Washington Nationals top Box-Toppers' 2015 preseason team rankings

Box-Toppers’ 2015 preseason team rankings

Here are Box-Toppers’ 2015 preseason team rankings. The rankings are derived by adding the 2014 Box-Toppers points totals of each player on the team’s 2015 roster. The chart also shows the point total for each team at the close of the 2014 season and the gain or loss of points since last season, based on player movement. For example, the Cubs rose considerably in Box-Toppers points from 2014 to 2015 based on picking up players with high 2014 Box-Toppers points totals, such as Jon Lester. The Athletics, conversely, fell in points after losing Lester and other players.  



1 Nationals 120.9 115.5 5.4
2 Dodgers 119.2 123.2 -4.0
3 Angels 118.2 124.2 -6.0
4 Marlins 115.6 95.6 20.0
5 Mariners 114.5 99.9 14.6
6 Royals 110.5 101.1 9.4
7 Blue Jays 110.3 106.5 3.8
8 Indians 108.1 99.6 8.5
9 Orioles 106.6 113.4 -6.8
10 Giants 106.3 110.8 -4.5
11 White Sox 104.3 86.6 17.7
12 Padres 100.2 88.0 12.2
13 Cardinals 99.6 114.8 -15.2
14 Tigers 98.8 112.9 -14.1
15 Cubs 96.7 75.2 21.5
16 Astros 93.6 79.9 13.7
17 Red Sox 92.0 68.7 23.3
18 Mets 90.4 89.9 0.5
19 Pirates 86.9 99.9 -13.0
20 Braves 86.7 92.1 -5.4
21 Twins 86.1 81.3 4.8
22 Athletics 85.0 117.6 -32.6
23 Reds 83.5 90.5 -7.0
24 Rays 81.2 88.2 -7.0
25 Brewers 75.2 94.7 -19.5
26 Rangers 74.3 73.7 0.6
27 Rockies 70.9 78.6 -7.7
28 Dbacks 67.3 70.7 -3.4
29 Yankees 66.5 96.4 -29.9
30 Phillies 66.0 82.0 -16.0

The Washington Nationals are the top team in Box-Toppers’ 2015 preseason team rankings.

Players on the 2015 Nationals roster accumulated 120.9 Box-Toppers points in 2014, slightly more than the Los Angeles Dodgers (119.2) and the top American League team, the Los Angeles Angels (118.2).

The Nationals finished 2014 in fourth place among all 30 teams with 115.5 Box-Toppers points (see Box-Toppers 2014 final team rankings), meaning they picked up a net 5.4 Box-Toppers points in the offseason. Their main addition was free agent pitcher Max Scherzer of the Tigers. Scherzer earned 22.1 Box-Toppers points in 2014, fifth among all players. Their key losses: First baseman Adam LaRoche (8.2 Box-Toppers points) to the White Sox and closing pitcher Rafael Soriano (5.0) to free agency.

With the addition of Scherzer, the Nationals top four starting pitchers are all among Box-Toppers' 2014 top 20 ranked players:

  • Scherzer, 22.1 Box-Toppers points, ranked fifth.
  • Stephen Strasburg, 16.7, ranked 10th.
  • Jordan Zimmermann, 15.0, ranked 16th.
  • Doug Fister, 14.4, ranked 19th.


Angels, top team in ’14, falls to 3rd

Last year’s top team, the Angels, fall to third place, and while they still lead all AL teams, they have a net loss of 6.0 Box-Toppers points from 2014. The Angels’ key loss: Second baseman Howie Kendrick (4.5) to the Dodgers. Their biggest gain: Shortstop Josh Rutledge (3.5) from the Rockies.


Dodgers remain steady in 2nd

The Dodgers finished 2014 in second-place in Box-Toppers team rankings, the same place they find themselves in 2015, with a net loss of 4.0 Box-Toppers points. Key losses: Pitcher Dan Haren (8.0) to the Marlins, pitcher Josh Beckett (7.7) to retirement, outfielder Matt Kemp (5.0) to the Padres, second baseman Dee Gordon (5.0) to the Marlins and shortstop Hanley Ramirez (4.5) to the Red Sox. Key gains: Pitcher Brandon McCarthy (7.0) from the Yankees, second baseman Howie Kendrick (4.5) from the Angels, shortstop Jimmy Rollins (4.5) from the Phillies, outfielder Chris Heisey (4.0) from the Reds and first baseman Yasmani Grandal (4.0) from the Padres.


Boston Red Sox +23.3 Box-Toppers points

Perhaps more interesting are the teams whose winter moves helped them rise the highest and fall the furthest.

Last year’s lowest-ranked team, the Red Sox (who had been 2013 World Series champions) had the biggest jump. The Red Sox had a net gain of 23.3 Box-Toppers points, giving them 92.0 Box-Toppers points in the 2015 preseason rankings. However, the rise puts them only in 17th place among all teams, still among the lower half.

Biggest gainers

Here are the 10 teams that had the biggest net gain in Box-Toppers points from the end of 2014 to the start of the 2015 season.  

1 Red Sox 23.3 92.0 17
2 Cubs 21.5 96.7 15
3 Marlins 20.0 115.6 4
4 White Sox 17.7 104.3 11
5 Mariners 14.6 114.5 5
6 Astros 13.7 93.6 16
7 Padres 12.2 100.2 12
8 Royals 9.4 110.5 6
9 Indians 8.5 108.1 8
10 Nationals 5.4 120.9 1

While the Red Sox lost their batter who led them in Box-Toppers points (Yoenis Cespedes, 8.0), they picked up pitcher Rick Porcello (8.7) from the Tigers, pitcher Justin Masterson (6.7) from the Cardinals, pitcher Wade Miley (4.7) from the Diamondbacks, shortstop Hanley Ramirez (4.5) from the Dodgers, third baseman Pablo Sandoval (4.5) from the Giants, and pitcher Robbie Ross (3.7) from the Rangers.


Chicago Cubs +21.5 Box-Toppers points

Also making a big jump—the Cubs, with a net gain of 21.5 Box-Toppers points. The Cubs have 96.7 Box-Toppers points, 15th among teams. Key gains: Pitcher Jon Lester (16.4) from the Athletics and pitcher Jason Hammel (10.4) from the Athletics. Biggest loss: Third baseman Luis Valbuena (3.5) to the Astros.


Miami Marlins +20.0 Box-Toppers points

The Marlins have a net gain of 20.0 Box-Toppers points from the close of last year. With 115.6 points, they ranked fourth among all teams. The Marlins picked up pitcher Dan Haren (8.0) from the Dodgers, outfielder Michael Morse (6.5) from the Giants, pitcher David Phelps (5.7) from the Yankees, infielder Dee Gordon (5.0) from the Dodgers and infielder Martin Prado (4.5) from the Yankees. The Marlins’ key loss from 2014 was pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (6.7) to the Yankees.


Other teams with significant net gains in Box-Toppers points:

  • White Sox—Gained 17.7 points. With 104.3, they rank 11th. Key gains: first baseman Adam LaRoche (8.2) from the Nationals, pitcher Jeff Samardzija (7.0) from the Athletics, closer David Robertson (7.0) from the Yankees and outfielder Melky Cabrera (4.0) from the Blue Jays. The White Sox lose a few players who had 3.0 or fewer Box-Toppers points in 2014, including retiring first baseman Paul Konerko, who had 1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2014.
  • Mariners—Gained 14.6 points. With 114.5, they rank fifth. Key gains: Outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz (8.5) from the Orioles, outfielder Seth Smith (6.0) from the Padres and pitcher J.A. Happ (4.7) from the Blue Jays. Key loss: Pitcher Chris Young (12.1) to the Royals.
  • Padres—Gained 12.2 points. With 100.2, they rank 12th. Key gains: Pitcher James Shields (13.7) from the Royals, outfielder Justin Upton (8.2) from the Braves, outfielder Matt Kemp (5.0) from the Dodgers and catcher Derek Norris (4.0) from the Athletics. Key losses: Pitcher Jesse Hahn (6.7) to the Athletics, outfielder Seth Smith (6.0) to the Mariners and pitcher Eric Stults (5.0) to the Braves.


Oakland Athletics −32.6 Box-Toppers points

The Athletics had the biggest difference in Box-Toppers points from the end of 2014 until now—they had a net loss of 32.6 points. In 2014, the Athletics led all teams in Box-Toppers points most of the season before sliding at the end of the season and were the last of the 10 teams to secure a playoff berth—losing in a one-game Wild Card playoff to the Royals. The Athletics ended 2014 ranked third with 117.6 points, but their net loss give them 85.0 preseason points, dropping them to 22nd in the rankings.

Biggest losers

Here are the 10 teams that had the biggest net loss in Box-Toppers points from the end of 2014 to the start of the 2015 season.  

1 Athletics -32.6 85.0 22
2 Yankees -29.9 66.5 29
3 Brewers -19.5 75.2 25
4 Phillies -16.0 66.0 30
5 Cardinals -15.2 99.6 13
6 Tigers -14.1 98.8 14
7 Pirates -13.0 86.9 19
8 Rockies -7.7 70.9 27
9 Reds -7.0 83.5 23
9 Rays -7.0 81.2 24

The Athletics’ key losses include: Pitcher Jon Lester (16.4) to the Cubs, third baseman Josh Donaldson (10.5) to the Blue Jays, pitcher Jason Hammel (10.4) to the Cubs, pitcher Jeff Samardzija (7.0) to the White Sox and catcher Derek Norris (4.0) to the Padres. Key gains: Pitcher Jesse Hahn (6.7) from the Padres and first baseman Ike Davis (6.5) from the Pirates.


New York Yankees −29.9 Box-Toppers points

The Yankees had the second biggest net loss of Box-Toppers points among teams, dropping 29.9 points. Their current 2015 roster has a combined 66.5 Box-Toppers points for 2014 and rank next-to-last among all teams—in 29th place. Only the Phillies with 66.0 are lower-ranked. This means that the once mighty Yankees are the lowest-ranked team in the entire American League.

Could it be that in 2015 that the rude thing Red Sox fans say about the Bronx Bombers may finally be actually true and verifiable? 

How did this happen? Key Yankee losses: Pitcher Brandon McCarthy (7.0) to the Dodgers, closing pitcher David Robertson (7.0) to the White Sox, pitcher Shane Greene (7.0) to the Tigers, pitcher Hiroki Kuroda (6.4) to Japan, pitcher David Phelps (5.7) to the Marlins and infielder Martin Prado (4.5) to the Marlins. Key Yankee gains: Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (6.7) from the Marlins and a few players with 2.0 or fewer Box-Toppers points in 2014. 

Not included in the Yankees preseason points is Alex Rodriguez, returning from a year’s drug suspension. But in 2013, A-Rod had only 3.0 Box-Toppers points. The Yankees also lose retiring shortstop Derek Jeter in 2015, but he had no Box-Toppers points in either 2013 or 2014, so his loss did not change the Yankees 2015 preseason Box-Toppers point total.


Other teams with significant net losses in Box-Toppers points:

  • Brewers—Lost 19.5 points. With 75.2, they rank 25th. Key losses: Pitcher Yovani Gallardo (9.0) to the Rangers, infielder Mark Reynolds (4.0) to the Cardinals, first baseman Lyle Overbay (3.5) to free agency and infielder Rickie Weeks (3.5) to the Mariners. Biggest offseason gain: First baseman Adam Lind (2.5) from the Blue Jays.
  • Phillies—Lost 16.0 points. With 66.0, they rank last, in 30th. Key losses: Pitcher A.J. Burnett (8.0) to the Pirates, shortstop Jimmy Rollins (4.5) to the Dodgers, pitcher Kyle Kendrick (4.0) to the Rockies and outfielder Marlon Byrd (3.5) to the Reds. Key gain: Pitcher Aaron Harang (5.7) from the Braves.
  • Cardinals—Lost 15.2 points. With 99.6, they rank 13th. Key loss: Pitcher Justin Masterson (6.7) to the Red Sox. Key gain: Infielder Mark Reynolds (4.0) from the Brewers. Outfielder Oscar Taveras, who died in the car accident in the offseason, had 1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2014.
  • Tigers—Lost 14.1 points. With 98.8, they rank 14th. Key losses: Pitcher Max Scherzer (22.1) to the Nationals, pitcher Rick Porcello (8.7) to the Red Sox and outfielder Torii Hunter (5.5) to the Twins. Key gains: Pitcher Alfredo Simon (9.7) from the Reds, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (8.0) from the Red Sox and pitcher Shane Greene (7.0) from the Yankees.
  • Pirates—Lost 13.0 points. With 86.9, they rank 19th. Key losses: Pitcher Edinson Volquez (8.0) to the Royals, first baseman Ike Davis (6.5) to the Athletics, outfielder Travis Snider (6.2) to the Orioles and catcher Russell Martin (4.5) to the Blue Jays. Key gains: Pitcher A.J. Burnett (8.0) from the Phillies and infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez (5.0) from the Rays.


World Series champion Giants fall slightly

The Giants finished the 2014 regular season in eighth place in Box-Toppers team rankings and yet went on to win the World Series. In the 2015 preseason rankings, they fall to 10th with 106.3 Box-Toppers points, a net loss of 4.5 from the end of 2014. 

Key losses: Outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse (6.5) to the Marlins and third baseman Pablo Sandoval (4.5) to the Red Sox. Biggest gain: Infielder Casey McGehee (3.5) from the Marlins.


AL champ Royals improve from 2014

The Royals finished the 2014 regular season in 10th place in Box-Toppers team rankings, the lowest-ranked AL team to make the playoffs. And yet, they were one game away from winning the World Series, falling to the Giants. In the 2015 preseason rankings, they rise to sixth place with 110.5 Box-Toppers points, a net gain of 9.4. 

Key gains: Pitcher Chris Young (12.1) from the Mariners and pitcher Edinson Volquez (8.0) from the Pirates. Key loss: Pitcher James Shields (13.7) to the Padres.

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.