Today, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons was named the best fielding shortstop in all of baseball by being awarded with a 2013 Fielding Bible Award. Simmons was one of only two unanimous choices this season, along with third baseman Manny Machado. They both received a first place vote from all of the 10 panelists. Hopefully, this will only be the first award of the day for Simmons, as the Gold Glove winners will be announced later this evening. Here is an excerpt from the article about Simmons:
Is Andrelton Simmons the second coming of Ozzie Smith? It sure looks like it. He has everything that Ozzie had: soft hands, a quick release, tremendous range, an incredible flair for the shortstop position. And even one skill a little better than The Wizard of Oz: a stronger throwing arm. We won’t crown Simmons with the all-time title just yet, but saving 41 runs in one year is the best on record. That’s on top of having saved 19 runs for the Braves in about a third of the 2012 season. The competition wasn’t even close this past year. The next best runs saved totals at shortstop were 12, 12 and 11 (Pedro Florimon, Clint Barmes and Elvis Andrus). The Awards panel rewarded Simmons with a unanimous vote.
It’s never a bad thing to be compared to The Wizard of Oz as a shortstop playing your first full big league season, but Simmons has deserved the comparison.
In case you aren’t familiar, the Fielding Bible Award is given to the best fielding player at each position in the Major Leagues. They don’t have a winner for each league like the Gold Glove does. It is an elite panel of baseball people, including such names as Bill James, Peter Gammons, Brian Kenny and Rob Neyer. It has been considered the best fielding award in baseball circles over the Gold Glove for a few years now.
A few other Braves were named on ballets for a Fielding Bible Award. Jason Heyward, who won the Fielding Bible Award last season for right fielders, finished 3rd this season behind Gerardo Parra and Shane Victorino. Freddie Freeman, whose defense is a much debated topic among Braves fans, finished 4th at first-base after finishing 8th last season. Brian McCann finished 15th among catchers, while Julio Teheran was named the 8th best fielding pitcher and Mike Minor received a few votes to place him in 21st place.