Marlins' Jose Fernandez leads all players in Box-Toppers points—does he have a shot at Cy Young? Probably not

With only two weeks left in the season, Box-Toppers has a new leader atop player standings—rookie Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. 

Fernandez, who has 19.0 Box-Toppers points this season, passed last week's leader, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who has 18.7 points and is in second place. 

But Fernandez' days atop player rankings may be numbered. He made what was expected to be his final start of the season this week, in part to protect his young arm and also because the Marlins are not in the playoff hunt.

The race for the not-at-all coveted top spot in Box-Toppers player rankings is a tight one. Any one of the top 10 players, who are within 2.9 Box-Toppers points of the lead, could rise and claim it. Nine of the top 10 players are pitchers and could have two or three starts left in the season, giving them plenty of opportunity to pick up 3.0 or more Box-Toppers points to claim the top spot.

The race for top National League pitcher is extremely tight, with Fernandez currently narrowly leading the way. The top four players are all National League pitchers and are only 1.6 points apart. So, for example, if Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin were to earn at least NL Player of the Day honors in his next start, he would earn 1.7 points and have 19.1 for the season, enough to pass Fernandez.

The top American League player remains Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. The third baseman—the sole batter among the top 10—has 16.9 Box-Toppers points and is in fifth place overall. Though other AL pitchers could challenge him for overall top AL player in Box-Toppers points, his lead among AL batters seems secure—he leads second-place player Alfonso Soriano of the Yankees (12.9) by 4.0 Box-Toppers points.

The top American League pitcher remains Justin Masterson of the Indians with 16.4 Box-Toppers points. He falls from seventh to eight place overall. Masterson continues to lead AL pitchers despite not scoring a Box-Toppers point since July 27. 

Still, he has maintained a narrow lead among AL pitchers of 1.3 points or less since then. In other words, Masterson is not exactly on fire and no other AL pitchers seem eager to steal his crown from him. (Masterson has been injured recently but hopes to return to pitching before the end of the season.) 

Masterson's lead among AL pitchers does appear shaky, with five other pitchers within 1.5 Box-Toppers points of catching him with two weeks left. 

Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks continues to lead among NL batters with 12.7 Box-Toppers points. There are three players who trail him by fewer than 2.0 Box-Toppers points. Freddie Freeman of the Braves and Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies, both of whom have 11.5 Box-Toppers points and both of whom have been hot recently, seem to have the best shot of catching Goldschmidt.

Now: Would any of these leaders in Box-Toppers points categories have any shot at all of winning actual coveted postseason awards? 

For example, if Fernandez keeps his lead among NL pitchers, would he be worthy of winning the NL Cy Young Award? Worthy? Yes. Will he get it? Unlikely, since he comes from a non-playoff team and an ignored media market.  It will probably be Kershaw. However, Fernandez should receive more-than-serious consideration for NL Rookie of the Year.

Will Justin Masterson win the AL Cy Young if he keeps his lead? No, probably not. Though Box-Toppers credits him with being most responsible for bringing his teams wins more often, I don't think he is viewed as The One for the Indians. Plus, the Tigers have overshadowed the Indians in the AL Central and their pitchers, especially Max Scherzer who has 19 wins, have been the media favorites.

Will Cabrera win AL most valuable player? Yes. He should. 

Will Goldschmidt win NL MVP? No. Again, he's playing for a non-playoff team. Freddie Freeman of the Braves, in second in Box-Toppers NL batters list, would be a good candidate, but I think writers will probably pick an "intangible" guy, a leader in the clubhouse, a "spark plug" on the field, a light-hitting catcher or something. Or perhaps even someone like Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers. Though the rookie is a media juggernaut, he earned his 1.5 and only Box-Toppers points of the season on June 4.

Previous player rankings report from Sept. 5

What are those numbers after players' names?

How does Box-Toppers scoring work? 

Box-Toppers player rankings graphic.png

Top players

As of Thursday, Sept. 12

2013 LEADERS   
1Fernandez, Jose 3147pi spfla nl19.0
2Kershaw, Clayton 2494pi splad nl18.7
3Greinke, Zack 1871pi splad nl18.4
4Corbin, Patrick 3027pi spari nl17.4
5Cabrera, Miguel 17763bdet al16.9
6Wainwright, Adam 2150pi spstl nl16.7
7Liriano, Francisco 2104pi sppit nl16.7
8Masterson, Justin 2462pi spcle al16.4
9Sale, Chris 2806pi spchi al16.1
10Sanchez, Anibal 2187pi spdet al16.1
1Masterson, Justin 2462pi spcle al16.4
2Sale, Chris 2806pi spchi al16.1
3Sanchez, Anibal 2187pi spdet al16.1
4Scherzer, Max 2588pi spdet al15.4
5Moore, Matt 2975pi sptb al15.1
6Darvish, Yu 3003pi sptex al15.0
7Hernandez, Felix 2064pi spsea al13.1
8Tillman, Chris 2754pi spbal al12.7
9Iwakuma, Hisashi 3048pi spsea al12.4
10Buchholz, Clay 2363pi spbos al11.1
1Cabrera, Miguel 17763bdet al16.9
2Soriano, Alfonso 1445lfnyy al12.9
3Davis, Chris 24781bbal al12.7
4Cano, Robinson 20922bnyy al12.5
5Ortiz, Daviddhbos al12.4
6Raburn, Ryan 2340rf dh lf phcle al9.5
7Butler, Billy 2330dhkc al9.0
8Encarnacion, Edwin 20981b dhtor al8.7
9Donaldson, Josh 31443boak al8.5
10Beltre, Adrian 11413btex al8.4
1Fernandez, Jose 3147pi spfla nl19.0
2Kershaw, Clayton 2494pi splad nl18.7
3Greinke, Zack 1871pi splad nl18.4
4Corbin, Patrick 3027pi spari nl17.4
5Wainwright, Adam 2150pi spstl nl16.7
6Liriano, Francisco 2104pi sppit nl16.7
7Miller, Shelby 3134pi spstl nl15.4
8Harvey, Matt 3075pi spnym nl15.0
9Bumgarner, Madison 2753pi spsf nl14.7
10Lynn, Lance 2992pi spstl nl14.1
1Goldschmidt, Paul 29351bari nl12.7
2Freeman, Freddie 28871batl nl11.5
3Cuddyer, Michael 1826rfcol nl11.5
4Gonzalez, Carlos 2460lfcol nl11.0
5Venable, Will 2621rf cfsd nl9.0
6Harper, Bryce 3011lfdc nl8.4
7Zimmerman, Ryan 21803bdc nl7.7
8Phillips, Brandon 16912bcin nl7.5
9Carpenter, Matt 29872bstl nl7.5
10Murphy, Daniel 25892bnym nl7.5

BTP: Box-Toppers points for 2013 season