A look at Box-Toppers 'all-time' top 100 players

In the midst of the long All-Star break, here is a look at the top 100 players since Box-Toppers record-keeping began in 1995: 

Randy Johnson has always been Box-Toppers' most dominant player. 

Until he retired in 2009, he was consistently earning Box-Toppers Player of the Day honors by being the player who most helped his team to wins by pitching a lot of innings and striking out a lot of batters. 

And even in retirement, Johnson with 278.8 Box-Toppers points, continues to dominate the "all-time" Box-Toppers list, with only one distant challenger, starting pitcher Pedro Martinez (also retired) with 244.8 points.

All other players are at least 84.7 Box-Toppers points behind Johnson (pitcher Curt Schilling, in third place, has 194.1 points). Earning 84.7 points for any single player would be a major career achievement, worthy of landing them on the "all-time" top 100 Box-Toppers list. (We put "all-time" in quotes, since we're not covering all of baseball history, but only the time since 1995 when Box-Toppers stats have been tracked.)

In the top 100 "all-time" chart, you'll see that 95 of the top 100 players have 84.7 or more career Box-Toppers points. If the player ranked in 19th place all time, Andy Pettitte, doubled his already impressive career Box-Toppers points total of 137.5, he still would not have enough points to catch Johnson. 

So what we're saying here is this: Randy Johnson—good. Very good. 

Alex Rodriguez is the batter with the highest Box-Toppers total on the "all-time" list with 176.3 points, fourth place overall. He is also the current leader among active players.

Rodriguez's Yankees teammate, C.C. Sabathia recently took over as the leader among active pitchers—he has 172.3 points (fifth place overall) and this season passed Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay with 170.7 points. Sabathia is also not far behind Rodriguez and could take the outright lead among all active players on the "all-time" list this season.

There are five active players in the "all-time" top 10 list, but not all of them can be considered extremely active. Rodriguez has been out all season and is preparing to come back from injury (and is under a cloud of suspicion that may get him suspended under baseball's performance enhancing drug policy). Halladay is out, perhaps for the season, rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Manny Ramirez (167.2 points, seventh place) is attempting a comeback and is in the minor leagues with the Texas Rangers. And Johan Santana (166.6 points, eighth place) is out for the season with injury and may be unable to return to pitch

Albert Pujols is two or three Player of the Game honors away from joining the top 10. He is in 11th place with 158.3 points, behind John Smoltz with 160.9 points. However, Pujols has only 2.5 Box-Toppers points this season at the All-Star break—if he doubles his season total, he won't reach Smoltz. 

There are 48 active players on the top 100 list (that number includes players such as Ramirez, who are in the minor leagues, or Halladay, on the disabled list). All other players are either listed as "free agents," (who either hope to come back to baseball or haven't said they are retired) are playing outside the Major Leagues (in Japan or an independent league) or have retired. Recent retirees (such as Derek Lowe, who told a reporter Thursday he is retired) are listed as "retired" in their team status in the top 100 list. Players with a blank team status retired in 2012 or earlier.

There are 16 players in the top 100 "all-time" list who are also in the top 100 list for 2013. They are all listed in the chart at the bottom of this post. They include:

  • Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers: 37th in all-time list with 112.2 points, 3rd in 2013 list with 13.4 points.
  • Clayton Kershaw, PI, Dodgers, 73rd in all-time list with 93.1 points, 5th in 2013 list with 12.7. 
  • Sabathia, PI, Yankees, 5th in the all-time list with 172.3 points, 94th in 2013 list with 4.7.

Pitchers narrowly outnumber batters in the "all-time" top 100 list. There are 53 pitchers vs. 47 batters on the list. However, in the top 100 list for 2013, pitchers far outnumbered batters—74 to 26. Why? It could be because pitchers burst onto the scene and tend to be very productive for a shorter period of time, while batters, while scoring relatively less in the short term, keep that level of production over a longer time and tend to catch up to pitchers' higher point totals. That's just a theory. But here is the breakdown of players on the "all-time" list by their primary position: 

  • Starting pitchers: 49
  • Outfielders: 17
  • Designated hitters: 12
  • Third basemen: 9
  • First basemen: 7
  • Closing pitchers: 4
  • Second basemen: 1 (Jeff Kent)
  • Catchers: 1 (Mike Piazza)
  • Shortstops: 0

Keep in mind that these are only statistics since 1995. For many players who debuted before then (such as Johnson, Martinez, Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux), their career Box-Toppers totals would likely be far higher if the years before 1995 were accounted for. On the other hand, for a player like Chipper Jones (ranked 15th), Box-Toppers covers virtually his entire career—he only played in eight games before 1995, so Box-Toppers covers 2,491 games of his 2,499-game career. 

If you note how the names are listed in the chart—some all lowercase, some properly capitalized, some with numbers after them—you might cringe at the inconsistencies if you were a copy editor. But there is an unintentional method to this madness. In early days of keeping the Box-Toppers database from 1995 to 1997, names were inputted quickly, often with no capitalization—Box-Toppers' e.e. cummings phase, if you will. In about 1997, names were pretty consistently properly capitalized. And in 1998, numbers were added at the ends of names to denote their order of first appearance in the Box-Toppers database (the first time they earned Player of the Game).

So today, when you see player names like "rivera, mariano," (now ranked 26th) you'll know that Rivera first appeared early in Box-Toppers history (in his case, the first year, 1995). "Ortiz, David," (properly capitalized) made his Box-Toppers debut in 1997 (now ranked 27th). And "Helton, Todd 1060," was one of the first players with the debut order number appended, when he first appeared in 1998 (now ranked 32nd).

While many notable players from the past 20 years appear on the top 100 list, others did not earn enough Box-Toppers points to make the cut. A couple of notables: 

  • Mark McGwire had 77.3 points, in 112th place.
  • Derek Jeter has 76.4 points, in 118th place. 

Box-Toppers points reward players who most help their team win the most games. Top players from the winning team of each game are determined by a formula using standard box score statistics. These top players earn 1.0 Box-Toppers point for being Player of the Game. Among each day's top players, bonus points are awarded for the top players and batters of the day in each league. Players accumulate points through the season to provide a data point for comparison, such as determining which players are most worthy as All-Stars or for postseason awards. 

What are those numbers after players' names?

How does Box-Toppers scoring work? 


Box-Toppers player rankings graphic.png

Top 100 players since 1995

1Johnson, randypi sp 278.8 
2Martinez, Pedro J.pi sp 244.8 
3schilling, curtpi sp 194.1 
4Rodriguez, Alex3b dhnyy al176.3 
5Sabathia, C.C. 1492pi spnyy al172.34.7
6Halladay, Roy 1178pi spphi nl170.71.0
7Ramirez, mannylf dhtex al167.2 
8Santana, Johan 1448pi spnym nl166.6 
9clemens, rogerpi sp 164.8 
10smoltz, johnpi sp 160.9 
11Pujols, Albert 1438dh 1bana al158.32.5
12mussina, Mikepi sp 155.6 
13bonds, barrylf 153.2 
14maddux, gregpi sp 151.7 
15jones, chipper3bretired149.0 
16Vazquez, Javier 1146pi sp 148.3 
17thome, jimdhfree agent146.7 
18Hudson, Tim 1231pi spatl nl143.35.7
19pettitte, andypi spnyy al137.53.0
20giambi, jasondhcle al131.41.5
21hoffman, trevorpi cp 129.4 
22Guerrero, Vladimirdhindy league128.3 
23Oswalt, Roy 1469pi spcol nl127.2 
24Peavy, Jake 1635pi spchi al124.16.0
25sheffield, garylf 124.1 
26rivera, marianopi cpnyy al122.41.0
27Ortiz, Daviddhbos al122.28.2
28Hernandez, Felix 2064pi spsea al118.110.4
29Delgado, Carlos1b 117.7 
30Zito, Barry 1415pi spsf nl117.43.0
31Colon, Bartolopi spoak al116.36.7
32Helton, Todd 10601bcol nl114.9 
33Carpenter, Chrispi spstl nl113.3 
34sosa, sammyrf 113.2 
35Lee, Cliff 1798pi spphi nl113.19.4
36brown, kevin j.pi sp 112.8 
37Cabrera, Miguel 17763bdet al112.213.4
38Verlander, Justin 2112pi spdet al112.28.0
39glavine, tompi sp 110.6 
40kent, jeff2b 109.7 
41Wagner, Billypi cp 108.7 
42Millwood, Kevinpi spretired108.3 
43Berkman, Lance 1261dh rftex al108.11.0
44Beckett, Josh 1544pi splad nl107.2 
45Burnett, A.J. 1300pi sppit nl107.13.7
46thomas, frankdh 106.2 
47moyer, jamiepi sp 104.0 
48Weaver, Jered 2178pi spana al103.04.0
49Tejada, Miguel3b sskc al102.3 
50griffey, ken jr.cf 102.2 
51wakefield, timpi sp 101.4 
52schmidt, jasonpi sp 101.2 
53Greinke, Zack 1871pi splad nl100.510.7
54bagwell, jeff1b 100.4 
55walker, larryrf 100.1 
56Konerko, Paul 1107dh 1bchi al99.71.0
57Hunter, Torii 1190rfdet al99.41.0
58edmonds, jimcf rf ph 98.8 
59Buehrle, Mark 1407pi sptor al98.33.7
60Rolen, Scott3bfree agent97.6 
61Jones, Andruwdh lf phjapan96.5 
62Wolf, Randy 1235pi spfree agent96.4 
63Lincecum, Tim 2288pi spsf nl95.95.7
64piazza, mikeca 95.7 
65Abreu, Bobbydhfree agent95.5 
66nomo, hideopi sp 95.5 
67Ordonez, Maggliorf 94.5 
68Dempster, Ryan 1109pi spbos al94.23.0
69williams, bernierf 93.8 
70Hamels, Cole 2135pi spphi nl93.75.7
71Beltran, Carlos 1194rfstl nl93.41.5
72Lilly, Ted 1452pi splad nl93.3 
73Kershaw, Clayton 2494pi splad nl93.112.7
74giles, brianrf 92.5 
75Wood, Kerrypi sp cp 92.4 
76Ramirez, Aramis 13643bmil nl92.3 
77Cain, Matt 2081pi spsf nl92.04.0
78Glaus, Troy 11323b 91.6 
79Haren, Danny 1787pi spdc nl91.51.7
80Lowe, Derekpi spretired91.51.0
81Dunn, Adam 1512dh 1bchi al90.84.2
82Ibanez, Raul 1137lf dhsea al89.72.0
83Teixeira, Mark 17381bnyy al87.81.5
84alou, moiseslf 87.5 
85belle, albertrf 87.5 
86wells, davidpi sp 87.5 
87castilla, vinny3b 86.9 
88Beltre, Adrian 11413btex al86.65.7
89anderson, garretdh lf 86.5 
90leiter, alpi sp 86.2 
91Lester, Jon 2173pi spbos al85.75.7
92Lee, Carlos 1246lfretired85.5 
93Lackey, John 1640pi spbos al85.44.0
94Zambrano, Carlos 1676pi spphi nl85.2 
95radke, bradpi sp 85.0 
96Howard, Ryan 20401bphi nl84.03.5
97Martinez, Tino1b 81.4 
98Lee, Derrek1bfree agent81.3 
99percival, troypi cp 80.7 
100Holliday, Matt 1836lfstl nl80.34.0

BTP (All-time): Box-Toppers points accumulated since 1995, when this stat-keeping method began. 

BTP 2013: Box-Toppers points for the 2013 season. 

Note: The team column shows a player's current team status. Active players are listed on either their current MLB team or where they are currently playing (i.e. Japan or an independent league). Other players are listed as "free agent" or "retired." Players who have retired in 2012 or before are listed with no team affiliation. 

Overlapping players

Players on both the Top 100 list since 1995 and Top 100 of 2013

PLAYERPOSTEAMBTP (All-time)RANK (All-time)BTP (2013)RANK (2013)
Cabrera, Miguel 17763bdet al112.23713.43
Kershaw, Clayton 2494pi splad nl93.17312.75
Greinke, Zack 1871pi splad nl100.55310.712
Hernandez, Felix 2064pi spsea al118.12810.413
Lee, Cliff 1798pi spphi nl113.1359.422
Ortiz, Daviddhbos al122.2278.225
Verlander, Justin 2112pi spdet al112.2388.026
Colon, Bartolopi spoak al116.3316.740
Peavy, Jake 1635pi spchi al124.1246.053
Hamels, Cole 2135pi spphi nl93.7705.764
Beltre, Adrian 11413btex al86.6885.765
Lincecum, Tim 2288pi spsf nl95.9635.766
Hudson, Tim 1231pi spatl nl143.3185.768
Lester, Jon 2173pi spbos al85.7915.770
Sabathia, C.C. 1492pi spnyy al172.354.794

BTP: Box-Toppers points