Just as was former teammate Kolten Wong three years ago, in 2020, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill is coming into his own defensively and is being recognized for it across the game.
The St. Louis Cardinals left fielder was named the winner of the 2020 Fielding Bible Award at his position across Major League Baseball by Sports Information Solutions (SIS). Wong picked up his third consecutive honor at second base.
Here is the full list of the 10 2020 winners.
Congratulations to the Fielding Bible Award winners for 2020
1B- Matt Olson
2B- Kolten Wong
SS- Javier Báez
3B- Nolan Arenado
LF- Tyler O'Neill
CF- Kevin Kiermaier
RF- Mookie Betts
C- Roberto Pérez
P- Max Fried
Multi-Position- Kiké Hernández
— Sports Info Solutions (@SportsInfo_SIS) October 29, 2020
The two write-ups that follow are from the announcement, made Thursday, October 29.
Tyler O’Neill is the fifth different left fielder to win a Fielding Bible Award in the last five years. He earned it on the strength of an MLB-leading nine Runs Saved at the position. O’Neill won with his play on balls hit to the deepest part of the ballpark. He caught 46-of-54 chances on those balls, eight more than an average left fielder.
O’Neill can also thank the Cardinals coaching staff for positioning him well. His top three plays in terms of plays saved were all on balls sliced down the left-field line that O’Neill was able to track down thanks to being in a good spot to get to the ball at the time of the pitch.
In the scoring, O’Neill garnered seven of 12 first-place votes and none below third. His 51 points outpaced second-place finisher Bryan Reynolds of the Pittsburgh Pirates with 33. O’Neill unseats former Cardinal minor leaguer David Peralta, now with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kolten Wong becomes the first second baseman to win a Fielding Bible Award in three straight seasons. He’s now won two close votes (this year and 2018) sandwiched around a unanimous choice in 2019.
Wong was the only winner from a Cardinals infield that was the best in baseball in turning ground balls and bunts into outs. It is the second straight year the team has done that. Wong wasn’t flashy, but he finished with five Defensive Runs Saved. His 40 Runs Saved at the position over the last three seasons are easily the most in the majors.
Wong received four of 12 first-place votes, edging Kike Hernandez of the Los Angeles Dodgers by the narrowest of margins, 45 points to 44.
Another Cardinal places second
Hernandez was named the Multi-Position Fielding Bible Award winner with 48 points. Second was Cardinal utility man Tommy Edman with 27 points. Ironically, Edman has been tabbed to replace Wong at second base for the 2021 Cardinals.
No other Cardinals were among the top five voter-getters at their respective positions across Major League Baseball.
About the Awards
The Fielding Bible Awards are selected by a 12-person panel that includes Bill James, SIS owner John Dewan, Peter Gammons, Joe Sheehan and Rob Neyer.
All scoring for 2020 and prior years can be viewed here.
What is next
Not related to the Fielding Bible Awards, the Gold Glove Awards for 2020 will be announced on Tuesday, November 3. Wong and O’Neill are joined by Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt among the top three vote-getters at their respective positions in the National League. Unlike the Fielding Bible honors, which are MLB-wide, Gold Gloves are awarded by league.
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