SABR Defensive Index

Beginning in 2013, the SABR Defensive Index™ has been used to help select the winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award™, which is 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 SDI 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, including data from MLBAM’s Statcast, Sports Information Solutions, and STATS, LLC. The SABR Defensive Index accounts for approximately 25 percent of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process that was added to the votes from the managers and coaches.

Rawlings announced the revised selection process overview in March 2013 at the annual SABR Analytics Conference as part of its new collaboration with SABR. Since that announcement, SABR enlisted an independent committee of experts in baseball analytics and defensive measurement to devise the SDI. The SABR Defensive Committee includes:

  • Committee chair Vince Gennaro, former SABR Board President and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball
  • Sean Forman, founder of Baseball-Reference.com
  • Ben Jedlovec, MLB’s Director of Engineering, Data Quality
  • Chris Dial, author and recognized expert on defensive metrics
  • Michael Humphreys, author of Wizardry: Baseball’s All-Time Greatest Fielders Revealed
  • F.X. Flinn, former SABR Director

Click on a link below to view the final-season rankings of the SABR Defensive Index, as well as Rawlings Gold Glove Award and Platinum Glove Award winners.

To view the 2021 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here.

The winners of the 2021 Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners, presented by SABR, were: St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado and Houston shortstop Carlos Correa. Click here to learn more.

To view the 2020 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here.

The winners of the 2020 Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners, presented by SABR, were: Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado and Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon. Click here to learn more.


Due to the compressed 2020 MLB season, the Rawlings Gold Glove Award qualifications were amended to rely solely on the SABR Defensive Index this year. The SDI 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, including data from MLBAM’s Statcast, Sports Information Solutions, and STATS, LLC.

For 2020 consideration, pitchers must have pitched at least 50 innings, catchers must have played in at least 29 games, and infielders/outfielders must have completed at least 265 defensive innings. Each player qualifies at the position in which he has played most.

To view the 2019 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here.

The winners of the 2019 Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners, presented by SABR, were: Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado and Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman. Click here to learn more.

To view the 2018 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here.

The winners of the 2018 Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners, presented by SABR, were: Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado and Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman. Click here to learn more.

To view the 2017 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here.

The winners of the 2017 Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners, presented by SABR, were: Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado and Minnesota center fielder Byron Buxton. Click here to learn more.

To view the 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here.

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

To view the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here. 

The winners of the 2015 Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, presented by SABR, were: Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina. Click here to learn more.

To view the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here.

The winners of the 2014 Rawlings Platinum Glove Awards, presented by SABR, were: St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon. Click here to learn more.

To view the 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, click here.

The winners of 2013 Rawlings Platinum Glove Awards, presented by SABR, were: Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado and Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Click here to learn more.

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