive Runs Saved in 2023. He joins Albert Pujols and Matt Olson as the only 1B to win in consecutive years. Walker cut back on his Misplays & Errors from 19 in 2022 to 11 in 2023 in nearly the same number of innings.
Walker and Paul Goldschmidt are the only Diamondbacks players to win a Fielding Bible Award at 1st base.
2B – Andrés Giménez won his 1st Fielding Bible Award. Gimenez led all 2nd basemen with 23 Defensive Runs Saved in 2023. He was our Co-Defensive Player of the Month in September. Giménez was the only infielder to be at least 10 Plays Saved above average on balls hit to both his left and his right in 2023.
He’s the only Guardians player to win the Award at 2nd base.
3B – Ke’Bryan Hayes won his 2nd Fielding Bible Award (previously won in 2021) to go along with Defensive Player of the Year honors. He led all third basemen with 21 Defensive Runs Saved. Hayes cut back on his mistakes in 2023. He finished with 13 Defensive Misplays & Errors, down from 25 in 2022. He was also the only third baseman to have at least 10 plays saved on balls hit to his right.
He’s the only Pirates player to win the award at 3rd base.
SS – Dansby Swanson won his 1st Fielding Bible Award. He was the only unanimous selection among 2023 winners. Swanson led all shortstops with 18 Defensive Runs Saved. He was +14 Plays Saved on balls hit to his right, the most of any player at the position. Balls hit to that area (the shortstop-third base hole) have been a weakness for Swanson in past seasons but in 2022 and 2023, he’s improved considerably.
Swanson is the second Cubs player to win a Fielding Bible Award at shortstop, joining Javier Báez (2020).
LF – Steven Kwan won his 2nd Fielding Bible Award. He’s the first player to win a Fielding Bible Award in each of his first 2 MLB seasons. He led all left fielders in both Defensive Runs Saved (16) and Good Fielding Plays (24) in 2023. He’s the only Guardians player to win the Award for left field.
CF – Kevin Kiermaier won his 3rd Fielding Bible Award. He finished 2nd among center fielders with 18 Defensive Runs Saved, his most since recording 20 in 2017. Kiermaier made 92 catches on 110 opportunities on balls classified as deep, 11 more than the average center fielder would have made. Kiermaier joins Kevin Pillar as the only Blue Jays to win the Award for center field.
RF – Fernando Tatis Jr. won his 1st Fielding Bible Award and became the 1st Padres player to win the Award. Every team now has at least one Fielding Bible Award winner. Tatis was the runaway leader with 29 Defensive Runs Saved in right field. He led all right fielders in Plays Saved on medium and deep-hit balls and led the position in Outfield Arm Runs Saved. Tatis’ 29 Runs Saved were the most for any player at any position in 2023. The 20-run gap between Tatis and the next-best right fielder was the largest gap between No. 1 and No. 2 for right field since Runs Saved was first tracked in 2003.
C – Gabriel Moreno won his 1st Fielding Bible Award. Moreno threw out 21 would-be basestealers in 56 attempts, which equated to an MLB-best 7 Stolen Base Runs Saved. He also earned 5 Runs Saved for pitch blocking, 2nd in MLB to Nick Fortes. Diamondbacks pitchers had a 3.94 regular season ERA when Moreno caught. When he didn’t, their ERA was 5.25. Moreno joins Jeff Mathis as the only Diamondbacks catchers to win a Fielding Bible Award.
P – Zack Greinke won his 3rd Fielding Bible Award, his first with the Royals (other ones: 2018, 2019). He finished 2nd among pitchers with 6 Defensive Runs Saved this season. In the 21-year history of the stat, Greinke ranks first at the position with 93 Runs Saved. Greinke allowed only 2 stolen bases all season. He picked off 5 baserunners, 1 more than he had in the previous 8 seasons combined. Greinke is the only Royals pitcher to win a Fielding Bible Award.
Multi-Position – Mookie Betts won his 6th Fielding Bible Award, tying Andrelton Simmons and Yadier Molina for the most in the 18-year history of the Award. It’s the first time that Betts won for multi-position excellence. The other 5 came as a right fielder. Betts saved 6 Runs at 2nd base and 3 runs in right field. He’d never played more than 14 games at 2nd base prior to 2023, when he played 70. He also played 16 games at shortstop, the first time he’d played the position in the major leagues. Betts is the 3rd Dodgers player to win the Multi-Position award joining Cody Bellinger (2019) and Kiké Hernández (2020).
The 2023 awards were determined by a panel of 16 voters, who ranked the top 10 players at each defensive position (including a spot for multi-position players) at the conclusion of the regular season. A first-place vote gets 10 points, second-place gets nine points, third-place gets eight points, etc. Total up the points for each player, and the player with the most points wins the award. A perfect score is 160 points.
Our voting panel consisted of SIS co-founder John Dewan and baseball stat pioneer Bill James, along with Daniel Álvarez-Montes (El Extra Base), Chris Dial (sabermetrician), Alyson Footer (MLB.com), Peter Gammons (The Athletic), Tyler Kepner (The Athletic), Bill Ladson (MLB.com), Eduardo Pérez (ESPN), Hal Richman (Strat-O-Matic), Travis Sawchik (The Score), Bobby Scales (SIS), Joe Sheehan (longtime writer), Mark Simon (SIS), Dani Wexelman (MLB Network Radio), and an aggregate vote from the SIS Video Scout staff.
A complete list of ballots and the history of the Fielding Bible Awards (which began in 2006) can be found online at FieldingBible.com and in The Bill James Handbook: Walk-Off Edition, which is available at ACTASports.com.