“If you want to be viewed as the best—bar none—then you want to win The Fielding Bible Award at your position.”
Those are the words of John Dewan, co-author of the Fielding Bible III and owner of Baseball Info Systems. Unlike the Rawlings Gold Glove awards, the Fielding Bible Awards are presented to just one player, at each position, period, recognizing the best fielders in all of baseball.
And the 2013 Fielding Bible Award winner as a pitcher? None other than Toronto Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey. The 12-man panel that includes Bill James, Hal Richman, Joe Posnanski, John Dewan, Doug Glanville, Peter Gammons, Rob Neyer, Mark Simon, and others announced the awards on Tuesday morning.
Dickey’s win is the first of his career, and unseats teammate Mark Buehrle from the throne. Buehrle had won each of the last four Fielding Bible awards, but it was his teammate Dickey that takes home the honor in 2013. Dickey would finish with 105 points out of a possible 120, with Zack Greinke (98) and Buehrle (73) finishing second and third respectively.
According to FanGraphs, Dickey ranked second in baseball in 2013 in Defensive Runs Saved with 7, just one behind Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He also ranked 10th in baseball in range factor and despite being a knuckleballer, held baserunners to just 8 stolen bases. Per Dewan, those were just the tip of the iceberg for Dickey.
He excels in all facets of defending his position. As a knuckleballer, Dickey always puts himself in good fielding position after each pitch. He covers bunts very well, and has a tremendous pickoff move. He has picked off 12 runners in the last three years, which is tied for the second-most in baseball behind James Shields (19) among right-handed pitchers.
The two Blue Jays starters will square off again Tuesday night, when Rawlings announces their 2013 Gold Glove winners for each league. Both Buehrle and Dickey were finalists for the American League pitching honor.