Blue Jays outfielder Daulton Varsho and Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien are our co-Defensive Players of the month for March/April.

The two have an additional common bond. Despite gaudy defensive statistics, they’ve never won a Fielding Bible Award.

By our eyes, Varsho has the best highlight reel of any player in MLB this season. He finished April tied for the MLB lead among all players with 8 Defensive Runs Saved and 10 Good Fielding Plays. He’s split his time between left field (5 Runs Saved) and center field (3 Runs Saved) and thus does not lead either position individually in Runs Saved.

Blue Jays fans (and Toronto media) shared their annoyance at Varsho not winning a Fielding Bible Award last season. Varsho led all outfielders in Runs Saved but finished 2nd in the voting to Steven Kwan of the Guardians for left field and 4th in our inaugural Defensive Player of the Year voting to Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes. Varsho didn’t win a Gold Glove either.

Since the start of the season, Varsho has made a statement with how good his defense has been. He’s had a knack for making great plays against great hitters. Check out his fence-crashing catch against Shohei Ohtani and his diving catches against Bobby Witt Jr. and Kyle Tucker.

Varsho has 55 Defensive Runs Saved as an outfielder since the start of 2022 season. No one else is within 20 runs of him. It’s not just catches either. In that time, he has 11 Outfield Arm Runs Saved, 1 shy of the MLB lead.

Semien has finished 2nd in the Fielding Bible Awards voting twice, in 2021 and 2023. Perhaps this is the season that Semien wins it as he’s off to a pretty good start.

Semien has 7 Defensive Runs Saved this season for an infield that has turned the highest percentage of grounders and bunts into outs of any MLB team. His defensive work has been less about fancy plays (though he has this one and this one) and more about just getting to balls without issue and accumulating outs. That’s not calling him a compiler. That’s calling him good at his job.

Semien has made just about every play he should make. Most of the balls he’s missed fielding, other second basemen have a history of missing similar balls too. Last season, Semien had 30 plays on which he was debited more than 0.4 runs. In March and April, he had only one. He’s made 19 of 19 plays with a 60% to 80% out probability and is 47-of-48 fielding balls with a greater than 80% out probability.

By a bizarre coincidence, Semien also ended April ranked No. 1 in Defensive Runs Saved against him as a hitter. Teams have saved a combined 6 runs against his batted balls.

Semien ended April hitting .258 but should probably be doing better than he is.

Here are a bunch of examples of very good plays being made against him: a running catch by Cubs left fielder Mike Tauchman, a sliding snag by Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker, a play from deep in the hole by Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson and a nifty play by Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia. Defensive positioning has also gotten Semien a couple of times, including on this catch by Mark Canha.

There’s no shortage of good defense being played against Semien at the moment. But there’s no shortage of good defense being played by him either.

Most Defensive Runs Saved By Position

Through End of April 

Player Team Runs Saved
1B – Christian Walker Diamondbacks 7
2B – Ketel Marte Diamondbacks 8
3B – Trey Lipscomb Nationals 4
SS – Masyn Winn Cardinals 6
LF – Riley Greene Tigers 7
CF – Kyle Isbel (Tie) Royals 5
CF – Parker Meadows (Tie) Tigers 5
RF – Wilyer Abreu Red Sox 4
C – Cal Raleigh Mariners 7
P – Josh Fleming Pirates 3