Box-Toppers leader Max Scherzer wins NL Cy Young Award; wins leader Porcello wins AL Cy Young despite low Box-Toppers ranking

Overall Box-Toppers points leader Max Scherzer of the Nationals was voted National League Cy Young Award winner Wednesday.

However, the American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello of the Red Sox was ranked just 31st among AL pitchers in Box-Toppers points (8.0), far behind AL pitching leader Corey Kluber of the Indians (21.2), who finished third in voting. (See the charts below for voting finishes and Box-Toppers rankings.)

The awards are voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Scherzer led all players in 2016 with 25.7 Box-Toppers points and earned 25 of 30 first-place votes to win the NL Cy Young Award.

This is Scherzer’s second Cy Young Award. He was voted American League Cy Young Award winner in 2013 with the Tigers when he led AL pitchers with 18.1 Box-Toppers points.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who ranked second in Box-Toppers points (24.4), finished fifth in voting. Kershaw dominated the first half of the season, earning 20.0 Box-Toppers points before July 1 and was on a record-shattering pace, but then missed two months with a back injury before returning. Despite his time away, Kershaw was in contention to pass Scherzer in Box-Toppers rankings in the final week of the season. Cy Young voters, perhaps taking into consideration his time away with injury, voted him only fifth-best NL pitcher.

The late Jose Fernandez finished seventh in NL Cy Young voting. Fernandez, who was killed Sept. 25 in a boating accident, ranked third among all players in Box-Toppers points for 2016 with 22.4, behind only Scherzer and Kershaw.

Three pitchers for the World Series champion Chicago Cubs received NL Cy Young votes:

  • Jon Lester (22.1 Box-Toppers points, ranked third among NL pitchers active at season’s end), finished second in voting.
  • Kyle Hendricks (13.4 Box-Toppers points, ranked 10th among NL pitchers active at season’s end), finished third in voting.
  • Jake Arrieta (15.7 Box-Toppers points, ranked sixth among NL pitchers active at season’s end), finished ninth in voting. Arrieta was 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner.

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is Box-Toppers’ highest-rated NL pitcher who did not receive NL Cy Young Award votes. Strasburg had 15.1 Box-Toppers points in 2016, seventh among NL pitchers active at season’s end.

AL pitchers ranked higher than Rick Porcello

Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello ranks 31st among American League pitchers in Box-Toppers points for 2016. He won the 2016 AL Cy Young Award. Here are the 30 pitchers who rank ahead of Porcello in Box-Toppers points:  

AL pitcher Pos Team BTP
1 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 21.2
2 Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp tex al 17.8
3 Happ, J.A. 2536 pi sp tor al 14.7
4 Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp det al 14.7
5 Tanaka, Masahiro 3305 pi sp nyy al 14.1
6 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp chi al 13.4
7 Fulmer, Michael 3640 pi sp det al 12.7
8 Salazar, Danny 3223 pi sp cle al 12.5
9 Price, David 2593 pi sp bos al 12.4
10 Carrasco, Carlos 2885 pi sp cle al 12.4
11 Pomeranz, Drew 3061 pi sp bos al 12.4
12 Bauer, Trevor 3065 pi sp cle al 11.4
13 Santiago, Hector 3109 pi sp min al 11.4
14 Nolasco, Ricky 2125 pi sp ana al 11.4
15 Estrada, Marco 2847 pi sp tor al 11.0
16 Gausman, Kevin 3191 pi sp bal al 10.8
17 McHugh, Collin 3316 pi sp hou al 10.7
18 Duffy, Danny 2915 pi sp kc al 10.7
19 Sanchez, Aaron 3392 pi sp tor al 10.7
20 Quintana, Jose 3040 pi sp chi al 10.4
21 Darvish, Yu 3003 pi sp tex al 10.4
22 Kennedy, Ian 2723 pi sp kc al 10.0
23 Gonzalez, Miguel 3062 pi sp chi al 9.1
24 Archer, Chris 3194 pi sp tb al 9.0
25 Colome, Alex 3189 pi cp tb al 9.0
26 Wright, Steven 3224 pi sp bos al 8.4
27 Liriano, Francisco 2104 pi sp tor al 8.0
28 Rodon, Carlos 3494 pi sp chi al 8.0
29 Kimbrel, Craig 2825 pi cp bos al 8.0
30 Tillman, Chris 2754 pi sp bal al 8.0
31 Porcello, Rick 2573 pi sp bos al 8.0
What are those numbers after players' names?

AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello of the Red Sox led all pitchers in wins with 22.

But looking at his games one by one, Porcello was often not the key player in determining the outcome of the game. Box-Toppers points are awarded to the one player who most helped contribute to a team’s win. And in Red Sox wins in which Porcello pitched, it was often some other player who provided those key contributions.

After his 20th win in mid-September, Box-Toppers examined why Porcello had so few Box-Toppers points even though he led all pitchers in wins. He earned Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors in only seven of his first 20 wins. In the other 13 wins, a Red Sox batter with a higher Box-Toppers game score beat him out for Player of the Game.

Porcello narrowly missed earning Player of the Game honors eight times up to that point, which would have given him 15.0 or more Box-Toppers points for the season, putting him in somewhat better position to be deserving of the AL Cy Young Award.

But given the criteria Box-Toppers uses, determining the one top player in each win, Porcello had 30 AL pitchers ranking ahead of him, including four teammates, none of whom received Cy Young votes:

  • David Price, 12.4 Box-Toppers points, ninth among AL pitchers (17 wins).
  • Drew Pomeranz, 12.4 points, 11th among AL pitchers (11 wins, eight with Padres before trade).
  • Steven Wright, 8.4 points, 26th among AL pitchers (13 wins).
  • Craig Kimbrel, closer, 8.0 points, 29th among AL pitchers (two wins, 31 saves).

Cy Young voters are often wowed by win totals, seeing them as shiny and pretty without taking into consideration how the statistic is often misleading as to a pitcher’s contribution to the game or forgetting to take into consideration other players’ perhaps more important contributions to that win.

Box-Toppers had Indians pitcher Corey Kluber the clear leader among AL pitchers in 2016. Kluber, the 2014 AL Cy Young winner, had 21.2 Box-Toppers points, the only AL player with more than 20 points. He finished ahead of second-place AL pitcher, Cole Hamels of the Rangers (17.8). Hamels, incidentally, is the highest-ranked AL pitcher to receive no AL Cy Young votes.

Kluber finished third in AL Cy Young voting, picking up three first-place votes.

Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, who finished second in AL Cy Young voting, actually had more first-place votes than winner Porcello (14 vs. 8). Verlander had 14.7 Box-Toppers points in 2016, fourth among AL pitchers.

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.

Box-Toppers strives for accuracy. See a mistake in a post? A wrong name, wrong team, grammar error, spelling goof, etc.? Thanks for pointing it out! Contact Box-Toppers here. Let's fix it and make it right.

National League Cy Young Award voting

Max Scherzer of the Nationals was voted NL Cy Young Award winner for the league’s top pitcher. Below are the NL pitchers in order of their voting finish, shown with their first- through fifth-place votes and their voting points total. Also shown are each player’s Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for 2016 and their rank in points among NL pitchers.

NL pitcher Team Pos 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points BTP Rank
1 Max Scherzer Nationals pi sp 25 3 1 1 192 25.7 1
2 Jon Lester Cubs pi sp 1 16 9 2 102 22.1 3
3 Kyle Hendricks Cubs pi sp 2 7 8 7 5 85 13.4 10
4 Madison Bumgarner Giants pi sp 2 6 7 6 46 13.0 12
5 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers pi sp 2 1 5 3 30 24.4 2
6 Johnny Cueto Giants pi sp 3 3 4 19 16.4 5
7 Jose Fernandez Marlins pi sp 1 1 1 9 18 22.4 3†
8 Noah Syndergard Mets pi sp 1 1 3 2 15 16.7 4
9 Jake Arrieta Cubs pi sp 1 2 15.7 6
10 Tanner Roark Nationals pi sp 1 1 12.7 14
BTP: Box-Toppers points
† When Jose Fernandez died Sept. 25, his Box-Toppers point total was removed from the Marlins’ team total the same as any other player who is released or no longer on the team. When that happened, he was no longer ranked among NL pitchers. However, his 22.4 points would rank third among NL pitchers for 2016. That also means all other NL pitchers ranked third or below would rank one spot lower for the season. For example, Jon Lester, ranked third, would rank fourth.

American League Cy Young Award voting

Rick Porcello of the Red Sox was voted AL Cy Young Award winner for the league’s top pitcher. Below are the AL pitchers in order of their voting finish, shown with their first- through fifth-place votes and their voting points total. Also shown are each player’s Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for 2016 and their rank in points among AL pitchers.

AL pitcher Team Pos 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points BTP Rank
1 Rick Porcello Red Sox pi sp 8 18 2 1 1 137 8.0 31
2 Justin Verlander Tigers pi sp 14 2 5 4 3 132 14.7 4
3 Corey Kluber Indians pi sp 3 6 12 8 1 98 21.2 1
4 Zach Britton Orioles pi cp 5 3 2 5 9 72 5.0 59
5 Chris Sale White Sox pi sp 1 4 9 6 40 13.4 6
6 J.A. Happ Blue Jays pi sp 3 2 1 14 14.7 3
7 Aaron Sanchez Blue Jays pi sp 1 3 6 10.7 19
7 Masahiro Tanaka Yankees pi sp 1 4 6 14.1 5
9 Andrew Miller Indians* pi cp mr
3 8.0 32
10 Michael Fulmer Tigers pi sp 1 1 12.7 7
10 Jose Quintana White Sox pi sp 1 1 10.4 20
BTP: Box-Toppers points
* Andrew Miller finished the season with the Indians. He was traded from the Yankees July 31.