Box-Toppers' big dippers—players whose 2015 point total declined most from 2014

Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, out much of 2015 with injury, had the biggest Box-Toppers point total decline of any player from 2014 to 2015.

Big dippers

Here are players whose Box-Toppers point total declined most from 2014 to 2015. Some were out all or much of the 2015 season with injury, such as overall leader Adam Wainwright. Some had stellar 2014 seasons and simply didn’t match that performance in 2015, such as Jose Abreu and Corey Kluber. Some, such as Josh Beckett, simply retired and did not play in 2015. Players are listed in order of their Box-Toppers point decline. Their Box-Toppers points (BTP) for 2015 are also shown.

Player Pos Team Dip BTP
1 Wainwright, Adam 2150 pi sp stl nl -15.7 3.0
2 Abreu, Jose 3308 1b chi al -12.5 3.0
3 Darvish, Yu 3003 pi sp tex al -12.4
4 Fister, Doug 2688 pi sp dc nl -12.4 2.0
5 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al -12.4 13.4
6 Alvarez, Henderson 2951 pi sp fla nl -11.7
7 Cobb, Alex 2916 pi sp tb al -11.7
8 Ryu, Hyun-Jin 3139 pi sp lad nl -11.4
9 Stroman, Marcus 3327 pi sp tor al -11.0 2.7
10 Hughes, Phil 2272 pi sp min al -10.1 4.0
11 Cishek, Steve 2997 pi cp stl nl -10.0 1.0
12 Collmenter, Josh 2863 pi sp mr ari nl -10.0 3.0
13 Norris, Bud 2638 pi sp sd nl -9.7 1.0
14 Cueto, Johnny 2400 pi sp kc al -9.6 12.8
15 Roark, Tanner 3261 pi sp dc nl -9.0 1.0
16 Zimmermann, Jordan 2612 pi sp dc nl -8.0 7.0
17 Cabrera, Miguel 1776 1b det al -7.8 4.7
18 Beckett, Josh 1544 pi sp retired -7.7
19 Wheeler, Zack 3204 pi sp nym nl -7.7
20 Buehrle, Mark 1407 pi sp tor al -7.7 2.0
21 Smyly, Drew 3009 pi sp tb al -7.4 6.0
22 Lohse, Kyle 1487 pi sp cp mil nl -7.1 4.0
23 Skaggs, Tyler 3183 pi sp ana al -7.0
24 Mesoraco, Devin 3037 ca cin nl -7.0
25 Doolittle, Sean 3052 pi cp oak al -7.0 1.0
26 Carter, Chris 2828 dh hou al -7.0 1.0
Dip: Decline in Box-Toppers point total from 2014 to 2015.
BTP: Box-Toppers points for 2015 season.
What are those numbers after players' names?

Wainwright’s Box-Toppers point total declined by 15.7 in 2015. He earned 18.7 points in 2014, fourth among NL pitchers, but suffered and Achilles tendon rupture in April after earning 3.0 points in 2015. He was out much of the season, but did return in September, though earned no more Box-Toppers points.

Many of the players on Box-Toppers “big dipper” list of players with significant point declines also were out much or all of 2015 with injury.

Among the top 10 players who missed significant time with injury:

  • Yu Darvish had Tommy John surgery in March.
  • Henderson Alvarez had shoulder surgery in July.
  • Alex Cobb had Tommy John surgery in April.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu had shoulder surgery.
  • Marcus Stroman had surgery to repair an ACL tear, but returned and earned his 2.7 Box-Toppers points in late September.

Other players put up significant numbers in 2014 and did not match that performance in 2015:

  • Jose Abreu of the White Sox was Box-Toppers top-ranked batter in 2014 with 15.5 Box-Toppers points. He was also Box-Toppers top rookie and won American League Rookie of the Year honors. But in 2015, he earned only 3.0 Box-Toppers points, despite putting up similar numbers as he did in 2014 (30 HR vs. 36 in 2014, 101 RBI vs. 107 in 2014). Abreu’s dip of 12.5 points ranks first among AL players, first among batters and second among all players.
  • Indians pitcher Corey Kluber had the fifth-biggest dip in points among all players of 12.4. In 2014, Kluber earned 25.8 Box-Toppers points, leading all AL players and winning the AL Cy Young Award. His 25.8 points are tied for the 18th-highest single-season Box-Toppers point total since 1995, when record keeping began. In 2015, Kluber had a very respectable Box-Toppers point total of 13.4, ranked 10th among AL pitchers. But still his dip from 2014 ranks fifth among all players.
  • Royals pitcher Johnny Cueto had the 14th-biggest dip in points, falling 9.6 points. In 2014, he had 22.4 Box-Toppers points with the Reds, ranking third among NL pitchers. But in 2015, he had 12.8 Box-Toppers points between the Reds and the Royals, a dip of 9.6 points. Still, Cueto finished the season ranked 13th among AL pitchers in Box-Toppers points.
  • Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, perennially a candidate for AL MVP, fell by 7.8 points in 2015. In 2014, he had 12.5 points, ranked second among AL batters. But in 2015, in a year in which the Tigers were down and Cabrera played in only about three-fourths of the games, he had only 4.7 points.
  • Retired pitcher Josh Beckett finished 18th on the list. He had 7.7 Box-Toppers points in 2014 with the Dodgers, but having retired, earned no points in 2015. 

While it is somewhat of a dubious honor to be included on the list of big dippers, it is does indicate that a player did have a very good previous season and likely has the capacity to earn big Box-Toppers point totals again—but they were just having a down year. The taller they are, the farther they fall.

About Box-Toppers—Box-Toppers points are a measure of how much a player provides key contributions to his team’s wins. Specifically, 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.

(Editor’s note: In the chart are references to teams “ana al” and “fla nl,” referring to the Angels and the Marlins. We realize those teams are now known as Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) and the Miami Marlins, but we keep the old abbreviations around since those name changes were largely for marketing or political purposes and involved no substantial change in the actual geography of the team. Plus, change is hard.)