A look at Box-Toppers' top 100 players for 2016

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 2016

Here are Box-Toppers Top 100 players of 2016, ranked by Box-Toppers points (BTP).

Player Pos Team 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
What are those numbers after players' names?
* 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
  • 2—Shortstop
  • 2—Catcher
  • 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.)