The Los Angeles Dodgers are the top-ranked team in Box-Toppers 2017 preseason rankings, closely followed by the Washington Nationals. The 2016 World Series-champion Chicago Cubs fall to fifth place.
Box-Toppers 2017 preseason team rankingsThe Los Angeles Dodgers are the top-ranked preseason team in Box-Toppers rankings. Players on their preseason roster accumulated 122.7 Box-Toppers points in the 2016 season, just ahead of the Washington Nationals with 122.6. The Chicago Cubs, 2016 World Series champions, slip to fifth place. Shown below in the 2017 column is the accumulated 2016 Box-Toppers point total for each player on that team’s current roster. Also shown in the 2016 column is each team’s Box-Toppers point total at the end of last season. The final column (+/-) shows the change in team rosters’ Box-Toppers points from the end of last season until now.
Players on the Dodgers current roster accumulated 122.7 Box-Toppers points during the 2016 season, more than any other team. Just behind them are the Washington Nationals with 122.6 points.
The top American League team, the defending AL-champion Cleveland Indians, rank third overall with 119.7 Box-Toppers points. And last year’s World Series champion Chicago Cubs—the team Box-Toppers had ranked first in 2016’s preseason rankings and first in 22 of Box-Toppers’ 24 weekly team rankings reports last season—tumble down to fifth place in the 2017 preseason team rankings with 117.1 Box-Toppers points, losing 22.4 points from last season, the most of any team.
The top two overall teams—the Dodgers and Nationals—are separated by the narrowest 0.1 Box-Toppers point-margin. Both teams made the postseason in 2016 and faced off against each other in the National League Division Series, with the Dodgers winning three games to two. The Dodgers went on to the NL Championship Series, losing to the Cubs in six games.
The Dodgers finished third in 2016’s Box-Toppers final team rankings with 125.2 Box-Toppers points, behind only the Cubs and the Red Sox. The Nationals finished eighth in 2016 with 116.1 points. The Indians ranked fourth with 123.7, which was second among AL teams for 2016, behind the Red Sox.
The Dodgers had few changes over the offseason. They continue to be led by pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who had 24.4 Box-Toppers points in 2016, second among all players, despite being out with a back injury for two months. Other prominent players include pitchers Rich Hill (14.4 points in 2016), Kenta Maeda (10.0 points) and Scott Kazmir (8.7). Dodgers’ top batters include Yasmani Grandal (8.7), Adrian Gonzalez (5.7), Ross Stripling (4.7) and Corey Seager (4.0).
While the Dodgers lost 2.5 Box-Toppers points in the offseason, the second-place Nationals picked up a net of 6.5 points, mainly thanks to the acquisition of Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who with 11.0 Box-Toppers points in 2016, ranked fifth among AL batters. Wieters also was Box-Toppers highest-ranked batter to change teams in the offseason (see chart of Prominent player changes from 2016 below, right).
The Nationals are led by pitcher Max Scherzer, who led all players in Box-Toppers points in 2016 with 25.7. Other prominent Nationals include pitchers Stephen Strasburg (15.1 Box-Toppers points in 2016) and Tanner Roark (12.7 points). In addition to Wieters, Nationals’ prominent batters include Daniel Murphy (7.5) and Jayson Werth (6.0).
Indians lead AL teams
The Indians made it all the way to the World Series in 2016 (beating the Blue Jays in the AL Championship Series in five games) and despite leading the Cubs in the Fall Classic three games to one, ended up losing in a seven-game series for the ages.
Despite leading the AL in Box-Toppers’ preseason rankings, the Indians actually lost a net of 4.0 Box-Toppers points in the offseason. The Indians lost Mike Napoli (6.5 points) to the Rangers and Coco Crisp (3.0) and Marlon Byrd (2.5) to free agency. However, they picked up Edwin Encarnacion from the Blue Jays. Encarnacion had 8.0 Box-Toppers points in 2016, the fourth-most of any batter to change teams in the offseason.
The Indians are led by Corey Kluber, who led AL pitchers in Box-Toppers points in 2016 with 21.2. Other Indians leaders include pitchers Danny Salazar (12.5 points in 2016), Carlos Carrasco (12.4 points) and Trevor Bauer (11.4). In addition to Encarnacion, one other notable batter is Francisco Lindor (7.0 Box-Toppers points).
Biggest team gains & dropsThe Atlanta Braves picked up the most Box-Toppers points on its roster in the offseason (+22.9) while the Chicago Cubs lost the most (-22.4). The Braves notably gained pitchers Bartolo Colon (8.4 Box-Toppers points in 2016), Jaime Garcia (8.0 points) and R.A. Dickey (7.0 points). The Cubs notably lost pitchers Jason Hammel (13.0 Box-Toppers points) to the Royals and Aroldis Chapman (7.4 points) to the Yankees. The column 2016 shows the team's Box-Toppers point total at the end of last season. The column 2017 shows accumulated 2016 Box-Toppers point total of players on each team's current preseason roster.
Cubs decline from first to fifth
The Cubs have the biggest decline in Box-Toppers points in the offseason with their 22.4-point fall, mainly due to losing two key pitchers—Jason Hammel (13.0 Box-Toppers points in 2016) to the Royals and closer Aroldis Chapman (7.4 points in 2016) back to the Yankees. Hammel, however, didn’t play in the 2016 postseason, because even though he was Box-Toppers’ overall 20th-ranked player, he was the Cubs’ fifth-best starter. On the Royals, his 13.0 Box-Toppers points makes him their overall top player on the 2017 preseason roster.
Hammel has the third-most Box-Toppers points of players who won’t be on the same team in 2017 (see the chart of Prominent player changes from 2016, below right).
Despite the big drop, the Cubs still rank fifth among all teams on the 2017 preseason rankings, third among NL teams.
Clubs making big drops
Other teams making big drops since 2016:
- New York Mets (103.2 Box-Toppers points) fall from sixth in the final 2016 rankings to 12th in the 2017 preseason rankings after losing 15.9 points. Notably, the Mets lost Bartolo Colon (8.4 points) to the Braves. They also lost five other players with 2.0 or fewer Box-Toppers points and did not pick up any players in the offseason who earned Box-Toppers points in 2016.
- Seattle Mariners (76.3 Box-Toppers points) fall from 14th in the final 2016 rankings to 23rd in the 2017 preseason rankings after losing 15.4 points. Notably, the Mariners lost pitcher Taijuan Walker (7.7 points) to the Diamondbacks and first baseman Dae-Ho Lee (7.7 points) to the Korean professional league.
- St. Louis Cardinals (85.5 Box-Toppers points) fall from 12th in the final 2016 rankings to 19th in the 2017 preseason rankings after losing 14.5 points. Notably, the Cardinals lost pitcher Jaime Garcia (8.0 points) to the Braves and slugger Matt Holliday (6.0 points) to the Yankees.
- Chicago White Sox (74.2 Box-Toppers points) fall from 17th in the final 2016 rankings to 24th in the 2017 preseason rankings after losing 12.4 points. Notably, the White Sox lost pitcher Chris Sale to the Red Sox. He had the most Box-Toppers points in 2016 (13.4) of any player to switch teams in the offseason. (See chart of Prominent player changes from 2016, below right.)
Prominent player changes from 2016Here are the most prominent player changes from 2016—the 13 players with the most 2016 Box-Toppers points who are not on the same team as they were last season. Jose Fernandez leads the list—he was on the Marlins in 2016 and died near the close of the season. Players are ranked on the list by their 2016 Box-Toppers point (BTP) totals. The most prominent player to change teams is Chris Sale (13.4 Box-Toppers points) who was on the White Sox in 2016 and will be with the Red Sox in 2017. Three other players on the list are not currently in baseball—David Ortiz retired, Colby Lewis is a free agent and Dae-Ho Lee signed with a Korean team.
|Player||Pos||BTP||’16 team||’17 team|
|1||Jose Fernandez||pi sp||22.4||Marlins||Died|
|2||Chris Sale||pi sp||13.4||White Sox||Red Sox|
|3||Jason Hammel||pi sp||13.0||Cubs||Royals|
|6||Kendrys Morales||dh||8.5||Royals||Blue Jays|
|7||Bartolo Colon||pi sp||8.4||Mets||Braves|
|8||Edwin Encarnacion||dh 1b||8.0||Blue Jays||Indians|
|9||Jaime Garcia||pi sp||8.0||Cardinals||Braves|
|10||David Ortiz||dh||8.0||Red Sox||Retired|
|11||Taijuan Walker||pi sp||7.7||Mariners||Dbacks|
|12||Colby Lewis||pi sp||7.7||Rangers||Free agent|
Teams making biggest gains
The Atlanta Braves made the biggest gain of any team in the offseason, picking up 22.9 Box-Toppers points since 2016. The Braves, who ranked 26th at the end of 2016 with 70.2 Box-Toppers points, rise to 14th in the 2017 preseason rankings with 93.1 points. Notably, the Braves picked up pitchers Bartolo Colon from the Mets (8.4 Box-Toppers points in 2016), Jaime Garcia from the Cardinals (8.0 points) and R.A. Dickey from the Blue Jays (7.0).
Other teams making big gains since 2016:
- Oakland Athletics (72.9 Box-Toppers points) rise from 29th in the final 2016 rankings to 25th in the 2017 preseason rankings after gaining 11.5 points. Key additions include third baseman Trevor Plouffe (4.5) from the Twins, outfielder Matt Joyce (4.0) from the Pirates and closer Santiago Casilla (3.0) from the Giants.
- Miami Marlins (87.2 Box-Toppers points) rise from 22nd in the final 2016 rankings to 17th in the 2017 preseason rankings after gaining 10.9 points. Key additions include pitchers Dan Straily (7.0) from the Reds and Edinson Volquez (6.4) from the Royals.
- Philadelphia Phillies (96.5 Box-Toppers points) rise from 18th in the final 2016 rankings to 13th in the 2017 preseason rankings after gaining 10.7 points. Key additions include outfielder Michael Saunders (5.2) from the Blue Jays, pitcher Clay Buchholz (5.0) from the Red Sox and infielder Howie Kendrick (4.0) from the Dodgers.
- San Diego Padres (69.7 Box-Toppers points) rise from from 30th and final place in the final 2016 rankings to 27th in the 2017 preseason rankings after gaining 8.4 points. Key additions include two Angels pitchers, Jhoulys Chacin (5.7) and Jered Weaver (4.7).
Twins: Lowest-ranked team
The Minnesota Twins are the lowest-ranked team in the 2017 preseason rankings with 60.1 Box-Toppers points, a drop of 10.0 points since the 2016 final rankings. The Twins fell from 27th place at the end of last year. One key loss for the Twins was third baseman Trevor Plouffe (4.5) to the Athletics.
Prominent player changes
Baseball teams in the offseason try to change their fortunes by shaking up their rosters, adding and subtracting players through trades and free agency signings.
However, the most prominent change on any team in 2017 will be on the Miami Marlins, who lost pitcher Jose Fernandez late last season when he was killed in a boating accident. Fernandez had 22.4 Box-Toppers points in 2016, ranked third among all players and the most—by far—of any player who will not be on the same team he was with in 2016. Second place on the prominent player change list (see chart at right) is pitcher Chris Sale (13.4 Box-Toppers points) who went from the White Sox to the Red Sox.
Fernandez died Sept. 25, 2016, prior to the final week of the season. On Sept. 23, the Marlins ranked 12th among all teams with 95.7 Box-Toppers points. When Fernandez died, his points were removed from the team total, giving the Marlins 76.3 in the final standings on Oct. 3. So while the Marlins appear to have the third-biggest gain of any team since 2016 (+10.9 Box-Toppers points), if Fernandez’s 22.4 were figured in, they would have had 98.7 points in 2016. And their 87.2 points for 2017 would represent an 11.5-point drop, which would be the sixth-biggest among all teams.
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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- Box-Toppers’ 2016 preseason rankings: Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays top Box-Toppers 2016 preseason team rankings
- Box-Toppers’ 2016 end-of-season rankings: Chicago Cubs—Box-Toppers’ top team for most of 2016—finish season atop team rankings