Box-Toppers picks the Nationals over the Royals in the 2015 World Series

Box-Toppers 2015 preseason predictions

Box-Toppers picks the Nationals to beat the Royals in the 2015 World Series. Here is the predicted order of finish of all 30 teams in their divisions.  

1 Orioles* Royals* Angels*
2 Blue Jays** Indians Mariners**
3 Red Sox Tigers Astros
4 Rays White Sox Rangers
5 Yankees Twins Athletics
1 Nationals* Cardinals* Dodgers*
2 Marlins** Cubs Giants**
3 Braves Reds Padres
4 Mets Pirates Dbacks
5 Phillies Brewers Rockies
* Division winner, **Wild card
ALCS: Royals over Orioles
NLCS: Nationals over Dodgers
World Series: Nationals over Royals

Box-Toppers predicts the Washington Nationals will defeat the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 World Series.

The Nationals, already boasting one of the best pitching rotations in baseball, picked up free agent pitcher Max Scherzer from the Tigers in the offseason, helping make their case for the best team in baseball. Four pitchers from the Nationals starting rotation rank in the top 20 of all players in Box-Toppers points for the 2014 season:

  • Max 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.

The Royals meanwhile have no single star that outshines the rest of the team, but as a group in 2014, they seemingly took turns being Box-Toppers Players of the Game, contributing to wins, helping the Royals secure a playoff berth and riding the talent all the way to the World Series. While the Royals broke a 30-year playoff drought, they fell one game short of winning the 2014 World Series.

The top returning star for the Royals, starting pitcher Danny Duffy has 10.0 Box-Toppers points, a relatively low total for a starting ace. However, the Royals have the most players with 7.0 or more Box-Toppers points on a single team—eight—a demonstration that the burden of winning is spread widely. Those players, all pitchers, are:

  • Starter Chris Young, 12.1 Box-Toppers points, who played for the Mariners in 2014.
  • Starter Duffy, 10.0.
  • Starter Yordano Ventura, 8.7.
  • Closer Greg Holland, 7.0, who ranked fourth among AL closers in 2014.
  • Starter Jason Vargas, 7.0.
  • Starter Jeremy Guthrie, 7.0.
  • Middle reliever Wade Davis, 7.0, who ranked first among AL middle relievers in 2014.

Here are Box-Toppers picks for each playoff spot:

  • AL East—Orioles
  • AL Central—Royals
  • AL West—Angels
  • AL wild cards—Blue Jays and Mariners
  • NL East—Nationals
  • NL Central—Cardinals
  • NL West—Dodgers
  • NL wild cards—Marlins and Giants.

Both the Red Sox and the Cubs should improve this year from their 2014 cellar positions, but may not improve enough to win a playoff spot. The Yankees, Phillies and Athletics seemed to slide in the offseason and so Box-Toppers puts them in the basement in their divisions.

Box-Toppers picks the Royals over the Orioles in the American League Championship Series and the Nationals over the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, with the Nats beating the Royals in the Fall Classic.

In a previous post, Box-Toppers rated the Nationals top team in baseball based on 2014 Box-Toppers points. But it also rated the Angels the top AL team based on last year’s points. So why didn’t Box-Toppers pick the Angels as AL champs? The numbers for this post on projected order and finish also takes into consideration players’ Box-Toppers points from previous years. This gives a somewhat more representative sample of each team’s potential. And it can also give the team at least partial credit if a high-performing player from 2013 was unable to play in 2014 but is expected to return for 2015.

But how accurate is it?

Last year, Box-Toppers picked the Dodgers over the Tigers in the World Series. Both teams made the playoffs and were among the best teams in baseball (the Dodgers ranked second in Box-Toppers team rankings for 2014 and the Tigers ranked seventh). But both teams lost in the divisional round of the playoffs. The eventual World Series champion Giants were picked to finish second in the NL West with no playoff berth. The eventual AL champ Royals were picked to finish third in the AL Central with no playoff berth.

So take the picks with a grain of salt. They are a snapshot indication of each team’s apparent strengths and weaknesses. Stars will fall and rise as the season goes on, things will change. 

But in 2009, Box-Toppers did correctly make the preseason pick that the Yankees would beat the Phillies in that year’s World Series (but then, that year, so did everyone else).

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.