Box-Toppers’ top-ranked rookie, Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer, was named American League Rookie of the Year Monday.
But in the National League, the unanimous Rookie of the Year honor went to Corey Seager of the Dodgers, who was not even among Box-Toppers’ top five-ranked NL rookies.
The honors for the 2016 season were awarded Monday by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Fulmer led AL rookies with 12.7 Box-Toppers points and also ranks seventh among AL pitchers and 23rd among all players. He received 26 of 30 first place votes from writers (see voting results in the chart below). The other four went to Gary Sanchez of the Yankees, who had 4.5 Box-Toppers points, ninth among AL rookies, 62nd among AL batters and 242nd among all players.
Voting writers had no doubt Seager was NL Rookie of the Year, giving him all 30 first place votes (see voting results in the chart below). However, Seager had only 4.0 Box-Toppers points in 2016 and did not rank among the top five rookies in the NL—and was not even the top-ranked Dodgers rookie.
In our preview post, we listed Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda as Box-Toppers’ top-ranked NL rookie with 10.0 Box-Toppers points, ranking 21st among NL pitchers and 54th among all players. Turns out, we overlooked the fact that Mets pitcher Steven Matz still had rookie status in 2016. Matz ranked highest among NL rookies with 12.1 Box-Toppers points, 17th among NL pitchers and 32nd among all players. We overlooked Matz as a rookie because he earned 3.5 points in 2015, despite appearing in only six games.
Maaeda finished third in voting among NL rookies with 11 second place votes. Perhaps voting writers also overlooked Matz’ rookie status because he only received one third place vote and finished tied for sixth place in voting.
So why did Seager have so few Box-Toppers points in what many are deeming the top rookie performance of 2016? Seager was only Box-Toppers Player of the Game three times in 2016 and all within three weeks in June—on June 3, June 5 and June 22. He was NL Batter of the Day twice (on the 3rd and the 5th), earning an bonus 0.5 points each time.
Why wasn’t he Player of the Game more often? Let’s look at his top game performances in 2016. He had a Box-Toppers game score of +1.0 or greater in 22 of his 157 games. Seven of those were Dodgers losses, so he would not qualify to earn Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors. That leaves 15 likely games in which he could earn top player honors. He did earn top player in three of those games.
So let’s look at the other 12 games to see why he did not earn Player of the Game honors. We’ll show date of the game, Seager’s Box-Toppers game score, opponent and the Dodgers player who won Player of the Game and that player's Box-Toppers game score:
- Aug. 22, +5.0, Reds, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, +8.0.
- May 31, +3.0, Cubs, SP Scott Kazmir, +11.0.
- July 31, +3.0, Diamondbacks, C Yasmani Grandal, +5.0.
- Sept. 5, +3.0, Diamondbacks, SP Kenta Maeda, +8.1.
- May 14, +2.0, Cardinals, SP Scott Kazmir, +4.2
- June 30, +2.0, Brewers, SP Kenta Maeda, +5.0
- Aug. 8, +2.0, Phillies, C Yasmani Grandal, +3.0.
- Aug. 23, +2.0, Giants, PH OF Andrew Toles, +5.0.
- April 9, +1.0, Giants, SP Clayton Kershaw, +4.0.
- April 24, +1.0, Rockies, CF Joc Pederson, +3.0.
- Sept. 10, +1.0, Marlins, SP Rich Hill, +16.0.
- Sept. 25, +1.0, Rockies, SP Brandon McCarthy, +2.1.
So in other words, Seager was the key player in only three of the Dodgers’ wins in 2016. In 12 other wins, when he had a positive Box-Toppers game score, other Dodgers players had higher game scores, contributing more to the win and earning Player of the Game honors over Seager.
This is not to say Seager did not have a great year statistically. In fact, he had a season very comparable with his older brother, Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager. However, Kyle had more than twice as many Box-Toppers points as Corey in 2016—9.5, ninth among AL batters and 61st among all players.
Here is a look at the brothers’ key statistics in 2016. Corey scored more runs, had more hits and a higher batting average, while Kyle hit more homers and RBIs, walked more, struck out less and had a higher Wins Above Replacement (WAR) number:
One other highly-ranked AL rookie who did not receive votes for AL Rookie of the Year: Dae-Ho Lee of the Mariners, with 7.7 Box-Toppers points, second among AL rookies, 20th among AL batters and 99th among all players.
One other highly-ranked NL rookie who did not receive votes for NL Rookie of the Year: Brewers pitcher Junior Guerra, with 9.0 Box-Toppers points, 25th among NL pitchers and 68th among all players.
About Box-Toppers—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.
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American League Rookie of the Year votingMichael Fulmer of the Tigers was voted AL Rookie of the Year. He also led AL rookies in Box-Toppers points. Here is the order of finish for the AL rookie award. Also shown are the votes each player received from baseball writers for first, second and third place, plus their overall voting point totals. Also shown are each player’s Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for 2016 and their overall rank among all players.
|1||Michael Fulmer||Tigers||pi sp||26||4||142||12.7||23|
|2||Gary Sanchez||Yankees||ca dh||4||23||2||91||4.5||242|
|3||Tyler Naquin||Indians||cf dh||2||14||20||2.0||484|
|4||Chris Devenski||Astros||pi mr||1||4||7||3.7||286|
|5||Edwin Diaz||Mariners||pi cp||4||4||7.0||123|
|5||Nomar Mazara||Rangers||rf lf||4||4||7.0||125|
|7||Tim Anderson||White Sox||ss||2||2||4.5||241|
National League Rookie of the Year votingCorey Seager of the Dodgers was voted NL Rookie of the Year. Here is the order of finish for the NL rookie award. Also shown are the votes each player received from baseball writers for first, second and third place, plus their overall voting point totals. Also shown are each player’s Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for 2015 and their overall rank among all players.
|2||Trea Turner||Nationals||2b cf||11||9||42||2.5||394|
|3||Kenta Maeda||Dodgers||pi sp||11||4||37||10.0||54|
|6||Jon Gray||Rockies||pi sp||1||1||7.0||124|
|6||Steven Matz||Mets||pi sp||1||1||12.1||32|
|6||Seung Hwan Oh||Cardinals||pi cp||1||1||5.0||220|