Box-Toppers points leaders for 1995-2018

1 Johnson, randy pi sp Retired 278.8
2 Martinez, Pedro J. pi sp Retired 244.8
3 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 214.8
4 Sabathia, C.C. 1492 pi sp nyy al 200.4
5 schilling, curt pi sp Retired 194.1
6 Pujols, Albert 1438 dh ana al 190.8
7 Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp ari nl 189.2
8 Rodriguez, Alex 3b Retired 187.0
9 Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 181.8
10 Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp hou al 178.1
1 Johnson, randy pi sp Retired 278.8
2 Martinez, Pedro J. pi sp Retired 244.8
3 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 214.8
4 Sabathia, C.C. 1492 pi sp nyy al 200.4
5 schilling, curt pi sp Retired 194.1
6 Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp ari nl 189.2
7 Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 181.8
8 Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp hou al 178.1
9 Hernandez, Felix 2064 pi sp sea al 174.1
10 Halladay, Roy 1178 pi sp Retired 170.7
1 Pujols, Albert 1438 dh ana al 190.8
2 Rodriguez, Alex 3b Retired 187.0
3 Ramirez, manny lf Retired 167.2
4 bonds, barry lf Retired 153.2
5 jones, chipper 3b Retired 149.0
6 Cabrera, Miguel 1776 1b det al 147.9
7 thome, jim 1b dh Retired 146.7
8 Ortiz, David dh Retired 145.9
9 giambi, jason 1b Retired 133.4
10 Guerrero, Vladimir rf Retired 128.3
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All-time leaders (1995-2018)

With Max Scherzer’s rise into Box-Toppers career points top 10 list during 2018, there are now six active players in the top 10, the most since 2008, when there were eight.

Box-Toppers player tracking began in 1995 and the overall top 10 players in career points was composed entirely of active players until 2008. The number of active players on the list slipped to as low as two as recently as 2014, but grew to six on June 5, when Nationals pitcher Scherzer joined the list, rising to 10th place with 172.1 Box-Toppers points, displacing retired pitcher Roy Halladay. Scherzer finished the season with 181.8 points, ranked ninth.

Also joining the top 10 list in 2018 was Astros pitcher Justin Verlander on Sept. 16, rising to 10th place with 174.1 Box-Toppers points, displacing Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez. Verlander finished the season in 10th place with 178.1 points. Because Verlander displaced Hernandez, another active player, the number of active players on the list remained steady at six.

Pitcher Randy Johnson remains the all-time Box-Toppers points leader with 278.8 at the end of the 2018 season.

Box-Toppers record keeping, tracking the top player in each and every regular season game played, began at the start of the 1995 season. After 24 seasons, there’s generally not a lot of change from season to season in the overall top 10 chart or the top 10 charts among pitchers and batters.

Among other highlights among the overall top 10 players:

  • Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw remains the active leader in career Box-Toppers points with 214.8, third-most among all players. Kershaw rose to third place during the 2017 season and had a long row to hoe to catch second-place player, retired pitcher Pedro Martinez (244.8). During 2018, Kershaw had a lackluster season, earning  just 8.0 points, 73rd among all players and the fewest points he’d earned in any season since his 2008 rookie season (4.0).

  • Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia rose from fifth place at the end of 2017 to fourth place during 2018. He also became the fourth player in Box-Toppers tracking history to reach 200 career points. Sabathia finished the season with 200.4 Box-Toppers points, earning 7.7 points during the season, 34th among American League pitchers.

  • Albert Pujols of the Angels remained in sixth place overall with 190.8 career Box-Toppers points, the most among all batters since 1995. Pujols earned just 3.0 points in 2018, the fewest he’s earned in any season in his career going back to 2001.

  • Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke rose from eighth place at the end of 2017 to seventh place in 2018 with 189.2 career Box-Toppers points, just 1.7 points behind Pujols. Greinke passed retired player Alex Rodriguez (187.0) on the “all-time” list during 2018. Greinke earned 13.0 points during 2018, 10th among National League pitchers.

As previously mentioned, two players fell out of the overall top 10 list during 2018:

  • Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez, who was ranked ninth at the end of 2017, fell to 11th after 2018 with 174.1 career Box-Toppers points. Hernandez earned just 2.7 points in 2018 after earning the same total in 2017. Hernandez joined the top 10 in 2016, rising as high as eighth place, before being displaced in 2018 after he was passed by Verlander.

  • Retired pitcher Roy Halladay, who was ranked 10th at the end of 2017, fell to 12th after 2018 with 170.7 career Box-Toppers points. Halladay retired after the 2013 season and was killed in a plane he was piloting in 2017.

Scherzer and Verlander also rose into the top 10 “all-time” career points list among pitchers during 2018. Scherzer rose to seventh place and Verlander rose to eighth. They displaced Johan Santana (166.6) and Roger Clemens (164.8) from the list.

The top 10 list among batters was practically dormant during 2018. There was no movement among the top 10 batters in career points since 1995 with all batters remaining in the same spots as at the end of 2017. There are only two active batters on the top 10 list, including the “all-time” leader among batters, Pujols with 190.8 points. The other active batter on the list is Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, who ranks sixth with 147.9 points.

Both Pujols and Cabrera had lackluster seasons, earning a combined 4.0 Box-Toppers points in all of 2018—Pujols with 3.0 and Cabrera with 1.0. In 2017, both also had fairly lackluster seasons, but earned a combined 7.5 points that season (Pujols with 5.5 and Cabrera with 2.0).

In fact, the highest-ranked active batter on the “all-time” career points list who actually rose up the list was Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, who rose from 15th place among batters at the end of 2017 to 13th place after 2018. And Beltre did this by earning just 1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2018, giving him 116.8 career points, passing Torii Hunter (115.9) and Todd Helton (116.4). Beltre announced his retirement at the end of the 2018 season.

Hernandez is the highest-ranked active pitcher not in the overall top 10 (in 11th place with 174.1 points, 4.0 points behind Verlander). Cabrera is the highest-ranked active batter not in the overall top 10 (in 28th place with 147.9 points, 30.2 points behind Verlander).

The highest-ranked active pitcher outside the top 10 pitchers list is Jon Lester of the Cubs with 164.6 career Box-Toppers points, 13th among all pitchers since 1995, just 6.1 points from 10th-place pitcher Halladay (170.7). Lester’s teammate Cole Hamels is close behind in 14th place with 164.5 career points.

The highest-ranked active batter outside the top 10 batters list who plans to be active in 2019 is Matt Holliday, who played for the Rockies in 2018. Holliday has 100.8 career Box-Toppers points, 25th among all batters since 1995 and 27.5 points behind 10th-place batter Vladimir Guerrero (128.3). But Holliday earned no Box-Toppers points in 2018.

The highest-ranked active batter outside the top 10 batters who plans to be active in 2019 and who earned points in 2018 is Ryan Braun of the Brewers. Braun has 97.7 career Box-Toppers points, 31st among all batters since 1995, 30.6 points behind 10th-place Guerrero. Braun earned 6.0 points in 2018, 24th among NL batters.

One thing to note: In the 2010s decade, batters are earning a drastically lower share of overall Box-Toppers points compared to pitchers. In 2009 and before, batters earned about 50 percent or more of all Box-Toppers points awarded, but since then that total has dipped below 50 percent and fallen as low as 39 percent, as pitchers—rather than batters—are more frequently earning Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors. Before the 2010s, batting leaders consistently earned 15 or more Box-Toppers points per season, but in recent years, that total has dipped. The active batters among the overall top 10—Pujols and Cabrera—earned the bulk of their points in the decade of the 2000s. 

It should be noted that several players on the “all-time” top 10 lists began their careers before Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995 and would likely have more actual points if their entire careers were tracked. For example, Randy Johnson began his career in 1988. He has 278.8 points since Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995. If his entire career were tracked, rough projections put his Box-Toppers point total at 380.

Here is Box-Toppers top 10 list with players’ projected career totals included. (Players with projected point totals are marked with an asterisk.) To make the list, a player needed to have at least 100 Box-Toppers points since 1995:

  1. Randy Johnson 380*

  2. Roger Clemens 320*

  3. Pedro Martinez 270*

  4. John Smoltz 255*

  5. Greg Maddux 250*

  6. Curt Schilling 232*

  7. Barry Bonds 230*

  8. Clayton Kershaw 214.8

  9. CC Sabathia 200.4

  10. Mike Mussina 193*

Only two players who started their careers in 1995 or later are on among this top 10 list and both are active—Kershaw (in eighth place) and Sabathia (in ninth). 

About Box-Toppers—Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games. Using standard box score statistics, Box-Toppers uses a simple formula to determine a Player of the Game for each Major League Baseball game played. That player is the person who contributed most to his team’s win. In regular season games, players earn 1.0 Box-Toppers point for being named Player of the Game and can earn bonus points for being Player of the Day or top player or batter in their league for the day.

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Related: Top 100 players for 1995-2018

More leaders:

  • 2018

  • 2017-2018

  • 2012-2018