A look at Box-Toppers' top 100 players for 2015

Jake Arrieta tops Box-Toppers list of the top 100 players in 2015.

The Cubs pitcher had 29.1 Box-Toppers points during the regular season, which is the eighth-highest single-season point total since 1995, when Box-Toppers record keeping began.

Top 100 players of 2015

Here are Box-Toppers Top 100 players of 2015, ranked by Box-Toppers points (BTP).

Player Pos Team BTP
1 Arrieta, Jake 2738 pi sp chi nl 29.1
2 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 25.7
3 deGrom, Jacob 3343 pi sp nym nl 22.4
4 Keuchel, Dallas 3050 pi sp hou al 21.4
5 Price, David 2593 pi sp tor al 21.1
6 Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 21.0
7 Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp lad nl 20.7
8 Hernandez, Felix 2064 pi sp sea al 19.4
9 Cole, Gerrit 3232 pi sp pit nl 19.0
10 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp chi al 18.8
11 Carrasco, Carlos 2885 pi sp cle al 18.0
12 Gray, Sonny 3259 pi sp oak al 17.8
13 Bumgarner, Madison 2753 pi sp sf nl 17.0
14 Archer, Chris 3194 pi sp tb al 16.0
15 Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp tex al 15.4
16 Harvey, Matt 3075 pi sp nym nl 15.4
17 Liriano, Francisco 2104 pi sp pit nl 14.9
18 Strasburg, Stephen 2736 pi sp dc nl 14.0
19 Martinez, Carlos 3371 pi sp stl nl 13.7
20 Walker, Taijuan 3453 pi sp sea al 13.7
21 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 13.4
22 Salazar, Danny 3223 pi sp cle al 13.4
23 Iwakuma, Hisashi 3048 pi sp sea al 13.1
24 Happ, J.A. 2536 pi sp pit nl 13.1
25 Cueto, Johnny 2400 pi sp kc al 12.8
26 Kazmir, Scott 1947 pi sp hou al 12.7
27 Beltre, Adrian 1141 3b tex al 12.5
28 Lester, Jon 2173 pi sp chi nl 12.0
29 Trout, Mike 2949 cf ana al 12.0
30 Ventura, Yordano 3294 pi sp kc al 11.7
31 Gonzalez, Carlos 2460 rf col nl 11.5
32 Fielder, Prince 2029 dh tex al 11.5
33 Lynn, Lance 2992 pi sp stl nl 11.4
34 Heston, Chris 3437 pi sp sf nl 11.4
35 Richards, Garrett 3042 pi sp ana al 11.0
36 Davis, Chris 2478 1b bal al 11.0
37 Cespedes, Yoenis 3008 lf cf nym nl 10.9
38 Pineda, Michael 2841 pi sp nyy al 10.7
39 McCutchen, Andrew 2637 cf pit nl 10.5
40 Encarnacion, Edwin 2098 dh tor al 10.4
41 Syndergaard, Noah 3472 pi sp nym nl 10.4
42 Goldschmidt, Paul 2935 1b ari nl 10.2
43 Wilson, C.J. 2074 pi sp ana al 10.1
44 Miller, Shelby 3134 pi sp atl nl 10.0
45 Leake, Mike 2709 pi sp sf nl 10.0
46 Vogelsong, Ryan 1820 pi sp sf nl 10.0
47 Bautista, Jose 2169 rf tor al 10.0
48 Donaldson, Josh 3144 3b tor al 9.9
49 McHugh, Collin 3316 pi sp hou al 9.7
50 Gonzalez, Gio 2626 pi sp dc nl 9.7
51 Lackey, John 1640 pi sp stl nl 9.7
52 Hammel, Jason 2235 pi sp chi nl 9.7
53 Wacha, Michael 3276 pi sp stl nl 9.7
54 Hendricks, Kyle 3386 pi sp chi nl 9.7
55 Bradley, Jackie Jr. 3293 cf lf rf bos al 9.5
56 Grichuk, Randal 3474 rf lf cf stl nl 9.5
57 Samardzija, Jeff 2495 pi sp chi al 9.4
58 Bauer, Trevor 3065 pi sp cle al 9.4
59 Garcia, Jaime 2508 pi sp stl nl 9.4
60 Hutchison, Drew 3038 pi sp tor al 9.0
61 Upton, Justin 2411 lf sd nl 9.0
62 Hosmer, Eric 2886 1b kc al 9.0
63 Harper, Bryce 3011 lf rf dc nl 9.0
64 Frazier, Todd 2929 3b cin nl 8.9
65 Odorizzi, Jake 3291 pi sp tb al 8.7
66 Britton, Zachary 2835 pi cp bal al 8.7
67 Jimenez, Ubaldo 2349 pi sp bal al 8.7
68 Rizzo, Anthony 3063 1b chi nl 8.5
69 Arenado, Nolan 3306 3b col nl 8.5
70 Bour, Justin 3433 1b fla nl 8.5
71 Bryant, Kris 3465 3b chi nl 8.5
72 Chavez, Jesse 2780 pi sp oak al 8.4
73 Nelson, Jimmy 3299 pi sp mil nl 8.4
74 Cain, Lorenzo 3171 cf kc al 8.2
75 Reddick, Josh 2936 rf oak al 8.2
76 Rodon, Carlos 3494 pi sp chi al 8.1
77 Tanaka, Masahiro 3305 pi sp nyy al 8.0
78 Young, Chris R. 1933 pi sp kc al 8.0
79 Holland, Greg 2906 pi cp kc al 8.0
80 Chapman, Aroldis 2826 pi cp cin nl 8.0
81 Robertson, David 2774 pi cp chi al 8.0
82 Santiago, Hector 3109 pi sp ana al 8.0
83 Gibson, Kyle 3312 pi sp min al 8.0
84 Hunter, Torii 1190 rf dh min al 8.0
85 Estrada, Marco 2847 pi sp tor al 8.0
86 Boxberger, Brad 3111 pi cp tb al 8.0
87 Drew, Stephen 2210 2b nyy al 8.0
88 Familia, Jeurys 3446 pi cp nym nl 8.0
89 Jungmann, Taylor 3493 pi sp mil nl 8.0
90 Teheran, Julio 3176 pi sp atl nl 7.7
91 Wood, Alex 3246 pi sp lad nl 7.7
92 Weaver, Jered 2178 pi sp ana al 7.7
93 Lewis, Colby 1567 pi sp tex al 7.7
94 Moustakas, Mike 2967 3b kc al 7.7
95 Escobar, Eduardo 3135 ss min al 7.7
96 Rodriguez, Alex dh nyy al 7.7
97 DeSclafani, Anthony 3441 pi sp cin nl 7.7
98 Pollock, A.J. 3142 cf ari nl 7.5
99 Teixeira, Mark 1738 1b nyy al 7.5
100 Machado, Manny 3087 3b bal al 7.5
BTP: Box-Toppers points
What are those numbers after players' names?

Arrieta earned his 29.1 Box-Toppers points by being Box-Toppers Player of the Game in 19 of the Cubs wins, earning 1.0 Box-Toppers point each time. In addition he earned bonus Box-Toppers points:

  • Three times for being National League Player of the Day (0.7 extra points each time, for a total of 2.1 more Box-Toppers points).
  • Eight times for being overall Player of the Day (1.0 extra point each, for a total of eight more Box-Toppers points).

Arrieta nearly doubled his Box-Toppers point total from 2014, when he had 14.7 points and ranked eighth among NL pitchers.

It took 7.5 Box-Toppers points to make the top 100 list—Orioles third baseman Manny Machado took the 100th spot with 7.5 points. He earned them by being Player of the Game in six of the Orioles’ wins in 2015, including three times earning American League Batter of the Day, earning an extra 0.5 points each time.

Box-Toppers points are a measure of how much a player provides key contributions to his teams win. 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.

Here are some highlights from the top 100 list:

2. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw ranked second among all players with 25.7 Box-Toppers points, which is tied for the 20th-highest single-season Box-Toppers point total since record keeping began in 1995. Even though Kershaw had one of the best seasons in Box-Toppers history, it was a down year for him—in the previous four years, he led NL pitchers, in three of the past four seasons (2011, 2013 and 2014), he led all players in Box-Toppers points and in 2015, he had 31.5 Box-Toppers points, tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in 21 years of Box-Toppers record keeping. Kershaw was 2014’s NL Cy Young and Most Valuable Player award winner.

4. Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel had 21.4 Box-Toppers points to lead AL pitchers, trailed closely by Blue Jays pitcher David Price, in fifth place with 21.1.

16. Mets pitcher Matt Harvey had the biggest gain in Box-Toppers points from 2014 to 2015. In 2014, he had no points after missing the season due to Tommy John surgery. He had 15.0 points in 2013. In 2015, he had 15.4 Box-Toppers points, ranking eighth among NL pitchers.

21. Indians pitcher Corey Kluber had 13.4 Box-Toppers points. Kluber was 2014’s AL Cy Young Award winner when he led AL pitchers in Box-Toppers points with 25.8.

27. Adrian Beltre of the Rangers led AL batters in Box-Toppers points with 12.5 and by Box-Toppers measures, would be the leading candidate for AL MVP. Beltre earned 7.0 of his points in the final month of the season, 4.5 in the final 10 days. His 12.5 points are the lowest single-season total to lead AL batters in the 21 years of Box-Toppers record keeping. And in 2014, Beltre, despite putting up decent numbers, had no Box-Toppers points.

29. Mike Trout of the Angels, perennially an AL MVP candidate, had 12.0 Box-Toppers points, second among AL batters. In 2014, Trout was voted AL MVP when he had 8.5 Box-Toppers points, seventh among AL batters.

31. Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies led NL batters in Box-Toppers points with 11.5. It is the lowest single-season Box-Toppers point total to lead any league in any category, beating 2014 when Troy Tulowitzki, then of the Rockies, led NL batters with 11.6 points in an injury-shortened season. Despite leading NL batters in Box-Toppers points, it seems unlikely Gonzalez will receive any consideration as NL MVP, given the Rockies’ lackluster season and the fact Gonzalez doesn’t lead NL batters in any significant statistical category, such as home runs or runs batted in. But based on Box-Toppers points, he did more to help his team win more games than any other NL batter.

34. Giants pitcher Chris Heston led all rookies in Box-Toppers points with 11.4.

37. Yoenis Cespedes of the Mets has been mentioned as a candidate for NL MVP. He had 10.9 Box-Toppers points, second among NL batters, but earned 6.7 of those points with the AL Tigers before being traded in late July.

39. Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, perennially an NL MVP candidate, had 10.5 Box-Toppers points, third among NL batters.

48. Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays, mentioned as an AL MVP candidate, had 9.9 Box-Toppers points, ranked seventh among AL batters. Donaldson won the AL Hank Aaron Award, given to the top batter in each league.

63. Bryce Harper of the Nationals, mentioned as an NL MVP candidate, had 9.0 Box-Toppers points, seventh among NL batters. Harper won the NL Hank Aaron Award, given to the top batter in each league.

76. White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon led all AL rookies with 8.1 Box-Toppers points.

96. Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees earned 7.7 Box-Toppers points in a season after he was suspended for an entire year for performance enhancing drug use. Rodriguez ranked 16th among AL batters and had his best season since 2010. Rodriguez leads all batters in Box-Toppers points since 1995 with 187.0 career points.

Box-Toppers tends to favor pitchers, especially in the short term, so most of the top 100 players are pitchers. In 2015, 69 of the top 100 players are pitchers. But that’s down from 2014, when 79 of the top 100 players were pitchers. Here is a breakdown of players by their primary position:

  • 63—Starting pitcher (in 2014, 74 of the top 100 were starting pitchers)
  • 13—Outfield (5 CF, 5 RF, 3 LF)
  • 7—Third base
  • 6—First base
  • 6—Closing pitcher
  • 3—Designated hitter
  • 1—Second base
  • 1—Shortstop

So while batters seemed to have a lackluster season, with league leading batters having record-low Box-Toppers points totals, it doesn’t seem to be because pitchers cumulatively had a better season. Rather, it seems more batters had better than average seasons and better shared the wealth of Box-Toppers points without a small group of batters dominating in player rankings.

The World Champion Kansas City Royals had the most players among the top 100—seven. However, their top-rated player was only ranked 25th. Here are the seven Royals, their rank and their Box-Toppers point total:

  • 25—Johnny Cueto, starting pitcher, 12.8.
  • 30—Yordano Ventura, starting pitcher, 11.7.
  • 62—Eric Hosmer, first base, 9.0.
  • 74—Lorenzo Cain, centerfield, 8.2.
  • 78—Chris Young, starting pitcher, 8.0.
  • 79—Greg Holland, closing pitcher, 8.0.
  • 94—Mike Moustakas, third base, 7.7

Three other teams each had six players among the top 100: Cubs, Cardinals and Blue Jays. Three more five each: Angels, Mets and Yankees.

Only two teams, the Tigers and the Phillies, had no players among the top 100, but both traded away top 100 players during the season. The Tigers traded away David Price to the Blue Jays and Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets and the Phillies traded away Cole Hamels to the Rangers.

There were 751 different players who earned Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors during the 2015 season. There were 402 players with more than 2.0 Box-Toppers points and 47 with 10.0 or more points. There were 172 players who made their Box-Toppers debut during the season, earning Player of the Game honors for the first time.

(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.)