SABR-Rawlings deal an opportunity to integrate defensive advancements with Rawlings Gold Glove Awards

By Jacob Pomrenke

SABR’s multi-year collaboration with Rawlings — announced Friday during the second annual SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix, Arizona — is an opportunity to integrate groundbreaking advancements in defensive metrics to the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, which will be presented by SABR beginning with the 2013 season.

SABR President Vince Gennaro and Executive Director Marc Appleman said there was quite a buzz at the Analytics Conference, especially from researchers and analysts who have been working for years at improving on traditional defensive metrics.

“The Analytics Conference is a prime opportunity to bring the thought leaders of the baseball industry together,” Gennaro said. “Over the course of the conference, Marc and I had conversations with many of those leaders who are interested in being part of the Fielding Research Committee and contributing to the SABR Defensive Index.

“SABR’s proven ability to bring together the best baseball minds, as well as its reputation as a respected, independent nonprofit organization, made us an attractive partner for Rawlings. We want to put the best information available at the fingertips of Rawlings Gold Glove Award voters.”

In addition to the SABR Defensive Index, or SDI, SABR will develop an expanded statistical resource guide that will accompany the Rawlings Gold Glove Award ballots sent to major league-level managers and coaches each year. The guide, first created by Rawlings three years ago, includes advanced statistical metrics and player eligibility requirements. Only players listed in the resource guide can be selected to win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

Gennaro said a high priority for the new Fielding Research Committee would be to establish a transparent index that integrates respected fielding metrics from multiple sources.

“The baseball community’s knowledge of defense, and the data we use to evaluate it, is improving every day,” Gennaro said. “In keeping with SABR’s mission, and the goal of the Analytics Conference, we hope the SDI will be an ongoing effort to integrate the best research and the best methods available to assess defensive performance.”

Gennaro said the Fielding Research Committee will be selected and announced in the coming weeks, and they will be tasked to determine which metrics will be part of the SDI.

“The SDI is an opportunity for SABR to combine the best defensive statistics available in a transparent, objective way. SABR’s involvement with the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award will help ensure that they remain the industry standards for fielding excellence for years to come.”

For more coverage of the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference, visit

Originally published: March 12, 2013. Last Updated: May 12, 2020.