Two players who each finished seventh among batters in their league in Box-Toppers rankings this season won baseball’s 2015 Most Valuable Player Awards.
Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays won the American League award and Bryce Harper of the Nationals won the National League award, though both players finished behind their league’s leading batters in Box-Toppers points—Adrian Beltre of the Rangers in the AL and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies in the NL. (See the charts below for complete MVP voting results and Box-Toppers rankings.) The awards are voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Donaldson received 23 of the 30 first-place votes en route to winning AL MVP. Donaldson ranked seventh among AL batters with 9.9 Box-Toppers points. Donaldson actually ranked third among Blue Jays batters in Box-Toppers points behind Edwin Encarnacion (10.4) and Jose Bautista (10.0). Previously, Donaldson was voted Players Choice Player of the Year and AL Outstanding Player by the players’ union.
Harper won NL MVP on a unanimous vote, picking up all 30 first-place votes. Harper ranked seventh among NL batters with 9.0 Box-Toppers points. Previously, Harper was voted as NL Outstanding Player in the Players’ Choice Awards given by the players’ union.
Beltre, who led AL batters in Box-Toppers points with 12.5, finished seventh in AL MVP voting, with four writers giving him votes as high as fourth place. But Gonzalez, who led NL batters in Box-Toppers points with 11.5, was not among the 20 NL players receiving votes for MVP.
It was a down year for batters in both leagues in Box-Toppers points. The leaders in both leagues had the lowest Box-Toppers point total to league their leagues in batting in 21 years of Box-Toppers record keeping.
Beltre’s 12.5 points were tied for the lowest point total to lead AL batters in a season. In 2008, Aubrey Huff of the Orioles also led AL batters with 12.5 points. Beltre also led AL batters in 2012 with 13.0 points, the third-lowest total to lead AL batters in a season.
In the NL, Gonzalez’s 11.5 Box-Toppers points is the lowest point total to lead any single season category since Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995. The previous low was in 2014, when Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies led NL batters with 11.6 points.
Box-Toppers points also have not always been an effective bellwether in determining MVP. In the previous 20 years, the NL batting leader in Box-Toppers points has won the NL MVP only four times. And only twice in that span has Box-Toppers’ AL batting leader won the MVP.
On the flip side, Box-Toppers pitching leaders have coincided with league Cy Young Award winners much more frequently. The AL Box-Toppers points leader among pitchers has won 15 of 21 Cy Young Awards, including this year’s. The NL Box-Toppers points leader among pitchers has won 12 of 21 Cy Young Awards, including this year’s.
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.
In other words, Box-Toppers deems that Beltre did more than any other AL batter to contribute to his team’s wins—more than Donaldson. And Box-Toppers deems that Gonzalez, though playing for team with a losing record that relatively few were paying attention to, did more than any other NL batter to contribute to his team’s wins—more than Harper.
Some other notable results in MVP voting:
- The AL player with the most Box-Toppers points who did not earn any MVP votes was Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Red Sox. Bradley had 9.5 Box-Toppers points, ranked eighth among AL batters.
- Mike Trout of the Angels received seven first-place votes for AL MVP en route to finishing second. Trout, last year’s AL MVP, ranked second among AL batters with 12.0 Box-Toppers points.
- Four AL pitchers and five NL pitchers were among players receiving votes for MVP. The highest-ranked players in both leagues were also this year’s Cy Young Award winners announced Wednesday. Dallas Keuchel of the Astros, the AL Cy Young Award winner, finished fifth in voting for AL MVP. He had 21.4 Box-Toppers points, first among AL pitchers. Jake Arrieta of the Cubs, the NL Cy Young Award winner, finished sixth in NL MVP voting. He had 29.1 Box-Toppers points, first among NL pitchers.
- Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees was among the 33 AL players receiving AL MVP votes, receiving one 10th-place vote. However, Rodriguez had a decent bounceback year from his 2014 season when he was suspended. Rodriguez had 7.7 Box-Toppers points in 2015, ranked 16th among AL batters.
- Jason Heyward of the Cardinals finished 15th in NL MVP voting, though he had no Box-Toppers points in 2015. Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays had the fewest 2015 Box-Toppers points of any AL player receiving MVP votes. Kiermaier, who finished 17th in AL MVP voting, had 1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2015, ranked 149th among AL batters.
American League Most Valuable Player Award votingJosh Donaldson of the Blue Jays was voted AL Most Valuable Player. Below are the AL players in order of their voting finish, shown with their first- through 10th-place votes and their voting points total. Also shown are each player’s Box-Toppers points (BTP) for 2015 and their rank among AL batters (except in the case of pitchers, denoted with †, in which case their rank among AL pitcher is shown).
|1st-10th place votes (1-10)|
|1||Josh Donaldson||Blue Jays||3b||23||7||385||9.9||7|
|5||Dallas Keuchel||Astros||pi sp||3||8||5||1||3||107||21.4||1†|
|6||Nelson Cruz||Mariners||rf dh||1||1||1||4||2||4||2||6||2||94||2.0||95|
|8||Jose Bautista||Blue Jays||rf||2||2||4||3||4||5||82||10.0||6|
|9||David Price||Blue Jays||pi sp||1||1||3||3||1||2||1||2||62||21.1||2†|
|12||Edwin Encarnacion||Blue Jays||dh||1||3||2||3||38||10.4||5|
|19||Chris Sale||White Sox||pi sp||1||4||18.8||4†|
|20||Mookie Betts||Red Sox||cf rf||1||1||4||3.0||75|
|21||Jose Abreu||White Sox||1b||1||3||3.0||70|
|27||Russell Martin||Blue Jays||ca||2||2||5.0||38|
|28||Michael Brantley||Indians||cf lf||1||1||4.2||53|
|29||Wade Davis||Royals||pi cp||1||1||4.0||74†|
|31||David Ortiz||Red Sox||dh||1||1||4.5||42|
|**||Jackie Bradley Jr.||Red Sox||cf lf rf||0||9.5||8|
* Rank in Box-Toppers points among AL batters.
** AL batter with the highest Box-Toppers point total who did not receive any MVP votes.
† When an AL pitcher received MVP votes, their Box-Toppers ranking is shown among AL pitchers.
National League Most Valuable Player Award votingBryce Harper of the Nationals was voted NL Most Valuable Player. Below are the NL players in order of their voting finish, shown with their first- through 10th-place votes and their voting points total. Also shown are each player’s Box-Toppers points (BTP) for 2015 and their rank among NL batters (except in the case of pitchers, denoted with †, in which case their rank among NL pitcher is shown). Box-Toppers points leader among NL batters, Carlos Gonzalez, received no votes.
|1st-10th place votes (1-10)|
|1||Bryce Harper||Nationals||lf rf||30||420||9.0||7|
|6||Jake Arrieta||Cubs||pi sp||5||3||3||2||4||7||2||134||29.1||1†|
|7||Zack Greinke||Dodgers||pi sp||2||5||4||1||5||4||3||130||20.7||5†|
|9||Buster Posey||Giants||ca 1b||1||3||6||5||4||6||84||4.0||41|
|10||Clayton Kershaw||Dodgers||pi sp||2||2||1||1||3||2||1||49||25.7||2†|
|13||Yoenis Cespedes||Mets||lf cf||2||3||2||24||10.9||2|
|15||Jason Heyward||Cardinals||rf cf||1||1||1||2||15||0||190|
|17||Trevor Rosenthal||Cardinals||pi cp||1||5||6.0||41†|
|19||Gerrit Cole||Pirates||pi sp||1||3||19.0||6†|
* Rank in Box-Toppers points among NL batters.
** NL batter with the highest Box-Toppers point total who did not receive any MVP votes.
† When an NL pitcher received MVP votes, their Box-Toppers ranking is shown among NL pitchers.