Box-Toppers top designated hitters by time frameHere are the top designated hitters in Box-Toppers points (BTP) over the past season (2016), the past two seasons (2015-16), the past six seasons (2011-16) and “all-time”—the past 22 seasons (since 1995, when Box-Toppers tracking began). For the most recent seasons, the top five designated hitters in the American League are shown. (While National League players serve as designated hitters in interleague games, it’s generally not their primary position, so there are no separate standings for NL designated hitters.) For the “all-time” rankings, the top five overall designated hitters (including retired players) are shown at left and the top five active designated hitters in career Box-Toppers points are shown at right. Some players played more than one position, but even if their primary position was not designated hitter, they are listed here.
|1||Morales, Kendrys 2142||dh||kc al||8.5|
|2||Martinez, Victor 1695||dh||det al||8.5|
|3||Encarnacion, Edwin 2098||dh 1b||tor al||8.0|
|4||Pujols, Albert 1438||dh 1b||ana al||8.0|
|5||Ortiz, David||dh||bos al||8.0|
|1||Encarnacion, Edwin 2098||dh 1b||tor al||18.4|
|2||Pujols, Albert 1438||dh 1b||ana al||15.0|
|3||Morales, Kendrys 2142||dh||kc al||13.2|
|4||Ortiz, David||dh||bos al||12.5|
|5||Martinez, Victor 1695||dh||det al||12.0|
|1||Encarnacion, Edwin 2098||dh 1b||tor al||46.6|
|2||Pujols, Albert 1438||dh 1b||ana al||45.0|
|3||Ortiz, David||dh||bos al||43.9|
|4||Cruz, Nelson 2224||dh||sea al||34.2|
|5||Martinez, Victor 1695||dh||det al||31.9|
|All players (including retired)|
|1||Pujols, Albert 1438||dh 1b||ana al||182.3|
|2||thome, jim||1b dh||Retired||146.7|
|3||Ortiz, David||dh||bos al||145.9|
|4||thomas, frank||dh 1b||Retired||106.2|
|5||Beltran, Carlos 1194||dh rf||tex al||104.9|
|All active players|
|1||Pujols, Albert 1438||dh 1b||ana al||182.3|
|2||Ortiz, David||dh||bos al||145.9|
|3||Beltran, Carlos 1194||dh rf||tex al||104.9|
|4||Holliday, Matt 1836||lf 1b dh||stl nl||97.8|
|5||Morneau, Justin 1900||dh 1b||chi al||74.3|
Active players are shown on the team with whom they finished the 2016 season.
Albert Pujols of the Angels has the most Box-Toppers points of any designated hitter since tracking began in 1995.
Pujols, who has played from 2001 to the present for the Cardinals and the Angels, has 182.3 career Box-Toppers points. He also leads all active designated hitters in points.
Meanwhile, Kendrys Morales of the Royals narrowly led American League designated hitters in Box-Toppers points during the past season and Edwin Encarnacion led AL designated hitters over the past two seasons and past six seasons.
The chart adjacent to this post shows the top five designated hitters over several time frames—over the past season (2016), the past two seasons (2015-16), the past six seasons (2011-16) and “all-time”—the past 22 seasons (since 1995, when Box-Toppers tracking began). For the most recent seasons, the top five American League designated hitters are shown. (While National League players serve as designated hitters in interleague games, it’s generally not their primary position, so there are no separate standings for NL designated hitters.) For the “all-time” rankings, the top five overall designated hitters (including retired players) are shown along with the top five active designated hitters in career Box-Toppers points.
Pujols ranks among the top five designated hitters in all five of the charts here. In addition to leading designated hitters in Box-Toppers points since 1995 when tracking began and leading all active players in career points, Pujols also ranks fourth among AL designated hitters in the past season (8.0 in 2016), second among AL designated hitters in the the past two seasons (15.0 over 2015-16) and second among AL designated hitters in the the past six seasons (45.0 over 2011-16).
Pujols is listed as a designated hitter because that was his primary position in 2016. But throughout his career, he was primarily a first baseman (especially during the 11 seasons he played in the National League on the St. Louis Cardinals). In 2016, he played 123 games as a designated hitter and 28 at first base. He earned Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors seven times in 2016, five times at designated hitter and twice at first base. But because he still played first base in 25 percent or more of the games in which he earned Player of the Game honors, he is also listed as a first baseman. And because of that, Pujols also leads all first basemen in Box-Toppers points since 1995 and all active first basemen in career points.
Pujols’ 182.3 career Box-Toppers points ranks seventh among all players and second among all batters since 1995.
Alex Rodriguez probably should be listed as the top designated hitter in Box-Toppers points since 1995—and even the top active designated hitter in career points. He had 187.0 points, putting him 4.7 points ahead of Pujols. Rodriguez was primarily a designated hitter during 2015 and 2016 and was listed as Box-Toppers’ top “all-time” designated hitter until he was released by the Yankees in August. Normally when players are merely released, they maintain their status at whatever position they last primarily played. But when Rodriguez, 41, was released, Box-Toppers—perhaps prematurely—treated it as a retirement. And when that happens, a player’s position is reverted to whatever spot they played primarily throughout their entire career. For Rodriguez, that was third base.
So when A-Rod was released, he lost his status as Box-Toppers “all-time” leader among designated hitters, active leader among designated hitters in career points and active leader among all players in career points. But it’s not entirely clear Rodriguez is done playing. Should another team sign him, it will likely be at DH and if that happens, he will resume his top spots atop Box-Toppers’ charts.
Morales of the Royals led all designated hitters in Box-Toppers points in 2016, but his lead was extremely narrow. In fact, his 8.5 Box-Toppers points in 2016 was the same as Victor Martinez of the Tigers, but Morales ranks ahead of Martinez because he had more 2015 Box-Toppers points—4.7 vs. 3.5. Further, Morales was only 0.5 points ahead of the designated hitters ranked third, fourth and fifth. Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays, Pujols and David Ortiz of the Red Sox all earned 8.0 Box-Toppers points in 2016. Their tie was similarly broken by their 2015 Box-Toppers point totals—Encarnacion ranks third because he had 10.4 in 2015, Pujols was fourth with 7.0 and Ortiz was fifth with 4.5.
Morales also ranks third among designated hitters over the past two seasons (13.2 over 2015-16).
Encarnacion ranks first among designated hitters over the past two seasons (18.4 over 2015-16) and first over the past six seasons (46.6 over 2011-16). He ranked third in 2016.
Encarnacion played for the Blue Jays at the close of 2016 but has signed with the Indians for 2017.
Other notable players:
- David Ortiz of the Red Sox appears in all five designated hitter lists: He is fifth among DHs over the past season (8.0), fourth over the past two seasons (12.5 over 2015-16), third over the past six seasons (43.9 over 2011-16), third in career points among all DHs since Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995 (145.9) and second among active DHs in career points (145.9). However, Ortiz retired at the end of the 2016 season and so going forward, he will maintain his spot only on the “all-time” list of DHs since 1995.
- Victor Martinez of the Tigers appears in three top five designated hitter lists: He is second among DHs over the past season (8.5 in 2016), fifth over the past two seasons (12.0 over 2015-16) and fifth over the past six seasons (31.9 over 2011-16).
- Matt Holliday of the Cardinals is the only National League player to appear on any of the lists. He ranks fourth among active designated hitters in career Box-Toppers points (97.8). With interleague play, even NL players can earn Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors at DH and Holliday did that one of the four times he earned Box-Toppers points in 2016, making him eligible to be ranked. Holliday will officially move to the AL in 2017—he signed in the offseason with the Yankees.
- Edgar Martinez, who played for the Mariners from 1987 to 2004, is considered one of the best designated hitters ever, but is not ranked among Box-Toppers’ best DHs. Martinez earned 77.5 Box-Toppers points from the time tracking began in 1995 to the end of his career, putting him ninth among DHs since 1995. Even if his point total before the advent of Box-Toppers is roughly projected, it gives him about 97 points, still not enough to rank among the top five on the “all-time” DH list.
There is only one retired designated hitter from the Box-Toppers era (since 1995), who if his entire career point from before 1995 were projected, would rise to the top five “all-time” designated hitters—Juan Gonzalez.
Gonzalez earned 79.7 Box-Toppers points from 1995 to 2005, ranked eighth among all designated hitters. But if his entire career from 1989 were tracked, projections put his Box-Toppers point total at about 118, putting him in fifth place on the “all-time” DH list.
Here are the top five “all-time” designated hitters that includes rough projections of point totals from designated hitters whose careers were only partially tracked by Box-Toppers. Players with projected point totals are designated with an asterisk (*). Players without an asterisk have had their entire career tracked by Box-Toppers:
- 1. Albert Pujols 182.3
- 2. Jim Thome 154*
- 3. Frank Thomas 146*
- 4. David Ortiz 145.9
- 5. Juan Gonzalez 118*
- 6. Carlos Beltran 104.9
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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- Top 100 players “all-time” (since 1995), past six seasons (2011-2016), past two seasons (2015-16) and past season (2016).
- Top 10 overall players, plus top 10 batters and pitchers “all-time” (since 1995).
- Top 10 overall players, plus top 10 batters and pitchers by league past six seasons (2011-2016), past two seasons (2015-16) and past season (2016).
Related Box-Toppers High by Position posts showing Box-Toppers points leaders by position over several time frames—past season (2016), past two seasons (2015-16), past six seasons (2011-16) and “all-time” (since 1995, when Box-Toppers tracking began):
- First base: Albert Pujols leads all-time, Miguel Cabrera leads past season and past six seasons.
- Second base: Jeff Kent leads all-time, Jose Altuve leads past season.
- Shortstop: Miguel Tejada leads all-time over Derek Jeter.
- Third base: Alex Rodriguez leads all-time, Manny Machado and Adrian Beltre lead in recent seasons.
- Catcher: Mike Piazza leads all-time, Brian McCann leads active catchers in career points.
- Outfield: Manny Ramirez leads all-time, Carlos Beltran leads active outfielders in career points, Mike Trout leads in recent seasons.
- Designated hitter: Albert Pujols leads all-time, Kendrys Morales and Edwin Encarnacion lead in recent seasons.
- Pitcher: Randy Johnson leads all-time, CC Sabathia and Clayton Kershaw lead active pitchers in career points.
- Closing pitcher: Trevor Hoffman leads all-time over all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera.