Max Scherzer tops Box-Toppers list of the top 100 players in 2016.
The Nationals pitcher had 25.7 Box-Toppers points during the regular season, which is the 20th-highest single-season point total since 1995, when Box-Toppers tracking began.
Top 100 players of 2016Here are Box-Toppers Top 100 players of 2016, ranked by Box-Toppers points (BTP).
|1||Scherzer, Max 2588||pi sp||dc nl||25.7|
|2||Kershaw, Clayton 2494||pi sp||lad nl||24.4|
|3||Fernandez, Jose 3147||pi sp||died*||22.4|
|4||Lester, Jon 2173||pi sp||chi nl||22.1|
|5||Kluber, Corey 3200||pi sp||cle al||21.2|
|6||Hamels, Cole 2135||pi sp||tex al||17.8|
|7||Syndergaard, Noah 3472||pi sp||nym nl||16.7|
|8||Cueto, Johnny 2400||pi sp||sf nl||16.4|
|9||Arrieta, Jake 2738||pi sp||chi nl||15.7|
|10||Strasburg, Stephen 2736||pi sp||dc nl||15.1|
|11||Happ, J.A. 2536||pi sp||tor al||14.7|
|12||Verlander, Justin 2112||pi sp||det al||14.7|
|13||Hill, Rich 2215||pi sp||lad nl||14.4|
|14||Tanaka, Masahiro 3305||pi sp||nyy al||14.1|
|15||Sale, Chris 2806||pi sp||chi al||13.4|
|16||Lackey, John 1640||pi sp||chi nl||13.4|
|17||Hendricks, Kyle 3386||pi sp||chi nl||13.4|
|18||Hellickson, Jeremy 2778||pi sp||phi nl||13.1|
|19||Bumgarner, Madison 2753||pi sp||sf nl||13.0|
|20||Hammel, Jason 2235||pi sp||chi nl||13.0|
|21||Machado, Manny 3087||3b ss||bal al||12.7|
|22||Roark, Tanner 3261||pi sp||dc nl||12.7|
|23||Fulmer, Michael 3640||pi sp||det al||12.7|
|24||Salazar, Danny 3223||pi sp||cle al||12.5|
|25||Trout, Mike 2949||cf||ana al||12.5|
|26||Altuve, Jose 3007||2b||hou al||12.5|
|27||Price, David 2593||pi sp||bos al||12.4|
|28||Carrasco, Carlos 2885||pi sp||cle al||12.4|
|29||Martinez, Carlos 3371||pi sp||stl nl||12.4|
|30||Pomeranz, Drew 3061||pi sp||bos al||12.4|
|31||Moore, Matt 2975||pi sp||sf nl||12.4|
|32||Matz, Steven 3516||pi sp||nym nl||12.1|
|33||Cabrera, Miguel 1776||1b||det al||12.0|
|34||Bauer, Trevor 3065||pi sp||cle al||11.4|
|35||Santiago, Hector 3109||pi sp||min al||11.4|
|36||Nolasco, Ricky 2125||pi sp||ana al||11.4|
|37||Estrada, Marco 2847||pi sp||tor al||11.0|
|38||Wieters, Matt 2643||ca||bal al||11.0|
|39||Gausman, Kevin 3191||pi sp||bal al||10.8|
|40||McHugh, Collin 3316||pi sp||hou al||10.7|
|41||Samardzija, Jeff 2495||pi sp||sf nl||10.7|
|42||Arenado, Nolan 3306||3b||col nl||10.7|
|43||Teheran, Julio 3176||pi sp||atl nl||10.7|
|44||Duffy, Danny 2915||pi sp||kc al||10.7|
|45||Sanchez, Aaron 3392||pi sp||tor al||10.7|
|46||Bryant, Kris 3465||lf 3b rf||chi nl||10.5|
|47||Braun, Ryan J. 2300||lf||mil nl||10.5|
|48||Martin, Russell 2202||ca||tor al||10.5|
|49||Votto, Joey 2366||1b||cin nl||10.5|
|50||Quintana, Jose 3040||pi sp||chi al||10.4|
|51||Darvish, Yu 3003||pi sp||tex al||10.4|
|52||Wainwright, Adam 2150||pi sp||stl nl||10.2|
|53||Kennedy, Ian 2723||pi sp||kc al||10.0|
|54||Maeda, Kenta 3609||pi sp||lad nl||10.0|
|55||deGrom, Jacob 3343||pi sp||nym nl||9.7|
|56||Greinke, Zack 1871||pi sp||ari nl||9.7|
|57||Donaldson, Josh 3144||3b||tor al||9.7|
|58||Myers, Wil 3228||1b||sd nl||9.7|
|59||Beltre, Adrian 1141||3b||tex al||9.5|
|60||Carpenter, Matt 2987||3b 1b 2b||stl nl||9.5|
|61||Seager, Kyle 3031||3b||sea al||9.5|
|62||Carter, Chris 2828||1b||mil nl||9.5|
|63||Andrus, Elvis 2582||ss||tex al||9.2|
|64||Gonzalez, Miguel 3062||pi sp||chi al||9.1|
|65||Archer, Chris 3194||pi sp||tb al||9.0|
|66||Colome, Alex 3189||pi cp||tb al||9.0|
|67||Nicasio, Juan 2888||pi mr sp||pit nl||9.0|
|68||Guerra, Junior 3633||pi sp||mil nl||9.0|
|69||Kazmir, Scott 1947||pi sp||lad nl||8.7|
|70||Hosmer, Eric 2886||1b||kc al||8.5|
|71||Morales, Kendrys 2142||dh||kc al||8.5|
|72||Martinez, Victor 1695||dh||det al||8.5|
|73||Bruce, Jay 2453||rf||nym nl||8.5|
|74||Suarez, Eugenio 3355||3b||cin nl||8.5|
|75||Colon, Bartolo||pi sp||nym nl||8.4|
|76||Wright, Steven 3224||pi sp||bos al||8.4|
|77||Trumbo, Mark 2851||rf||bal al||8.2|
|78||Liriano, Francisco 2104||pi sp||tor al||8.0|
|79||Cespedes, Yoenis 3008||cf lf||nym nl||8.0|
|80||Encarnacion, Edwin 2098||dh 1b||tor al||8.0|
|81||Garcia, Jaime 2508||pi sp||stl nl||8.0|
|82||Rodon, Carlos 3494||pi sp||chi al||8.0|
|83||Familia, Jeurys 3446||pi cp||nym nl||8.0|
|84||Pujols, Albert 1438||dh 1b||ana al||8.0|
|85||LeMahieu, DJ 3091||2b||col nl||8.0|
|86||Cano, Robinson 2092||2b||sea al||8.0|
|87||Kimbrel, Craig 2825||pi cp||bos al||8.0|
|88||Eickhoff, Jerad 3566||pi sp||phi nl||8.0|
|89||Tillman, Chris 2754||pi sp||bal al||8.0|
|90||Ortiz, David||dh||bos al||8.0|
|91||Porcello, Rick 2573||pi sp||bos al||8.0|
|92||Miller, Andrew 2436||pi cp mr||cle al||8.0|
|93||Nova, Ivan 2796||pi sp||pit nl||8.0|
|94||Velasquez, Vince 3611||pi sp||phi nl||8.0|
|95||Walker, Taijuan 3453||pi sp||sea al||7.7|
|96||Lewis, Colby 1567||pi sp||tex al||7.7|
|97||Correa, Carlos 3506||ss||hou al||7.7|
|98||Tomas, Yasmany 3489||rf lf||ari nl||7.7|
|99||Lee, Dae-Ho 3627||1b||sea al||7.7|
|100||Davis, Chris 2478||1b||bal al||7.5|
* Jose Fernandez, who played for the Miami Marlins, died in a boating accident Sept. 25.
BTP: Box-Toppers points
Scherzer earned his 25.7 Box-Toppers points by being Box-Toppers Player of the Game in 18 of the Nationals wins, earning 1.0 Box-Toppers point each time. In addition, he earned bonus points:
Once for being National League Player of the Game (0.7 extra points).
Seven times for being overall Player of the Game (1.0 extra point each time, for a total of 7.0 more Box-Toppers points).
Scherzer took the Box-Toppers points lead for the season on Aug. 25. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw had led since May 7 and raced to a commanding lead with 20.0 points by the end of June, but went on the disabled list for two months after that, allowing Scherzer to catch and pass him. Kershaw has finished first in Box-Toppers player rankings three of the past six years (2011, 2013 and 2014). He finished second in player rankings in 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Finishing third in Box-Toppers player rankings for the season was Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident Sept. 25. Fernandez had 22.4 Box-Toppers points and ranked as high as second in the closing weeks of the season and was one of the few players who had a chance to pass Scherzer for the lead going into the season’s final week.
It took 7.5 Box-Toppers points for a player to make the top 100 list—Orioles first baseman Chris Davis took the 100th spot with 7.5 points. He earned them by being Player of the Game in seven of the Orioles wins, including being American League Batter of the Day once (earning an extra 0.5 bonus point), giving him 7.5 total points.
Box-Toppers points are a measure of how much a player provides key contributions to his teams win. 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.
Here are some other highlights from the top 100 list:
- 3. Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez had the biggest gain in Box-Toppers points from 2015 to 2016. In 2015, he had 4.7 Box-Toppers points as he was returning from 2014 Tommy John surgery. In 2016, he had 22.4 points, a gain of 17.7 from the previous season. As previously mentioned, Fernandez was killed in the final week of the season, making it sadly ironic that the comeback player of the year for 2016 is the one player who has gone away and cannot come back.
- 4., 9., 16., 17. and 20. The Chicago Cubs top five starting pitchers were among the top 20 overall players in Box-Toppers player rankings. Jon Lester ranked fourth (22.1 Box-Toppers points), Jake Arrieta ranked ninth (15.7 points), John Lackey ranked 16th (13.4), Kyle Hendricks ranked 17th (13.4) and Jason Hammel ranked 20th (13.0). Lester was the overall top-ranked player in 2010 when he was with the Red Sox (23.4 Box-Toppers points). Arrieta was 2015’s overall top-ranked player (29.1 points). And Hammel, though he was ranked as 13th-best pitcher in the National League, didn’t even make postseason rosters for the Cubs because they used a four-man rotation. Hammel’s 13.0 Box-Toppers points was more than the top-ranked player on 18 different teams in 2016.
- 5. Indians pitcher Corey Kluber had 21.2 Box-Toppers points, the clear leader among AL pitchers, ahead of sixth-place AL pitcher Cole Hamels of the Rangers (17.8) by 3.4 Box-Toppers points.
- 21. Manny Machado of the Orioles led AL batters in Box-Toppers points with 12.7 and by Box-Toppers measures, would be the leading candidate for AL Most Valuable Player. Machado’s 12.7 point total to lead AL batters came close to breaking the all-time low for AL batters (set in 2015, when Adrian Beltre of the Rangers led the category with 12.5 points). While Machado escaped setting an all-time low, his 12.7 is the seventh-lowest total to lead a category in Box-Toppers’ 22-year history, the third-lowest among AL batting leaders.
- 23. Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer had 12.7 Box-Toppers points, most among AL rookies, making him Box-Toppers’ leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year.
- 25. Mike Trout of the Angels was the second-highest ranking batter in Box-Toppers points behind Machado with 12.5. Trout is a perennial candidate for AL MVP, even this year when his Angels were fourth in the AL West at 74-88.
- 42. Nolan Arenado of the Rockies led NL batters in Box-Toppers points with 10.7 and by Box-Toppers measures, would be the leading candidate for NL MVP. Arenado’s 10.7 points is the lowest total to lead a category in Box-Toppers’ 22-season history. The previous record was set in 2015 when Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies led NL batters with 11.5 points. Interestingly, prior to that, the record was 2014 when Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies led NL batters with 11.6. So not only has the low-point record been broken three years in a row, it has been broken each time by a batter from the Colorado Rockies.
- 46. Kris Bryant of the Cubs had 10.5 Box-Toppers points, ranked second among NL batters. Bryant is a favorite to win NL MVP and led NL batters in Box-Toppers points from mid-August until late September, when Arenado passed him.
- 54. Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda had 10.0 Box-Toppers points, most among NL rookies, making him Box-Toppers’ leading candidate for NL Rookie of the Year.
- 57. Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays had 9.7 Box-Toppers points. Donaldson was 2015’s AL MVP when he had 9.9 Box-Toppers points, ranked seventh among AL batters.
- 59. Adrian Beltre of the Rangers had 9.5 Box-Toppers points. His 12.5 Box-Toppers points led all AL batters in 2015. He finished eighth among batters in 2016.
Three other players prominent in Box-Toppers player rankings in 2015 did not make the top 100 list in 2016:
- Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel led AL pitchers in Box-Toppers points in 2015 with 21.4 and also won the AL Cy Young Award. In 2016, Keuchel had 7.0 Box-Toppers points, ranked 107th among all players.
- Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies led NL batters in Box-Toppers points in 2015 with 11.5. In 2016, he had 5.5 Box-Toppers points, ranked 180th among all players.
- Bryce Harper of the Nationals won the NL MVP Award in 2015 (he had 9.0 Box-Toppers points, seventh among NL batters). In 2016, he had 3.0 Box-Toppers points, ranked 305th among all players.
Box-Toppers tends to favor pitchers, especially in the short term, so most of the top 100 players are pitchers. In 2016, 67 of the top 100 players are pitchers. In 2015, 69 of the top 100 were pitchers and in 2014, 79 of the top 100 were pitchers. Here is a breakdown of players by their primary position:
- 62—Starting pitcher (in 2015, 63 of the top 100 were starters; in 2014, it was 74)
- 7—Outfield (3 RF, 2 LF, 2 CF)
- 7—Third base
- 7—First base
- 5—Designated hitter
- 4—Closing pitcher
- 3—Second base
- 1—Middle relief pitcher
Three teams each have seven players in the top 100, most of any team: Cubs, Mets and Blue Jays.
Two teams each have six players on the list: Orioles and Red Sox.
Two teams have five players: Indians and Rangers.
Five teams each have just one player on the list: Braves, Twins, Yankees, Padres and though he is not listed with his team because he died in the season’s final days, Jose Fernandez is the only Miami Marlins player on the top 100 list for 2016.
The only team without a representative on the top 100 is the Oakland Athletics. Their top-ranked player is Khris Davis (6.7 Box-Toppers points, ranked 128th). However, the Athletics traded top 100 player Rich Hill to the Dodgers at midseason. The pitcher finished the season with 14.4 Box-Toppers points, ranked 13th among all players.
This season, 730 different players earned Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors. There were 395 players who had more than 2.0 Box-Toppers points and 54 with 10.0 or more points. There were 151 players who made their Box-Toppers debut in 2016, the first time in their career they earned Player of the Game honors.
Here are comparisons with those numbers from the previous two seasons:
- Players earning Player of the Game honors—2015 (751), 2014 (722).
- Players earning more than 2.0 Box-Toppers points—2015 (402), 2014 (399).
- Players earning 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points—2015 (47), 2014 (58).
- Players making their Box-Toppers debut—2015 (172), 2014 (135).
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(Editor’s note: In the chart are references to teams “ana al” and “fla nl,” referring to the Angels and the Marlins. We realize those teams are now known as Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) and the Miami Marlins, but we keep the old abbreviations around since those name changes were largely for marketing or political purposes and involved no substantial change in the actual geography of the team. Plus, change is hard.)