Dewan felt that statistics in addition to visual observation and subjective judgment are integral in determining the best defensive players. The Fielding Bible Award attempts to address the deficiencies Dewan saw with the Gold Glove Award, previously the only organized subjective judgment of fielding. The voting for the Fielding Bible Awards are for the entire MLB, and not separated between the National League and the American League; playing defense was not perceived to be any different between the two leagues. The voters select the best defensive player at each position with the best player given 10 points, the second best nine points and so forth. From the award's inception, the specific outfield positions have been picked individually instead of choosing three generic outfielders, a practice employed by the Gold Glove Awards from 1961 to 2010. Each voter selects 10 players for each position. The candidates for each position are defined beforehand to eliminate the possibility of a vote going to player who was not really playing the position. (Rafael Palmeiro won the 1999 AL Gold Glove at first base despite being primarily a designated hitter and appearing in only 28 games as a first baseman that season.) In 2014, a multi-position award was introduced to honor a player who plays multiple positions, with a minimum of 600 innings played at any position but no more than 70 percent of those innings at a specific position. The voting for awards is summarized and published for each position, identifying who everybody voted for. This aims to instill accountability among the voters and provide insight into the process to the public.
Voters use sabermetrics to account for a defenders' range. The traditional standard of a high fielding percentage could be impacted by a player who does not make many errors but also does not get to many balls.
There have been some major differences between the player selections made for the Fielding Bible Awards and the Gold Glove Awards.The Boston Globe writer Peter Abraham said the Fielding Bible Awards "are far more accurate (and accountable)" than the Gold Glove awards since statistics are used along with the opinions of the expert panel. The Gold Gloves are selected by managers and coaches that may have seen a player as few as six times all season. Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times said the votes for the Gold Gloves rely largely on a player's past reputation. Jeff Wilson of The Southern Illinoisan believes that Gold Glove results are unduly influenced by a player's offensive prowess.Derek Jeter, winner of multiple Gold Gloves, believes that many defensive factors cannot be quantified. Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star noted that people "point out the primitive nature of defensive stats — even if that's more perception now than reality."
In 2013, the Gold Glove award partnered with Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to add a sabermetric component to its vote. Afterwards, Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated wrote that the Gold Gloves "appear to have significantly closed the gap on their more statistically-driven counterparts."
^Gleeman, Aaron (2010-11-01). "Yadier Molina leads fifth annual “Fielding Bible Awards”". NBCSports.com. Retrieved 2010-11-10. Voted on by a 10-person panel that includes Bill James, Peter Gammons, Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer, and John Dewan as well as the entire video scouting team at Baseball Info Solutions, the award sets out to recognize the best defensive player at each position, regardless of league.
^Kilgore, Adam (2010-11-09). "As award season dawns, more Silver and Gold for Zimmerman?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-10. And in The Fielding Bible Awards, a vote by various sabermetrically inclined journalists and bloggers, Zimmerman narrowly lost out to Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria (voters didn't differentiate between leagues).
^Levine, Zachary (2010-11-02). "On Giants, free agents, Bourn's award and bad predictions". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-11-11. From a news release, here's the makeup of the group that gave Bourn his award in a statistically-guided decision as Bourn is figured to have saved the Astros 16 runs.
^Dutton, Bob (2010-11-01). "No talks yet with Chen on new deal". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2010-11-11. The three outfield positions are judged separately instead of simply choosing three outfielders.
^Wolfley, Bob (November 15, 2010). "Baseball voting all over the field". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 17, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010. There is a profound disconnect between those who vote for the Gold Glove Awards, Major League Baseball managers and coaches, and those who vote for the Fielding Bible Awards, 10 expert baseball observers, some of whom favor a sabermetrics approach to the game.
^Kepner, Tyler (2010-11-10). "Jeter's Gold Glove an Error, Metric Indicates". The New York Times. p. B19. Retrieved 2010-11-10. Jeter — like many players — dismisses defensive statistics as meaningless because of the many factors that cannot be quantified.