NLCS Preview: Cubs have more Box-Toppers points, All-Stars, but comparing player-by-player, Mets may have an edge

The Chicago Cubs have a higher Box-Toppers team ranking than the New York Mets as they prepare to meet in the National League Championship series.

The Cubs also have three players who will be on Box-Toppers year-end NL All-Star team, while the Mets only have one.

The Cubs also have Box-Toppers Player of the Year, pitcher Jake Arrieta, who earned 29.1 Box-Toppers points in 2015, the eighth-highest single-season total since 1995.

So, in other words, the Cubs should win the best-of-seven series that starts in New York Saturday?

Maybe not.

When matched up position-by-position and each players’ Box-Toppers point total is compared, Mets players may have an edge. Of the eight starting batters, Cubs have the higher Box-Toppers point totals in four positions, while Mets batters have higher totals in the four others. Matching up the top four starting pitchers from highest-to-lowest Box-Toppers point totals, Cubs pitchers have more points in two spots and in the other two spots, Mets pitchers prevail. But comparing closers and other pitchers, Mets pitchers have the edge.

So, if you match up 14 of the key roster players against each other, the Mets have higher Box-Toppers scores eight times, while the Cubs hold the advantage six times.

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

The Cubs accumulated more Box-Toppers points during the regular season than the Mets—127.4 to 122.0. The Cubs ranked third in Box-Toppers team rankings, behind the Pittsburgh Pirates (129.6) and the Kansas City Royals (127.5). The Mets ranked seventh.

The Cubs will have three players on Box-Toppers year end NL All-Star team:

  • Shortstop Starlin Castro, 4.5 Box-Toppers points. (Castro now starts at second base, but when he earned Player of the Game honors, he primarily played shortstop and ranked ahead of all other NL shortstops.)
  • Catcher Miguel Montero, 5.5 Box-Toppers points.
  • Pitcher Jake Arrieta, 29.1 Box-Toppers points. 

The Mets will have one player on Box-Toppers NL All-Star team: Pitcher Jacob deGrom, 22.4 Box-Toppers points.

While in the one-to-one matchup below, the Mets players have higher Box-Toppers point totals in eight of the 14 instances, when all Box-Toppers points are added together, the Cubs still have the advantage. The 14 Cubs below have a combined Box-Toppers point total of 103.0, while the 14 Mets have 98.3.

Also, it is only the second time in postseason history that two clubs with four-letter team names have faced each other. The other time was the 1973 NL Championship Series when the New York Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds three games to two.

NLCS Game 1, Cubs at Mets

The pitching match-up Saturday:

Cubs—Jon Lester, 12.0 Box-Toppers points, ranked 28th among all players, 13th among NL pitchers.

Mets—Matt Harvey, 15.4 Box-Toppers points, ranked 16th among all players, eighth among NL 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.

NL Championship Series player comparisons

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

Pos Cubs BTP Rank Mets BTP Rank
1B Anthony Rizzo 8.5 68 Lucas Duda 2.5 377
2B Starlin Castro 4.5 219 Daniel Murphy 1.5 504
SS Javier Baez 0.0 826 Wilmer Flores 2.5 385
3B Kris Bryant 8.5 71 David Wright 1.5 502
CA Miguel Montero 5.5 166 Travis d’Arnaud 2.5 381
CF Dexter Fowler 2.5 388 Kirk Nieuwenhuis 4.0 248
LF Kyle Schwarber 5.0 200 Yoenis Cespedes 10.9 37
RF Jorge Soler 3.2 306 Curtis Granderson 4.0 246
SP Jake Arrieta 29.1 1 Jacob deGrom 22.4 3
SP Jon Lester 12.0 28 Matt Harvey 15.4 16
SP Jason Hammel 9.7 52 Noah Syndergaard 10.4 41
SP Kyle Hendricks 9.7 54 Bartolo Colon 6.7 113
CP Hector Rondon 2.0 438 Jeurys Familia 8.0 88
PI Travis Wood 3.0 91 Jon Niese 6.0 146