SABR Defensive Index rankings released through July 9, 2017

JULY 18, 2017 — Boston right fielder Mookie Betts leads a quartet of star outfielders in the AL and Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado has taken the NL’s top spot in the SABR Defensive Index rankings through the first half of the 2017 MLB season.

For the fifth consecutive season, the SABR Defensive Index will be 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 approximately 25 percent of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process that will be added to the votes from the managers and coaches.

Betts’s SDI of 15.3 is the highest in the game among all qualified defenders, ahead of Minnesota center fielder Byron Buxton (12.7). Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon (8.8), Detroit left fielder Justin Upton (8.7) and Los Angeles catcher Martin Maldonado (8.6) round out the top five in the AL.

Arenado’s SDI of 10.7 leads all fielders in the NL, followed by his teammate, Colorado second baseman D.J. LeMahieu (9.1), Atlanta center fielder Ender Inciarte (8.4) and San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt (7.9). Chicago right fielder Jason Heyward and Philadelphia center fielder Odubel Herrera are tied for fifth place at 7.7.

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

The final SDI results will be released following the conclusion of the 2017 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 July 9, 2017 (click here to view full SDI rankings by position):


AL leaders

Player Team Position SDI
Mookie Betts BOS RF 15.3
Byron Buxton MIN CF 12.7
Alex Gordon KCR LF 8.8
Justin Upton DET LF 8.7
Martin Maldonado LAA C 8.6
Andrelton Simmons LAA SS 7.5
Ian Kinsler DET 2B 6.4
Lorenzo Cain KCR CF 6.3
Jose Iglesias DET SS 6.1
Evan Longoria TBR 3B 6.0
Brett Gardner NYY LF 5.6
Bradley Zimmer CLE CF 5.3
Jarrod Dyson SEA CF 5.1
Aaron Hicks NYY CF 4.9
Jason Castro MIN C 4.6
Corey Dickerson TBR LF 4.3
Leury Garcia CHW CF 4.3
Elvis Andrus TEX SS 4.3
Sandy Leon BOS C 4.3
Danny Valencia SEA 1B 4.1
Yan Gomes CLE C 4.0
Max Kepler MIN RF 3.9
Dustin Pedroia BOS 2B 3.9
Kyle Seager SEA 3B 3.9
Avisail Garcia CHW RF 3.6


NL leaders

Player Team Position SDI
Nolan Arenado COL 3B 10.7
DJ LeMahieu COL 2B 9.1
Ender Inciarte ATL CF 8.4
Brandon Belt SFG 1B 7.9
Jason Heyward CHC RF 7.7
Odubel Herrera PHI CF 7.7
Yasmani Grandal LAD C 7.6
Tucker Barnhart CIN C 7.4
Paul Goldschmidt ARI 1B 6.7
Addison Russell CHC SS 6.1
Jedd Gyorko STL 3B 6.0
JT Riddle MIA SS 6.0
Anthony Rendon WSN 3B 5.4
Manny Pina MIL C 5.2
Joey Votto CIN 1B 4.9
Anthony Rizzo CHC 1B 4.7
Ben Zobrist CHC 2B 4.5
Marcell Ozuna MIA LF 4.3
Justin Turner LAD 3B 4.2
Orlando Arcia MIL SS 4.0
Tyler Chatwood COL P 3.8
Yasiel Puig LAD RF 3.7
Hernan Perez MIL LF 3.6
David Freese PIT 3B 3.5
Billy Hamilton CIN CF 3.5



To view full SDI rankings from the 2016 season, click here. To view the 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here.

The winners of 2016 Rawlings Platinum Glove Awards, presented by SABR, were Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor and Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Click here to learn more about the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, presented by SABR.


About SABR

The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering research and disseminating the history and record of baseball. Founded in 1971, SABR has more than 6,000 members worldwide and has established itself as a vibrant baseball community and a premier distributor of ground-breaking baseball information. SABR features more than 70 regional chapters and more than 30 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, visit

About the Rawlings Gold Glove Award®

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award® is a registered trademark owned by Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. The award is correctly identified as the Rawlings Gold Glove Award. The name should not be shortened, abbreviated or otherwise misused. Proper identification of this service mark using the registration symbol and the Rawlings name is important to protect the integrity of the program and perpetuate this worthy tradition. For more information, please visit

About Rawlings

Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. is an innovative manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods worldwide. Founded in 1887, Rawlings is an authentic global sports brand, trusted by generations of athletes from the sandlot to the pros. Rawlings’ unparalleled quality and expert craftsmanship are the fundamental reasons why more athletes choose Rawlings, and why Rawlings is the Official Batting Helmet and Ball Supplier of Major League Baseball®, the official baseball of Minor League Baseball™ and the NCAA®, and the approved baseball, basketball, football and softball of the National High School Federation®. For more information, please visit or by call (314) 819-2800.

Originally published: July 17, 2017. Last Updated: July 17, 2017.