Rodgers wins '22 Fielding Bible Award at 2B

October 27th, 2022

DENVER -- Knowing his name was near the top of the fielding leaderboard helped motivate Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers, who on Thursday claimed the 2022 Fielding Bible Award at second base.

Rodgers, who finds it better for his in-season concentration to reserve a detailed dive into statistics and advanced measures until after the season, learned from an interviewer that he was challenging for the MLB lead in FanGraphs’ Defensive Runs Saved. Rodgers finished the season with 22 DRS, two behind Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes for the most by any player in the Majors.

Nonetheless, knowing he was statistically among the game’s best defenders fueled his drive to get better in a year when he was already improving as the season progressed. The result was his first significant award as a Major Leaguer.

“I’m out there doing my job, but realistically you always want to make that flashy play, that diving play for your pitcher, or the tough double play, or whatever it may be,” Rodgers said. “I wouldn’t say I was trying to get a defensive run saved every game, but I definitely was going all out. I’ve always been a diver -- a guy who will try to give up my body on a tough play -- to save a run or keep a double play in order.”

Rodgers has had a reinforcing week. He joined third baseman Ryan McMahon in being recognized as a finalist for a National League Gold Glove Award, and on Thursday joined designated hitter Charlie Blackmon as a finalist for the NL Silver Slugger Award at second base.

The Fielding Bible Awards are presented to the best MLB defensive player at each position by Sports Info Services, which counts Defensive Runs Saved as its flagship statistic. Awards are the result of voting by a 17-person panel of experts and analysts.

Rodgers, 26, knows more about the Gold Glove and has always coveted it -- “I got a Gold Glove thing from Perfect Game when I was in high school; I have it at my house and I always told myself if I got a real one it would be cool to put next to it,” he said. But in aforementioned postseason statistical analysis, he has been “reading up on the Fielding Bible Awards and trying to understand what it’s all about, and it’s definitely a big honor.”

Rodgers wasn’t the only one to not be fully aware of his strong statistics. Manager Bud Black was taken aback when asked late in the regular season about the possibility of Rodgers receiving postseason honors.

“I do think that he’s definitely improved and he’s put himself on the map as a defender, and the metrics show that,” Black said. “But he’d be the first to tell you there’s still some work to do there. But he’s had a very good year, especially the second half.”

Rodgers said he appreciates that Black is setting a high bar. (A close look at Rodgers’ defense is presented in the latest Rockies Beat newsletter.)

“That pushes me as an everyday guy to get better and better,” said Rodgers, who believes part of his improvement has come from learning and retaining information on opponents’ tendencies. “That’s not a way of [Black] adding pressure to me. It’s a way of him wanting me to improve on a daily basis. That’s what I’ve learned over the years, you’ve got to put in the work or you’re going to get outworked.

“I’m 26, but I see guys who are in their mid 30s, doing it better than they did it in their mid 20s. It’s encouraging to see guys like … Freddie Freeman with the Dodgers, who are not old but are in their early 30s and finding ways to improve.”