Jose Fernandez is Box-Toppers' Most Improved Player in 2016

The late Jose Fernandez had the biggest improvement in Box-Toppers point totals from 2015 to 2016, and is this season’s Box-Toppers’ Most Improved Player.

Most improved players

Here are the 25 players who had the biggest gains in Box-Toppers points (BTP) from 2015 to 2016, ranked by their rise in points this season. Pitcher Jose Fernandez had the biggest gain of 17.7 points, earning 4.7 points in 2015 and 22.4 in 2016. The list includes players who made big jumps (such as Jon Lester of the Cubs), players who were rookies (such as Michael Fulmer of the Tigers) as well as players who were sidelined with injury in 2015 (such as Fernandez).

Player Pos Team BTP Rise
1 Fernandez, Jose 3147 pi sp died* 22.4 17.7
2 † Fulmer, Michael 3640 pi sp det al 12.7 12.7
3 Moore, Matt 2975 pi sp sf nl 12.4 12.4
4 Roark, Tanner 3261 pi sp dc nl 12.7 11.7
5 Hill, Rich 2215 pi sp lad nl 14.4 10.4
6 Darvish, Yu 3003 pi sp tex al 10.4 10.4
7 Lester, Jon 2173 pi sp chi nl 22.1 10.1
8 Wieters, Matt 2643 ca bal al 11.0 10.0
9 † Maeda, Kenta 3609 pi sp lad nl 10.0 10.0
10 Pomeranz, Drew 3061 pi sp bos al 12.4 9.4
11 Nolasco, Ricky 2125 pi sp ana al 11.4 9.4
12 Andrus, Elvis 2582 ss tex al 9.2 9.2
13 † Guerra, Junior 3633 pi sp mil nl 9.0 9.0
14 Sanchez, Aaron 3392 pi sp tor al 10.7 8.7
15 † Matz, Steven 3516 pi sp nym nl 12.1 8.6
16 Carter, Chris 2828 1b mil nl 9.5 8.5
17 Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp det al 14.7 8.3
18 Hellickson, Jeremy 2778 pi sp phi nl 13.1 8.1
19 Nicasio, Juan 2888 pi mr sp pit nl 9.0 8.0
20 Velasquez, Vince 3611 pi sp phi nl 8.0 8.0
21 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 21.2 7.8
22 † Lee, Dae-Ho 3627 1b sea al 7.7 7.7
23 Cabrera, Miguel 1776 1b det al 12.0 7.3
24 Wainwright, Adam 2150 pi sp stl nl 10.2 7.2
25 Nova, Ivan 2796 pi sp pit nl 8.0 7.0
BTP: Box-Toppers points
What are those numbers after players' names?
* Fernandez was killed in boating accident Sept. 25. He played for the Miami Marlins.
† Rookie status in 2016

Fernandez, who pitched for the Marlins and was killed in a boating accident near the end of the season on Sept. 25, had gain of 17.7 Box-Toppers points from 2015 to 2016, far outdistancing the second-place player, Tigers rookie pitcher Michael Fulmer, who had a gain of 12.7 points.

Fernandez had just 4.7 Box-Toppers points in 2015, as he spent the early part of the season recovering from his 2014 Tommy John surgery. But in 2016, Fernandez had 22.4 Box-Toppers points, a gain of 17.7, and was in contention to be Box-Toppers Player of the Year going into the final week of the season. However, Fernandez was killed and finished third among all players in Box-Toppers points, behind Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer (25.7) and Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (24.4).

Fernandez was also Box-Toppers’ most improved player in 2013, when he had a gain of 19.0 Box-Toppers points. Fernandez was a rookie that season and so had no points in 2012 and 19.0 in 2013.

Fernandez was also named Sporting News’ 2016 National League Comeback Player of the Year, selected by a panel of Major League players.

The panel chose Mark Trumbo of the Orioles as the American League Comeback Player of the Year. But Trumbo is ranked 45th on Box-Toppers list of top improving players for 2016 with a gain of 5.7 points from 2015 to 2016. He had 2.5 Box-Toppers points in 2015 with the Diamondbacks and Mariners and 8.2 points in 2016, 14th among AL batters.

Box-Toppers’ top non-rookie improvers among AL players is Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who had a gain of 10.4 Box-Toppers points from 2015 to 2016, ranking sixth on the list. Darvish earned no Box-Toppers points in 2015 because he was out recovering from Tommy John surgery. His 10.4 points in 2016 ranked 21st among AL pitchers. Darvish was tied for fourth in the Sporting News’ 2016 AL Comeback Player vote.

Box-Toppers’ top improvers list includes players such as Fernandez and Darvish who came back from injury. It also includes rookies who had no points in 2015 (such as Fulmer and Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maedea, who had a gain of 10.0 points, ranking ninth). Plus, it includes players who did well in 2015 and did even better in 2016, led by Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, who had the seventh-best improvement among all players—he rose 10.1 Box-Toppers points, from 12.0 in 2015 to 22.1 in 2016. Lester ranked 13th among NL pitchers in 2015 but in 2016, ranked third among active NL pitchers at season’s end.

Comeback Players of the Year

Addendum: On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Major League Baseball named two Comeback Player of the Year Awards, one in each league, neither of whom were among Box-Toppers’ 25 most improved players for 2016.

Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello was named American League Comeback Player of the Year. Porcello earned 8.0 Box-Toppers points in 2016 after earning 4.0 in 2015, a gain of 4.0 points, 91st among all players. Porcello’s 8.0 Box-Toppers points ranked 31st among AL pitchers, though Porcello led all pitchers in wins and won the AL Cy Young Award. (Why didn’t Porcello earn more Box-Toppers points? Here’s why.)

Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon was named National League Comeback Player of the Year. Rendon earned 5.5 Box-Toppers points in 2016 after earning 1.0 point in 2015, a gain of 4.5 points, 84th-most among all players. Rendon’s 5.5 points ranked 32nd among all NL batters.

The Comeback Players of the Year were voted on by a panel of 30 baseball writers and announced by Major League Baseball.

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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