A look at Box-Toppers' top 100 players for 2017

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Chris Sale tops Box-Toppers list of the top 100 players in 2017.

The Red Sox pitcher had 25.1 Box-Toppers points during the regular season, which is the 24th-highest single-season point total since 1995, when Box-Toppers tracking began.

Top 100 players of 2017

Here are Box-Toppers Top 100 players of 2017, ranked by Box-Toppers points (BTP).  
 

Player Pos Team BTP
1 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 25.1
2 Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 25.0
3 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 23.1
4 Strasburg, Stephen 2736 pi sp dc nl 22.5
5 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 22.0
6 Carrasco, Carlos 2885 pi sp cle al 21.8
7 Severino, Luis 3567 pi sp nyy al 21.1
8 Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp ari nl 20.1
9 Santana, Ervin 2005 pi sp min al 16.1
10 Ray, Robbie 3502 pi sp ari nl 16.0
11 Nola, Aaron 3569 pi sp phi nl 15.8
12 deGrom, Jacob 3343 pi sp nym nl 15.7
13 Wood, Alex 3246 pi sp lad nl 15.7
14 Rizzo, Anthony 3063 1b chi nl 15.5
15 Quintana, Jose 3040 pi sp chi nl 15.0
16 Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp hou al 14.7
17 Stanton, Giancarlo 2737 rf fla nl 14.2
18 Nelson, Jimmy 3299 pi sp mil nl 14.0
19 Paxton, James 3280 pi sp sea al 13.7
20 Darvish, Yu 3003 pi sp lad nl 13.0
21 Hill, Rich 2215 pi sp lad nl 12.7
22 Encarnacion, Edwin 2098 dh 1b cle al 12.1
23 Tanaka, Masahiro 3305 pi sp nyy al 11.4
24 Chacin, Jhoulys 2711 pi sp sd nl 11.4
25 Clevinger, Mike 3707 pi sp cle al 11.4
26 Judge, Aaron 3767 rf nyy al 11.2
27 Gausman, Kevin 3191 pi sp bal al 11.1
28 Odorizzi, Jake 3291 pi sp tb al 11.1
29 Samardzija, Jeff 2495 pi sp sf nl 11.0
30 Andrus, Elvis 2582 ss tex al 11.0
31 Godley, Zack 3538 pi sp ari nl 11.0
32 Vargas, Jason 2055 pi sp kc al 11.0
33 Lester, Jon 2173 pi sp chi nl 10.7
34 Gennett, Scooter 3254 2b cin nl 10.7
35 Anderson, Chase 3328 pi sp mil nl 10.4
36 Maeda, Kenta 3609 pi sp lad nl 10.0
37 Bruce, Jay 2453 rf cle al 10.0
38 Ramirez, Jose 3436 3b 2b cle al 10.0
39 Bauer, Trevor 3065 pi sp cle al 9.7
40 Straily, Dan 3080 pi sp fla nl 9.7
41 Gonzalez, Gio 2626 pi sp dc nl 9.7
42 Corbin, Patrick 3027 pi sp ari nl 9.7
43 Healy, Ryon 3685 dh 1b oak al 9.7
44 Martinez, Carlos 3371 pi sp stl nl 9.5
45 Hosmer, Eric 2886 1b kc al 9.5
46 Posey, Buster 2745 ca 1b sf nl 9.5
47 Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp tex al 9.4
48 Keuchel, Dallas 3050 pi sp hou al 9.4
49 McCullers, Lance 3488 pi sp hou al 9.4
50 Bundy, Dylan 3655 pi sp bal al 9.4
51 Arenado, Nolan 3306 3b col nl 9.2
52 Ozuna, Marcell 3190 lf fla nl 9.2
53 McCutchen, Andrew 2637 cf pit nl 9.0
54 Diaz, Edwin 3690 pi cp sea al 9.0
55 Taillon, Jameson 3658 pi sp pit nl 9.0
56 Parra, Gerardo 2746 rf lf col nl 9.0
57 Fowler, Dexter 2698 cf stl nl 9.0
58 Berrios, Jose 3791 pi sp min al 9.0
59 Kimbrel, Craig 2825 pi cp bos al 8.7
60 Odor, Rougned 3336 2b tex al 8.7
61 Rodriguez, Eduardo 3480 pi sp bos al 8.7
62 Richard, Clayton 2584 pi sp sd nl 8.7
63 Lynn, Lance 2992 pi sp stl nl 8.7
64 Bellinger, Cody 3781 1b rf lf lad nl 8.7
65 Sano, Miguel 3527 3b min al 8.5
66 Pomeranz, Drew 3061 pi sp bos al 8.4
67 Chatwood, Tyler 2856 pi sp col nl 8.4
68 Gray, Sonny 3259 pi sp nyy al 8.4
69 Cobb, Alex 2916 pi sp tb al 8.4
70 Castillo, Luis Miguel 3840 pi sp cin nl 8.4
71 Donaldson, Josh 3144 3b tor al 8.0
72 Archer, Chris 3194 pi sp tb al 8.0
73 Shaw, Travis 3544 3b mil nl 8.0
74 Rendon, Anthony 3258 3b dc nl 8.0
75 Reddick, Josh 2936 rf lf cf hou al 8.0
76 Alonso, Yonder 2945 1b sea al 8.0
77 Weaver, Luke 3719 pi sp stl nl 8.0
78 Grichuk, Randal 3474 rf stl nl 8.0
79 Holland, Greg 2906 pi cp col nl 8.0
80 Iglesias, Jose 3532 ss det al 8.0
81 Pivetta, Nick 3825 pi sp phi nl 8.0
82 Sabathia, C.C. 1492 pi sp nyy al 7.7
83 Morton, Charlie 2503 pi sp hou al 7.7
84 Bridwell, Parker 3844 pi sp ana al 7.7
85 Murphy, Daniel 2589 2b dc nl 7.5
86 Upton, Justin 2411 lf ana al 7.5
87 Moss, Brandon 2520 dh kc al 7.5
88 Perez, Salvador 2972 ca kc al 7.5
89 Altherr, Aaron 3563 lf rf cf phi nl 7.5
90 Manaea, Sean 3637 pi sp oak al 7.4
91 Goldschmidt, Paul 2935 1b ari nl 7.4
92 Peacock, Brad 2968 pi sp hou al 7.4
93 Zimmerman, Ryan 2180 1b dc nl 7.2
94 Benintendi, Andrew 3815 lf bos al 7.2
95 Mancini, Trey 3766 lf 1b bal al 7.2
96 Machado, Manny 3087 3b bal al 7.0
97 Roark, Tanner 3261 pi sp dc nl 7.0
98 Gonzalez, Miguel 3062 pi sp tex al 7.0
99 Nova, Ivan 2796 pi sp pit nl 7.0
100 Correa, Carlos 3506 ss hou al 7.0
What are those numbers after players' names?
BTG—Box-Toppers game score

Sale earned his 25.1 Box-Toppers points by being Box-Toppers Player of the Game in 15 of the Red Sox wins, earning 1.0 Box-Toppers point each time. In addition, he earned bonus points:

  • Three times for being American League Player of the Game (0.7 extra points each time, for a total of 2.1 more Box-Toppers points).
  • Eight times for being overall Player of the Game (1.0 extra point each time, for a total of 8.0 more Box-Toppers points).

Sale took the Box-Toppers points lead for the season on Sept. 20.

Early in the season, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw surged to an early, dominant lead. At the All-Star break, Kershaw had 21.1 Box-Toppers points and was on pace to break the all-time, single-season record of 33.7 points set by Randy Johnson in both 2000 and 2002. But Kershaw went on the disabled list for five weeks on July 24 and only earned 2.0 more Box-Toppers points in the final half of the season. Still, he finished third overall with 23.1 Box-Toppers points.

Kershaw has finished first in Box-Toppers player rankings in 2011, 2013 and 2014. He finished second in player rankings in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer finished just 0.1 point behind Sale with 25.0 Box-Toppers points and is the top-ranked National League player. It is tied for the second-closest race in Box-Toppers’ 23 seasons of tracking players:

  • In 2010, in the closest race for Box-Toppers Player of the Year, Jon Lester of the Red Sox and Roy Halladay of the Phillies both had 23.4 Box-Toppers points. Lester ranked ahead of Halladay on a tiebreaker—he had more Box-Toppers points in the previous season (2009), 19.8 vs. 16.4.
  • In 1999, Randy Johnson of the Diamondbacks (31.5) finished 0.1 point ahead of second-place player Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox (31.4).

Though Scherzer finished in second so close behind the leader, he only occupied Box-Toppers top spot in 2017 for five days during the season, from Aug. 28 to Aug. 31 and on Sept. 19.

Scherzer earned Player of the Game honors 18 times (three more than Box-Toppers leader Sale). Scherzer earned Box-Toppers bonus points seven times, each time as overall Player of the Day (worth 1.0 extra Box-Toppers point, giving him 7.0 more points).

Scherzer won the 2016 NL Cy Young Award (he led all players in 2016 with 25.7 Box-Toppers points) and is among the three finalists for the honor this year.

It took 7.0 Box-Toppers points for a player to make the top 100 list—Astros shortstop Carlos Correa took the 100th spot with 7.0 points. He earned them by being Player of the Game in five of the Astros wins, including being American League Batter of the Day four times (earning an extra 0.5 bonus points each time), giving him 7.0 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:

2017 lead changes

Here are the season’s lead changes among players in Box-Toppers points. Chart shows the date and the player’s Box-Toppers point (BTP) total when they took the lead.  

Date Player Team BTP
4/2 Carlos Martinez stl nl 2.0
4/3 Clayton Kershaw lad nl 2.0
4/9 Noah Syndergaard nym nl 3.0
4/14 Clayton Kershaw lad nl 4.0
4/15 Ervin Santana min al 4.7
4/19 Clayton Kershaw lad nl 5.0
5/2 Chris Sale bos al 6.7
5/6 Clayton Kershaw lad nl 7.0
5/12 Ervin Santana min al 7.7
5/13 Chris Sale bos al 8.4
5/17 Clayton Kershaw lad nl 8.7
8/28 Max Scherzer dc nl 23.0
9/1 Clayton Kershaw lad nl 23.1
9/19 Max Scherzer dc nl 24.0
9/20 Chris Sale bos al 25.1
  • 3., 13., 20., and 21. The Los Angeles Dodgers top four starting pitchers were among the top 21 overall players in Box-Toppers player rankings. Kershaw, previously mentioned, ranked third (23.1 Box-Toppers points), Alex Wood ranked 13th (15.7), Yu Darvish ranked 20th (13.0) and Rich Hill ranked 21st (12.7). It should be noted that Darvish spent the first half of the season with the Texas Rangers before being traded to the Dodgers at the July trading deadline and earned 7.0 Box-Toppers points prior to that. While having Dodgers starters occupy four of the top 21 spots is impressive, last year’s Chicago Cubs had five starting pitchers among 2016’s top 20 overall players.
  • 5. Indians pitcher Corey Kluber led all AL pitchers in Box-Toppers points in 2016 with 21.2, ranked second among AL pitchers in 2017 (and fifth overall) with 22.0 points. Kluber is one of three finalists for the AL Cy Young Award.
  • 14. Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs led all batters with 15.5 Box-Toppers points. Rizzo has the second-highest Box-Toppers point total by a batter in the past six seasons, a period in which batters’ Box-Toppers point totals have been declining. The only batter since 2012 with a higher single-season Box-Toppers point total than Rizzo’s 2017 total is Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers who had 16.9 in 2013. Despite his high Box-Toppers point total, Rizzo is not among the three finalists for the NL Most Valuable Player award.
  • 17. Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins ranks second among NL batters, behind Rizzo, with 14.2 Box-Toppers points. Stanton has the fourth-highest Box-Toppers point total by a batter in the past six seasons. He has the most Box-Toppers points among the three finalists for NL Most Valuable Player.
  • 22. Edwin Encarnacion of the Indians ranks first among AL batters with 12.1 Box-Toppers points, which is the lowest Box-Toppers point total to lead AL batters since player tracking began in 1995. The lowest point total to lead a season category is 10.7 by Nolan Arenado of the Rockies in 2016, when he led NL batters. While Encarnacion leads AL batters in Box-Toppers points, he is not among the three finalists listed by baseball writers for the AL MVP award.
  • 26. Aaron Judge of the Yankees ranks second among AL batters with 11.2 Box-Toppers points. He has the most Box-Toppers points among the three finalists for AL Most Valuable Player. He also has the most Box-Toppers points among AL rookies and has the most points among the three finalists for AL Rookie of the Year.
  • 51. Nolan Arenado of the Rockies, last year’s Box-Toppers points leader among NL batters (10.7), ranks fifth among NL batters in 2017 with 9.2 points.
  • 64. Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers leads NL rookies with 8.7 Box-Toppers points and is one of three finalists for NL Rookie of the Year. Bellinger ranks 10th among NL batters.
  • 96. Manny Machado of the Orioles led AL batters in Box-Toppers points in 2016 with 12.7. In 2017, he had 7.0 points, 19th among AL batters.

Other notable players not among the top 100:

  • Ranked 129th—Kris Bryant of the Cubs was NL Most Valuable Player in 2016, when he earned 10.5 Box-Toppers points, second among NL batters. In 2017, he earned 6.0 points, 24th among NL batters, his lowest total in his three seasons.
  • Ranked 186th—Mike Trout of the Angels was AL Most Valuable Player in 2016, when he earned 12.5 Box-Toppers points, second among AL batters. In 2017, he earned 5.0 points, 45th among AL batters, his lowest point total since 2013, when he had 3.5 points.
  • Ranked 322nd—Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello was 2016’s AL Cy Young Award winner. But Porcello had just 8.0 Box-Toppers points in 2016, 31st among AL pitchers and 91st among all players. In 2017, he had just 3.0 Box-Toppers points, 83rd among AL pitchers. 
  • Ranked 387th—Jose Altuve of the Astros is odds-on-favorite to win the 2017 AL Most Valuable Player, but did not earn many Box-Toppers points this season—just 2.5, earning Player of the Game honors only twice. He ranked 90th among AL batters in 2017 Box-Toppers points.

Box-Toppers tends to favor pitchers, especially in the short term, so most of the top 100 players are pitchers. However, each year for the past four years the number of pitchers in the top 100 has declined:

  • In 2017, 63 of the top 100 players are pitchers.
  • In 2016, it was 67 of 100.
  • In 2015, 69 of 100.
  • And in 2014, 79 of 100.

Here is a breakdown of this year’s top 100 players by their primary position:

  • 60—Starting pitcher 
  • 13—Outfield (6 RF, 5 LF, 2 CF)
  • 7—Third base
  • 6—First base
  • 3—Designated hitter
  • 3—Closing pitcher
  • 3—Second base
  • 3—Shortstop
  • 2—Catcher

Three teams each have seven players in the top 100, most of any team: Indians, Nationals and Astros.

The Dodgers have six players on the list.

Four teams have five players: Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Yankees and Cardinals.

Four teams each have just one player on the list: Reds, Tigers, Mets and Blue Jays.

Two teams have no representatives in the top 100: The Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves. The Braves’ top-ranked player is outfielder Ender Inciarte (6.5 Box-Toppers points, ranked 119th). The White Sox’ top-ranked player is outfielder Avisail Garcia (6.7 Box-Toppers points, ranked 113th).

 •

This season, 763 different players earned Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors. There were 409 players who had more than 2.0 Box-Toppers points and 38 with 10.0 or more points. There were 169 players who made their Box-Toppers debut in 2017, earning Player of the Game honors for the first time.

Here are comparisons with those numbers from the previous two seasons:

  • Players earning Player of the Game honors—2016 (730), 2015 (751), 2014 (722).
  • Players earning more than 2.0 Box-Toppers points—2016 (395), 2015 (402), 2014 (399).
  • Players earning 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points—2016 (54), 2015 (47), 2014 (58).
  • Players making their Box-Toppers debut—2016 (151), 2015 (172), 2014 (135).

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.

(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.)