The Gold Glove might be the best known award for defense in Major League Baseball, but the Fielding Bible Award is arguably more meaningful. Instead of one winner from each league, the Fielding Bible Award is given only to the best player in the entire MLB at each position. The award is awarded based on votes of a panel of baseball writers, geeks and even a former player. (But reading the award citations it's clear the baseball geeks rule the day.)
All that rigor makes the award for Justin Upton for his defense in right field far more meaningful than a Gold Glove. Of course, the Gold Glove is the award with its own TV show (Tuesday on ESPN) and even has a sponsor. Upton, by the way, isn't even listed as Gold Glove finalist...go figure.
Here's what Fielding Bible had to say about Upton's defense:
Right Field – Justin Upton, Arizona Justin Upton wins his first Fielding Bible Award in 2011, unseating three-time winner Ichiro Suzuki. With Ichiro’s down year defensively (he finished tenth in the voting), panelists were divided in their balloting with seven different right fielders receiving first place votes. Upton received three first-place votes, Jason Heyward two, with one apiece for Mike Stanton, Torii Hunter, Andre Ethier, Jay Bruce and Nate Schierholtz. Like Austin Jackson in center field, Upton excels on deeply hit balls, where he fielded 18 more balls in 2011 than the average right fielder would have, based on the depth, angle and velocity of those hit to him.
For the first time, the Gold Glove Award has official finalists and will have it's own TV show on Tuesday (10:00 p.m. ET, ESPN 2). Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young and left fielder are both up for the award. Tune in Tuesday to see who wins.
All in all, a pretty good haul for the D-backs outfield. It's hard to argue they aren't one of the best defensive units in the game.