Batters with the most Box-Toppers points tend to hit for power and play on teams that win a lot of games.
The 2014 batting average leaders in both the American and National leagues did neither. Both batting average leaders were largely singles hitters and played on teams that finished well below .500. And as a consequence, neither batting average leader scored many Box-Toppers points in 2014.
Jose Altuve of the Astros led the Major Leagues in batting average at .341, with 225 hits in 660 at bats. However, because 168 of his hits were singles (47 doubles, three triples and seven home runs) and because the Astros won only 70 games this season, Altuve earned Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors only three times. He had 3.5 Box-Toppers points, ranked 291st among all players.
Justin Morneau of the Rockies led NL players in batting average at .319. However, Morneau earned Player of the Game honors only twice and had 3.2 Box-Toppers points for the season, ranked 303rd among all players. Morneau was also primarily a singles hitter (108 of his 160 hits) and was on a team that didn’t win much—the Rockies had 66 wins. (However, another Rockies player, Troy Tulowitzki, led all NL batters in Box-Toppers points with 11.6—even though he only played in 91 games in 2014.)
The chart below shows the top 10 batting average leaders in the American and National leagues, their Box-Toppers point total and overall rank for 2014.
Players with extra pop (more extra base hits and homers—and therefore, usually more runs batted in) fare better than singles hitters in points. For example, of the 20 players listed below, here are the three players who finished among the top 100 players in Box-Toppers points for 2014:
• Jose Abreu of the White Sox, 15.5 Box-Toppers points, ranked 14th. Abreu ranks fifth among AL batters in average at .317. He led all AL batters in Box-Toppers points in 2014. With 36 home runs, he ranked third among AL players and with 107 RBIs, he ranked fourth.
• Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, 12.5 Box-Toppers points, ranked 28th. Cabrera ranks seventh among AL batters in average at .313. He led the AL in doubles with 52. His 109 RBIs ranks second in the AL. Cabrera also led the AL in batting average three straight years from 2011 to 2013.
• Buster Posey of the Giants, 8.5 Box-Toppers points, ranked 76th. Posey ranks fourth among NL batters in average at .311. He ranked eighth in doubles in the NL (39) and ninth in RBIs in the NL (89). Posey ranked second among all NL batters in Box-Toppers points for 2014.
The player with the fewest Box-Toppers points among the 20 listed below is Adrian Beltre of the Rangers who had none—he did not earn Player of the Game honors even once in 2014. His lack of points is a little unusual, given that he had been a Box-Toppers points leader in both 2012 and 2013:
• In 2012, Beltre led AL batters in Box-Toppers points with 13.5.
• In 2013, Beltre was the third-ranked AL third baseman with 8.4.
Beltre’s batting statistics were not significantly different in 2014, however, the Rangers had far fewer wins—93 in 2012, 91 in 2013 and only 67 in 2014—which reduced the number of opportunities Beltre and all Rangers players had to earn Player of the Game honors.
Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games. Using standard box score statistics, Box-Toppers uses a simple formula to determine a Player of the Game for each Major League Baseball game played. That player is the person who contributed most to his team’s win. In regular season games, players earn 1.0 Box-Toppers point for being named Player of the Game and can earn bonus points for being Player of the Day or top player or batter in their league for the day.
How batting average leaders fared in Box-Toppers points
Here are batting average leaders for the American League (left) and the National League (right) with their Box-Toppers point total (BTP) for the 2014 season and their rank in Box-Toppers points among all players (BTP rank).
|1||Jose Altuve||Astros||2b||.341||3.5||291||Justin Morneau||Rockies||1b||.319||3.2||303|
|2||Victor Martinez||Tigers||dh||.335||5.5||176||Josh Harrison||Pirates||2b 3b||.315||2.0||444|
|3||Michael Brantley||Indians||lf||.327||3.5||283||Andrew McCutchen||Pirates||cf||.314||6.5||137|
|4||Adrian Beltre||Rangers||3b||.324||0.0||733||Buster Posey||Giants||ca||.311||8.5||76|
|5||Jose Abreu||White Sox||1b||.317||15.5||14||Ben Revere||Phillies||cf||.306||3.5||298|
|6||Robinson Cano||Mariners||2b||.314||6.5||135||Denard Span||Nationals||cf||.302||2.5||382|
|7||Miguel Cabrera||Tigers||1b||.313||12.5||28||Jonathan Lucroy||Brewers||ca||.301||6.7||132|
|8||Lorenzo Cain||Royals||cf rf||.301||2.0||421||Yasiel Puig||Dodgers||rf||.296||1.0||593|
|9||Melky Cabrera||Blue Jays||lf||.301||4.0||262||*Corey Dickerson||Rockies||lf cf||.312||6.5||140|
|10||Adam Eaton||White Sox||lf||.300||1.5||493||Jayson Werth||Nationals||rf||.292||3.0||308|
* Corey Dickerson did not have enough at bats to qualify for the batting title. But even when the required minimum number of hitless at bats is added to his total, he still would have the ninth-highest batting average.
More on how 2014 stat leaders fared in Box-Toppers points:
In 2014, batting average leaders had low Box-Toppers point totals. Why? They came from losing teams, did not hit for power and were not often integral in their team’s (few) wins.
Clayton Kershaw had a dominating lead among pitchers in earned run average and a dominating lead in Box-Toppers points. The top three pitchers in ERA in both leagues are among Box-Toppers’ top 10 overall players.
Most home run leaders in 2014 also ranked high among batters in Box-Toppers points.
Wins leaders—Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber—also led their leagues in Box-Toppers points. Also, pitchers like Kershaw and Kluber had more Box-Toppers points than wins, indicating their wins were more sincere and deserved than players whose wins outnumbered their Box-Toppers point total.
In general, more RBIs translate into more Box-Toppers points. But in specific cases, some players among RBI leaders—such as NL leader Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers—were not among Box-Toppers points leaders.
The top four pitchers who led each league in strikeouts were among the Box-Toppers’ top 10 players for 2014.