ALCS Preview: Blue Jays may have edge with bats, Price; but Royals may have overall pitching edge

The Toronto Blue Jays have the offensive edge over the Kansas City Royals in the upcoming American League Championship Series. Plus, they have the dominant ace pitcher in David Price. 

But the Royals have the overall edge in pitching staffs and earned more team Box-Toppers points than the Blue Jays during the regular season.

The best-of-seven game ALCS begins Friday in Kansas City.

Below are position-by-position match-ups of each player likely in the starting line-ups for both teams, along with the highest-rated starting pitchers in Box-Toppers points, the top active closing pitcher and the top extra active pitcher. Also listed are each player’s Box-Toppers points earned in 2015, along with their overall rank among all players.

The Blue Jays have two players who will be on Box-Toppers year-end 2015 AL All-Star team. The Royals have none. Here are the Blue Jays All-Stars:

  • Right fielder Jose Bautista, who had 10.0 Box-Toppers points, ranked second among AL outfielders.
  • Starting pitcher David Price, who had 21.1 Box-Toppers points, ranked second among AL pitchers.

When matching starting batters for the two teams, the Blue Jays have the Box-Toppers points advantage, 6-3. But when matching up pitchers, Price is the only Blue Jays player who holds the advantage over the Royals pitchers. The Royals hold the advantage with the second- through fourth-ranked starters and also have the slight advantage in closing pitcher and the extra pitcher.

The Royals hold the advantage in Box-Toppers team rankings. With 127.5 Box-Toppers points in 2015, the Royals ranked second among all teams (behind only the Pittsburgh Pirates) and first among AL teams. The Blue Jays ranked fifth among all teams, second among AL teams, with 124.1.

However, the Royals are missing two players who contributed to their season point total. Closing pitcher Greg Holland, who had 8.0 Box-Toppers points, second among AL closers, is injured and second baseman Omar Infante with 5.2 points, isnot on the roster. The Blue Jays left one key player who contributed greatly to their season Box-Toppers team point total—starting pitcher Drew Hutchison with 9.0 Box-Toppers points.

If you add the prospective starters Box-Toppers points in the chart below, the Blue Jays have a slight advantage—99.1 points vs. 95.1.

ALCS Game 1, Blue Jays at Royals

The pitching match-up Friday:

Blue Jays—Marco Estrada, 8.0 Box-Toppers points, 85th among all players, 34th among AL pitchers.

Royals—Edinson Volquez, 7.0 Box-Toppers points, 105th among all players, 39th among AL pitchers.

About Box-Toppers—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.

AL Championship Series player comparisons

Likely starting players for the Blue Jays and Royals listed by position with their Box-Toppers point total (BTP) for the 2015 regular season and their overall rank among all players:

Pos Blue Jays BTP Rank Royals BTP Rank
1B Justin Smoak 5.0 192 Eric Hosmer 9.0 62
2B Ryan Goins 4.5 221 Ben Zobrist 1.0 573
SS Troy Tulowitzki 6.0 133 Alcides Escobar 3.5 95
3B Josh Donaldson 9.9 48 Mike Moustakas 7.7 94
CA Russell Martin 5.0 183 Salvador Perez 4.5 211
CF Kevin Pillar 3.5 300 Lorenzo Cain 8.2 74
LF Chris Colabello 2.0 410 Alex Gordon 4.5 217
RF Jose Bautista 10.0 47 Jonny Gomes 4.5 215
DH Edwin Encarnacion 10.4 40 Kendrys Morales 4.7 206
SP David Price 21.1 5 Johnny Cueto 12.8 25
SP Marco Estrada 8.0 85 Yordano Ventura 11.7 30
SP R.A. Dickey 5.0 180 Chris R. Young 8.0 78
SP Marcus Stroman 2.7 368 Edinson Volquez 7.0 105
CP Roberto Osuna 4.0 268 Wade Davis 4.0 235
PI Aaron Sanchez 2.0 361 Danny Duffy 4.0 131