For those of us who have come to more or less ignore Gold Glove awards as a meaningful way to measure defensive excellence, the fifth annual Fielding Bible Awards were announced today.
Voted on by a 10-person panel that includes Bill James, Peter Gammons, Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer, and John Dewan as well as the entire video scouting team at Baseball Info Solutions, the award sets out to recognize the best defensive player at each position, regardless of league.
Here are the 2010 winners:
C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B – Daric Barton, A’s
2B – Chase Utley, Phillies
SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
3B – Evan Longoria, Rays
LF – Brett Gardner, Yankees
CF – Michael Bourn, Astros
RF – Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
P – Mark Buehrle, White Sox
I might choose differently at two or three spots, but those guys are all legitimately elite defenders at their position and unfortunately that can’t always be said about the Gold Glove winners. I’d be surprised if more than five of the Fielding Bible Award recipients also won a Gold Glove despite the latter being given to one representative for each league.
Molina is the first unanimous selection in the five-year history of the Fielding Bible Awards, and he joins Suzuki, Buehrle, and Tulowitzki as repeat winners.
The Braves clinched a postseason berth with Saturday’s 10-1 win over the Nationals. Now, the only question is whether they’ll get there with an NL East division title or via one of two wild card spots currently up for grabs.
Granted, things are looking pretty good on the division title front. After losing their second straight game to the Braves, the Nationals sit 10.5 games back of first place in the NL East, and every other division rival is at least 15 games out. The Braves, meanwhile, carry a magic number of four; should they clinch, it’ll be their 19th franchise title and 14th since they migrated to the East division in 1994.
They certainly looked like postseason contenders on Saturday. Mike Foltynewicz led the charge with six innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball, limiting the Nationals to four hits while rookie right-hander Austin Voth kept the Braves scoreless through 5 2/3 frames. Things started to tip in Atlanta’s favor in the sixth inning: Nick Markakis put the team on the board with an RBI single, and a four-run breakout in the seventh helped cement a sizable lead. Over the last three innings, the Braves found opportunity after opportunity against the Nationals’ bullpen, capitalizing on walks, throwing errors, and productive outs as they climbed toward a double-digit finish.
The win didn’t come without some sacrifice, however. The Braves lost Charlie Culberson to a facial injury after he was struck by a Fernando Rodney fastball in the seventh inning, and they’ll likely be without him for the remainder of the regular season — pending a formal diagnosis, of course. Culberson’s loss isn’t the only one the club is feeling right now, either, as Johan Camargo ended his season with a hairline fracture in his right shin and Freddie Freeman is playing through a minor bout of elbow soreness after making an early exit from Friday’s 5-0 shutout.