SABR Defensive Index rankings released through August 31, 2014

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 — Oakland’s Josh Donaldson and Atlanta’s Jason Heyward have built on their respective AL and NL league leads in the SABR Defensive Index™ rankings through games of August 31, 2014.

The SABR Defensive Index is used to help select the winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award™, presented by SABR.

The SABR Defensive Index draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts. The three metrics representing batted ball data include Defensive Runs Saved from Baseball Info Solutions, Ultimate Zone Rating developed by noted sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman, and Runs Effectively Defended based on STATS Zone Rating and built by SABR Defensive Committee member Chris Dial. The two metrics included in the SDI originating from play-by-play data are Defensive Regression Analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and Total Zone Rating.

The SABR Defensive Index accounts for 30 total “votes” — or approximately 25 percent of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process — that was added to the votes from the managers and coaches.

Donaldson’s SDI of 19.0 is the top figure in the AL, ahead of Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager (16.8), Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon (16.3), and a pair of Boston teammates: second baseman Dustin Pedroia (12.8) and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (11.6).

Heyward’s SDI of 26.7 through August 31 is the best in the game among all qualified defenders. The top five NL players as ranked by SDI, after Heyward, are: New York center fielder Juan Lagares (17.3), Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cosart (14.9) and center fielder Billy Hamilton (11.0), and Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons (10.6), the reigning Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winner in the NL.

The SDI results were released today by the Society for American Baseball Research.

Updated SDI results will be released periodically throughout the rest of the 2014 season at The SDI is compiled by the SABR Defensive Committee, which includes SABR President Vince Gennaro, Sean Forman of, Ben Jedlovec of Baseball Info Solutions, SABR Director F.X. Flinn, author and defensive metrics expert Chris Dial, and author Michael Humphreys.

Here are the top 25 players in each League, through games of August 31, 2014 (click here to view full SDI rankings by position):


AL leaders

Player Team Position SDI
Josh Donaldson OAK 3B 19.0
Kyle Seager SEA 3B 16.8
Alex Gordon KCR LF 16.3
Dustin Pedroia BOS 2B 12.8
Jackie Bradley BOS CF 11.6
Ian Kinsler DET 2B 10.8
J.J. Hardy BAL SS 9.2
Yoenis Cespedes OAK/BOS LF 6.9
Jonathan Schoop BAL 2B 6.9
Salvador Perez KCR C 6.8
Adam Eaton CHW CF 5.6
Trevor Plouffe MIN 3B 5.3
Dallas Keuchel HOU P 5.2
Robinson Chirinos TEX C 5.1
Dustin Ackley SEA LF 5.0
Leonys Martin TEX CF 4.7
Albert Pujols LAA 1B 4.5
Alex Avila DET C 4.4
Brian McCann NYY C 4.2
Kole Calhoun LAA RF 3.7
Desmond Jennings TBR CF 3.3
Miguel Cabrera DET 1B 3.0
Yan Gomes CLE C 2.8
Howie Kendrick LAA 2B 2.8
Brett Gardner NYY LF 2.7


NL leaders

Player Team Position SDI
Jason Heyward ATL RF 26.7
Juan Lagares NYM CF 17.3
Zack Cozart CIN SS 14.9
Billy Hamilton CIN CF 11.0
Andrelton Simmons ATL SS 10.6
Jhonny Peralta STL SS 10.6
Nolan Arenado COL 3B 10.3
Christian Yelich MIA LF 8.9
Chase Utley PHI 2B 8.9
Yadier Molina STL C 8.7
Russell Martin PIT C 8.2
Adrian Gonzalez LAD 1B 8.0
Giancarlo Stanton MIA RF 7.8
Jordy Mercer PIT SS 7.5
Jimmy Rollins PHI SS 7.2
DJ LeMahieu COL 2B 6.4
Pablo Sandoval SFG 3B 6.0
Marlon Byrd PHI RF 5.9
Justin Upton ATL LF 5.4
Henderson Alvarez MIA P 5.2
Khris Davis MIL LF 5.1
Ruben Tejada NYM SS 5.1
Carlos Ruiz PHI C 4.6
Jonathan Lucroy MIL C 4.6
Rene Rivera SDP C 4.4


For past results and full details of the SABR Defensive Index, visit


About SABR

The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering research and disseminating the history and record of baseball. Founded in 1971, SABR has more than 6,500 members worldwide and has established itself as a vibrant baseball community and a premier distributor of ground-breaking baseball information. SABR features more than 60 chapters and more than two dozen research committees, and produces three annual publications – two editions of The Baseball Research Journal and The National Pastime – in addition to other print and e-books. SABR also hosts two annual events: the National Convention each summer, and the SABR Analytics Conference in March in Phoenix. For more information about SABR, go to

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Originally published: September 8, 2014. Last Updated: September 8, 2014.