Wins leaders generally coincide with overall Box-Toppers points leaders

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Three of the four pitchers who led the Major Leagues in wins in 2017 are among Box-Toppers’ top 10 players for the season.

Wins leaders’ Box-Toppers points

Here is how 2017 wins (W) leaders fared in Box-Toppers points. Players are listed by most wins. Also shown are their 2017 Box-Toppers points (BTP) and their rank in Box-Toppers points among all players.
 

Player Team W BTP Rank
1 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 18 23.1 3
1 Corey Kluber Indians 18 22.0 5
1 Carlos Carrasco Indians 18 21.8 6
1 Jason Vargas Royals 18 11.0 32
5 Chris Sale Red Sox 17 25.1 1
5 Zack Greinke Dbacks 17 20.1 8
5 Trevor Bauer Indians 17 9.7 39
5 Drew Pomeranz Red Sox 17 8.4 66
5 Zach Davies Brewers 17 6.7 112
10 Max Scherzer Nationals 16 25.0 2
10 Ervin Santana Twins 16 16.1 9
10 Alex Wood Dodgers 16 15.7 13
BTP: Box-Toppers points

And seven of the top 12 pitchers in wins in 2017 are among Box-Toppers’ top 10-ranked players.

Four pitchers led the Majors this season, each with 18 wins. They were:

  • Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, who ranked third in Box-Toppers points with 23.1, second among National League pitchers.
  • Corey Kluber of the Indians, who ranked fifth in Box-Toppers points with 22.0, second among American League pitchers.
  • Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, who ranked sixth in Box-Toppers points with 21.8, third among AL pitchers.
  • And Jason Vargas of the Royals, who ranked 32nd in Box-Toppers points with 11.0, 12th among AL pitchers. Vargas is the only one among the four to rank outside the overall top 10 and to have fewer than 20 Box-Toppers points for the season.

Vargas was Box-Toppers Player of the Game in nine of his 18 wins (including earning Player of the Day honors, worth 2.0 Box-Toppers points, twice). In the other nine wins, another Royals player beat him out for Player of the Game. Vargas earned the win in seven straight starts from May 27 to June 30.

By comparison, Kershaw, who also had 18 wins, was Player of the Game in 13 of his wins and was also Player of the Game in two games in which he earned no decision. In both of those games—on May 23 and June 2—Kershaw also earned Player of the Day honors despite not earning the win.

In addition to Kershaw, Kluber and Carrasco, four other pitchers who were among the top 12 in wins for the season also ranked among Box-Toppers’ overall top 10 players in 2017:

  • Chris Sale of the Red Sox, who ranked tied for fifth in wins with 17, led all players in Box-Toppers points in 2017 with 25.1.
  • Zack Greinke of the Diamondbacks, who ranked tied for fifth in wins with 17, ranked eighth among all players with 20.1 Box-Toppers points, fourth among NL pitchers.
  • Max Scherzer of the Nationals, who ranked tied for 10th in wins with 16, ranked second among all players in Box-Toppers points in 2017 with 25.0, first among NL pitchers.
  • Ervin Santana of the Twins, who ranked tied for 10th in wins with 16, ranked ninth among all players in Box-Toppers points in 2017 with 16.1, fifth among AL pitchers.

Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals is Box-Toppers’ highest-ranked player who does not appear among the top 12 in wins for 2017. Strasburg ranked fourth in Box-Toppers points with 22.5, but ranked tied for 13th in wins with 15.

Eleven of the 12 players with 16 or more wins in 2017 also ranked among the top 100 overall players in Box-Toppers points. The only player with 16 or more wins who ranked outside the top 100 is Zach Davies of the Brewers. Davies had 17 wins, tied for fifth in wins, but had just 6.7 Box-Toppers points, ranking 112th among all players and 39th among NL pitchers.

Since Box-Toppers points are awarded to the top player in a game, it can be seen as almost equivalent to the win statistic for pitchers, with a few key differences. First any player in the game—pitcher or batter—is eligible to earn Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors. Second, because a pitcher can earn bonus points for being top overall player for the day (1.0 bonus point) or their league’s top pitcher of the day (0.7 bonus points), they may wind up with more Box-Toppers points than wins. And third, pitchers can earn Box-Toppers points even when they earn no decision.

Still, Box-Toppers point totals should roughly coincide with a pitcher’s win total. For example, Ervin Santana of the Twins had 16 wins and 16.1 Box-Toppers points. He had a positive differential in Box-Toppers points to wins of +0.1. It would appear that Ervin won Player of the Game honors (worth 1.0 Box-Toppers points) in each win. But that wasn’t actually the case. Santana actually earned Player of the Game honors 11 times during the season—10 times in wins and once earning a no decision in a Twins win. Santana earned AL Player of the Day honors three times (each worth 1.7 total points) and overall Player of the Day three times (each worth 2.0 total points).

Among the 12 wins leaders, Davies of the Brewers had the biggest negative differential between Box-Toppers points and wins (-10.3). Davies had 17 wins and just 6.7 Box-Toppers points. Scherzer of the Nationals had the biggest positive differential between Box-Toppers points and wins (+9.0). Scherzer had 16 wins and 25.0 Box-Toppers points.

What does this tell us? Here’s my take. A player with more Box-Toppers points than wins more likely contributed more to his team’s wins. A player with fewer Box-Toppers points than wins more likely was not the key reason his team won the games. In this case, it is more likely that other players’ contributions were more integral in earning the win and often, the pitcher just happened to exit the game with the lead, doing just enough to earn the win.

In other words, the higher the positive differential between Box-Toppers points and wins (such as Scherzer’s +9.0), the more sincere and deserved those wins are for the pitcher.

Seven of the top 12 wins leaders had more Box-Toppers points than wins:

  • Scherzer +9.0 (25.0 Box-Toppers points, 16 wins).
  • Sale +8.1 (25.1 Box-Toppers points, 17 wins).
  • Kershaw +5.0. (23.1 Box-Toppers points, 18 wins).
  • Kluber +4.0 (22.0 Box-Toppers points, 18 wins).
  • Carrasco +3.8 (21.8 Box-Toppers points, 18 wins).
  • Greinke +3.1 (20.1 Box-Toppers points, 17 wins).
  • Santana +0.1 (16.1 Box-Toppers points, 16 wins).

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.

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