Detroit Tigers top final Box-Toppers Team Power Rankings, but race at top is tight

The Detroit Tigers are the top team in the final Box-Toppers Team Power Rankings report for the 2013 season.

However, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the second-ranked team (and top National League team) are only 0.7 Box-Toppers points behind the Tigers. In fact, the top four teams in the rankings are less than 2.0 Box-Toppers points apart. In other words, it is pretty tight, pretty close at the top.  

Tigers players have accumulated 123.4 Box-Toppers points to lead for the second straight week  and the Dodgers have 122.7 points. The third-place St. Louis Cardinals (122.4) are only 0.3 behind the Dodgers and the fourth-place Boston Red Sox (121.7) are only 0.7 behind the Cardinals.

All 30 teams are listed in this final report to provide a sense of how each team finished (sorry to fans in Houston and Chicago). 

The hottest team since the last Box-Toppers team rankings report (on Sept. 19) is the Cleveland Indians, picking up 12.1 Box-Toppers points and rising from ninth to sixth in rankings with 117.0 points. 

The hottest National League team since the last report is the Atlanta Braves, picking up 9.5 Box-Toppers points. However, they remain in 11th place with 111.0 points. 

The teams with the best actual winning percentages are the Red Sox and the Cardinals (both at .599, both win 97 wins). The Cardinals are in third in Box-Toppers points and the Red Sox are in fourth. Box-Toppers' top team, the Tigers, have the sixth-best record in baseball (.573). The Dodgers, in second in Box-Toppers rankings, are tied for the seventh-best record (.568).

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers, which are playing an extra regular season game Monday to determine the second AL wild card team, are both in the top 10 in team rankings. One team will earn 2.0 Box-Toppers Monday but that won't change their final ranking—they are both more than 2.0 points behind the team ahead of them in the rankings list. The Rays are in sixth with 117.1 points and the Rangers are in ninth with 113.0 points.

So can Box-Toppers team rankings determine who will win in the playoffs and World Series? Not necessarily. Last year, the top team in Box-Toppers rankings was the Dodgers—and they didn't even make the playoffs. (They got their points by acquiring players in mid-season, nearly all of whom failed to perform up to expectations with the Dodgers.) 

But based on simple rankings, it appears Box-Toppers would predict the Red Sox facing the Tigers in the AL Championship Series and Cardinals facing the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series. And then, the Tigers would defeat the Dodgers in the World Series. 

But based on the teams that are hottest going into the playoffs, the teams with the most Box-Toppers points in the last 10 days would have the advantage. Using that logic, the Braves would beat the Cardinals in the NLCS and the Indians would beat the Athletics in the ALCS. In the World Series, the Indians, with 12.1 Box-Toppers points since Sept. 19, would defeat the Braves, with 9.5 points in that period.

In the preseason, Box-Toppers picked the Dodgers as World Series champions—which is still a possibility. However, Box-Toppers pre-season pick for AL champion, the Toronto Blue Jays, finished last in the AL East (and 22nd in Box-Toppers Team Power Rankings). Still, three of the four LCS pre-season picks are still alive—Tigers, Dodgers and Reds. But on the other hand, only four of the 10 teams Box-Toppers picked in preseason to qualify for the playoffs are still alive—the previous three plus the Braves.

The Houston Astros consistently brought up the rear in Box-Toppers team standings. They finished with 48.9 Box-Toppers points. Normally, teams should expect to earn at least 1.0 Box-Toppers point for each win, but the Astros had more wins than Box-Toppers points—51 wins vs. 48.9 Box-Toppers points because they traded away players who helped earn their points (notably closing pitcher Jose Veras to the Tigers).

The Astros finished 13.3 Box-Toppers points behind the 29th ranked team, the Cubs. That's the largest point gap between teams on the power rankings list. And fittingly, the Astros scored 0.0 Box-Toppers points since Sept. 19, the fewest of any of the 30 teams.

Both Chicago teams finished 28th (White Sox) and 29th (Cubs) on the list. The White Sox had a worse winning percentage (.389 vs. .407) but they finished ahead of the Cubs in Box-Toppers points (63.9 vs. 62.2). If you combined the Box-Toppers points for both Chicago teams, they could just scrape together enough points to pass the first-place Tigers (126.1 vs. 123.4). 

Box-Toppers team power rankings graphic.png

Final rankings

Through Monday, Sept. 29. Final rankings, except for one final game Sept. 30

929TeamsBTPBTP/wkLast week rank
4Red Sox121.74.53
22Blue Jays83.64.020
28White Sox63.93.028

BTP: Box-Toppers points total. Accumulated points of all players on team in 2013 season.

BTP/wk: Box-Toppers points for the team from Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 29.