ALCS Preview: Tigers, with 3 best AL players in Box-Toppers rankings, may have slight edge on Red Sox

Box-Toppers playoff preview.png

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

Red SoxBTPRank TigersBTPRank
1BMike Napoli5.0170 Prince Fielder8.578
2BDustin Pedroia3.5286 Omar Infante4.5221
SSStephen Drew6.0143 Jhonny Peralta3.0347
3BWill Middlebrooks1.0573 Miguel Cabrera16.98
CAJarod Saltalamacchia4.5228 Alex Avila3.0334
CFJacob Ellsbury5.5161 Austin Jackson1.0576
LFJonny Gomes6.0156 Don Kelly0.0885
RFShane Victorino4.5224 Torii Hunter4.0248
DHDavid Ortiz12.436 Victor Martinez4.2235
SPJon Lester12.734 Max Scherzer18.15
SPClay Buchholz11.141 Anibal Sanchez17.17
SPJake Peavy8.084 Justin Verlander10.053
SPJohn Lackey6.0148 Doug Fister6.7113
CPKoji Uehara6.0149 Joaquin Benoit1.0628
PIFelix Doubront5.0179 Rick Porcello6.0139