Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons earned the National League's 2013 Rawlings Platinum Glove Award on Friday, given to the top defensive player in each league based on voting by fans and analytic input from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
Simmons narrowly edged Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina by less than 1 percent of the total vote, the closest in the award's three-year history. Molina is a two-time winner of the award. Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez finished third.
This was the first season sabermetrics were involved in the voting process after previously being based solely on fan voting.
"When we launched the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award fan inclusion platform in 2011, we knew that baseball fans worldwide followed all aspects of the game," said Kurt Hunzeker, senior director of brand marketing for St. Louis-based Rawlings. "They see the great plays on the field and follow with the same level of avidity the advanced statistics that highlight all factors that go into making a great play in the field. Their selection of [AL winner Orioles third baseman Manny Machado] and Andrelton -- the sabermetrically best defenders in baseball this year -- as 'The Finest in the Field' only amplifies our new collaboration with SABR as an immediate and resounding success."
Simmons led the NL in various defensive metric categories, including the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), which accounted for approximately 25 percent of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process. Simmons' 29.3 SDI led the NL, while his 41 defensive runs saved stands as the highest total recorded by a shortstop since the metric was first used in 2003.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth.