The American League Championship Series beginning Saturday features Box-Toppers' top-ranked AL teams and Box-Toppers' three best AL players—who all happen to be Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers may have a slight edge over the Boston Red Sox as they prepare to face off in the best-of-seven series beginning in Boston.
The Tigers were No. 1 in Box-Toppers Team Rankings at the close of the season with 123.4 Box-Toppers points. The Red Sox ranked fourth overall (second in the AL) with 121.7 points. However, the Red Sox had the better actual winning percentage (.599 vs. .574), giving them home-field advantage for the series. The Red Sox were tied for the best win-loss record in baseball. The Tigers had the sixth-best record—third in the AL, behind the Red Sox and Athletics.
The Tigers beat the Athletics in the American League Division series, three games to two. The Athletics had 115.3 Box-Toppers points for the season, ranked eighth overall. The Red Sox beat the Rays in their ALDS, three games to one. The Rays had 119.1 Box-Toppers points, ranked fifth.
The Tigers have the top three AL players in Box-Toppers points for the season:
- Pitcher Max Scherzer has 18.1 Box-Toppers points and is ranked fifth among all Major League players (see the Player Rankings Top 10 list on the home page).
- Pitcher Anibal Sanchez has 17.1 Box-Toppers points and is ranked seventh among all players.
- Third baseman Miguel Cabrera has 16.9 Box-Toppers points, leads among all Major League batters and is the only batter in the Player Rankings Top 10, in eighth place overall.
The Red Sox top player in Box-Toppers rankings is pitcher Jon Lester with 12.7 Box-Toppers points, ranked 34th overall. Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has 12.4 Box-Toppers points and is ranked 36th overall, fifth among all AL batters.
Below are position-by-position match-ups of each player likely in the starting line-up for both teams, along with the four most likely starting pitchers, the team's top closer and an extra pitcher. Also listed are each player's Box-Toppers points earned in 2013, along with their overall rank among players for the season.
If you simply add together the Box-Toppers points of these 15 key players from each team, the Tigers have 104 points and the Red Sox 97.2.
If you compare them position-by-position, the Tigers also have more players with higher Box-Toppers points totals. The Tigers have the edge in eight positions, the Red Sox in seven.
The Red Sox have more highly ranked batters than the Tigers. In a position-by-position match-up of the starting nine, the Red Sox have Box-Toppers-superior players in six positions, the Tigers in three (though one of the three is at third base, where Miguel Cabrera beats Will Middlebrooks 16.9 Box-Toppers points to 1.0).
The Tigers dominate pitching match-ups in each category except closer, where Red Sox pitcher Koji Uehara has 6.0 Box-Toppers point while Tigers pitcher Joaquin Benoit has 1.0.
Coming Saturday: Here is the pitching match-up for Game 1 of the AL Championship Series:
ALCS Game 1, Tigers at Red Sox
Tigers: Anibal Sanchez, 17.1 Box-Toppers points, ranked seventh overall (see the Top 10 Player ranking list on the home page)
Red Sox: Jon Lester, 12.7 Box-Toppers points, ranked 34th overall
In regular season games, 2.0 Box-Toppers points are awarded for Player of the Day, 1.7 for top player in the opposite league, 1.5 for top batter in each league and 1.0 for the top player in each of the other games. However, no Box-Toppers points are awarded during the postseason.
AL Championship Series player comparisons
Likely starting players for the Red Sox and Tigers listed by position with their Box-Toppers point total (BTP) for the 2013 regular season and their overall player rank among all players
|1B||Mike Napoli||5.0||170||Prince Fielder||8.5||78|
|2B||Dustin Pedroia||3.5||286||Omar Infante||4.5||221|
|SS||Stephen Drew||6.0||143||Jhonny Peralta||3.0||347|
|3B||Will Middlebrooks||1.0||573||Miguel Cabrera||16.9||8|
|CA||Jarod Saltalamacchia||4.5||228||Alex Avila||3.0||334|
|CF||Jacob Ellsbury||5.5||161||Austin Jackson||1.0||576|
|LF||Jonny Gomes||6.0||156||Don Kelly||0.0||885|
|RF||Shane Victorino||4.5||224||Torii Hunter||4.0||248|
|DH||David Ortiz||12.4||36||Victor Martinez||4.2||235|
|SP||Jon Lester||12.7||34||Max Scherzer||18.1||5|
|SP||Clay Buchholz||11.1||41||Anibal Sanchez||17.1||7|
|SP||Jake Peavy||8.0||84||Justin Verlander||10.0||53|
|SP||John Lackey||6.0||148||Doug Fister||6.7||113|
|CP||Koji Uehara||6.0||149||Joaquin Benoit||1.0||628|
|PI||Felix Doubront||5.0||179||Rick Porcello||6.0||139|