For second straight year, Boston Red Sox projected to be Box-Toppers' most improved team

Box-Toppers projects the Boston Red Sox to be the most improved team in baseball in 2016.

But Box-Toppers also projected the Red Sox to be the most improved team going into 2015, a prediction that didn’t quite pan out.

Projecting the Red Sox

For the second straight year, the Boston Red Sox are projected by Box-Toppers to be baseball’s most improved team. Their 2015 rise wasn’t as great as projected. Here are Box-Toppers’ preseason rankings for the Red Sox from 2014 to 2016, including their projected Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for the season and their rank among all 30 teams, followed by their actual Box-Toppers point total and rank at the end of each season.  

BTP Rank BTP Rank
2014 121.7 4th 68.7 30th
2015 92.0 17th 77.6 23rd
2016 103.9 10th ? ?

Both years the prediction happened because the Red Sox had a previous lackluster season followed by an active offseason in which it picked up star players.

This year, the Red Sox picked up 26.3 Box-Toppers points in the offseason, mainly on the strength of signing free agent pitcher David Price, who had 21.1 Box-Toppers points in 2015 with the Tigers and the Blue Jays, second among American League pitchers.

At the end of 2015, the Red Sox ranked 23rd among the 30 teams in Box-Toppers points. They are now ranked 10th in preseason standings. Last year, they finished fifth in the AL East with 78 wins. This year, Box-Toppers projects them to finish in second (to the Toronto Blue Jays) with 95 wins and earn a wild-card spot.

But Box-Toppers also projected a big Red Sox jump going into 2015, which didn’t quite happen. At the end of 2014, the Red Sox ranked 30th in Box-Toppers team rankings. But in the offseason, they made winter moves and signings that gave them a net gain of 23.3 points. Among Red Sox additions going into 2015 were pitchers Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson and batters Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. None of those players matched their Box-Toppers point totals from 2014 in 2015.

Those additions helped the Red Sox rise to 17th place in Box-Toppers preseason team rankings in 2015. However, they foundered and finished 2015 ranked 23rd—an improvement from 2014, but not as great as the projected improvement. Box-Toppers projected them having 85 wins in 2015—they fell seven wins short.

In addition to Price, the Red Sox picked up other notable players going into the 2016 season—outfielder Chris B. Young (who had 4.5 Box-Toppers points with the Yankees in 2015) and closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel (who had 6.0 points with the Padres in 2015).

About Box-Toppers—Box-Toppers points are a measure of how much a player provides key contributions to his team’s wins. 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.

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