Box-Toppers Cy Young award ballotHere are Box-Toppers' ballot selections for the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) 2018 Cy Young awards. The ballot required voters to rank the top five pitchers in each league.
Players are shown with their team and their Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for 2018.
|AL Cy Young|
|4||Chris Sale||Red Sox||20.1|
|NL Cy Young|
But Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, who won the National League Cy Young Award, ranked third in Box-Toppers points among NL pitchers and in fact, would have needed another half season worth of points to catch Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, who led NL pitchers.
The awards are voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Snell led all players in 2018 with 27.2 Box-Toppers points, just ahead of Scherzer, the second-place player overall, with 25.1 points. The top four finishers in the AL Cy Young vote were also the top AL pitchers in Box-Toppers points (see the charts below for voting finishes and Box-Toppers rankings).
Snell finished first with 17 first-place votes.
Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, who finished second with the other 13 first-place votes, had 24.1 Box-Toppers points.
Indians pitcher Corey Kluber, who finished third in voting, had 21.7 Box-Toppers points.
Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, who finished fourth in voting, had 20.1 Box-Toppers points.
In the NL, Scherzer led the overall Box-Toppers player rankings most of the season—he led for 117 days while Snell led rankings only 13 days, taking the lead Sept. 18.
By contrast, deGrom did not join the Box-Toppers top 10 list among NL pitchers until August and only by earning 3.0 points in the final 10 days of the season did he rise to third place at the end. He finished the season in 12th place among all players. (Note: An error uncovered while writing this post shows he was credited with an extra 1.0 Box-Toppers point he did not earn in 2018, so his previous total of 17.8 for the season is corrected to 16.8 in this post.)
Scherzer finished with 25.1 Box-Toppers points, which was well ahead of even second-place NL pitcher Aaron Nola of the Phillies (21.1) and far outpacing third-place NL pitcher deGrom (16.8), who would have needed 8.4 more points—50 percent of his 2018 total—to pass Scherzer.
deGrom won the NL Cy Young despite having the fewest wins (10) of any starting pitcher to ever win the award. But deGrom led all pitchers with the lowest earned run average (1.70). While he had an objectively great season, his team did not provide him much support when he pitched. But they did not finish far below .500 (77-85).
He became a popular choice among voters, but by Box-Toppers measurements he didn’t measure up.
Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games, so to earn Box-Toppers points, you need to earn Player of the Game honors and to earn Player of the Game honors, your team needs to win games. The Mets were 14-18 when deGrom pitched, winning 43.75 percent of those games (compared to the 47.5 percent of their overall games—so, in other words, the Mets were slightly worse with deGrom pitching). Cy Young voters apparently took into account deGrom’s performances in those 18 losses. But Box-Toppers didn’t. In Box-Toppers’ view, to be considered a top player in the game, your team needs to win. When deGrom pitched, the Mets most often did not win and he did not help them move the needle toward victory.
But if you look at his season, there’s not a single bad line score in any of his games. He struck out more than 10 batters in a game on 11 different occasions—seven of them in losses. It’s almost like he pitched better when the Mets lost.
But I can’t really budge from the stance that winning the game is the more important—and in fact, the most important thing. And it’s not that deGrom didn’t earn the “win,” as in the pitching statistic. I agree that the stat is an often misleading measure of pitcher’s performance. What I’m talking about is simply having the team win the game. Because if the team doesn’t win, Box-Toppers doesn’t even take into account those deGrom performances in losses, no matter how spectacular they were. It’s as if they don’t even exist.
Given all that, deGrom did well despite the fact the team didn’t win when he pitched. In the 14 Mets wins in which he appeared, he was Box-Toppers Player of the Game in 12 of them, including in nine of his 10 wins. He earned Player of the Game three times when he earned a no decision.
He earned 4.8 more Box-Toppers points in bonus points, winning NL Player of the Day honors four times (worth 0.7 bonus points each) and overall Player of the Day honors twice (worth 1.0 bonus point each).
Though 29 of 30 Cy Young voters disagree, Scherzer was the better candidate for NL Cy Young because he was the player who most helped his team win the most games. It would have been Scherzer’s third straight NL Cy Young Award and fourth overall. He has led NL pitchers in Box-Toppers points for three straight seasons.
Scherzer was Player of the Game in 16 of the Nationals wins. (He appeared in 33 games, including 22 team wins.) He earned bonus points 10 of the 16 times he earned Player of the Game, including seven times as overall Player of the Day (worth an extra 1.0 point each time) and three times as NL Player of the Day (worth an extra 0.7 points each time). Scherzer went 18-7 and earned Player of the Game in 13 of those wins, earning the other three while picking up a no decision.
Snell, the AL Cy Young winner, was Player of the Game 21 times in 2018, earning the win 20 of those times and picking up a no-decision once. Snell led all pitchers in total wins with 21. He earned AL Player of the Day honors six times (worth 0.7 bonus points each time) and overall Player of the Day honors twice (worth 1.0 bonus point each time).
Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco is Box-Toppers’ highest-ranking player who did not earn Cy Young votes. Carrasco earned 19.1 Box-Toppers points in 2018, seventh among all players and fifth among AL pitchers.
Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler is Box-Toppers highest-ranking NL pitcher to earn no Cy Young votes. Marquez earned 15.1 Box-Toppers points in 2018, 15th among all players, fifth among NL pitchers and only 1.7 points behind NL Cy Young winner deGrom.
The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America also voted Snell and deGrom as their Cy Young winners in voting results announced Wednesday. Box-Toppers votes in the IBWAA awards and voted for Snell and Scherzer for the awards. Here are the IBWAA results:
AL Cy Young
1st—Blake Snell, Rays, 731 points
2nd—Justin Verlander, Astros, 462
3rd—Chris Sale, Red Sox, 336
4th—Corey Kluber, Indians, 298
5th—Gerrit Cole, Astros, 150
NL Cy Young
1st—Jacob deGrom, Mets, 828 points
2nd—Max Scherzer, Nationals, 564
3rd—Aaron Nola, Phillies, 389
4th—Kyle Freeland, Rockies, 155
5th—Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks, 92
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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American League Cy Young Award votingBlake Snell of the Rays was voted AL Cy Young Award winner for the league’s top pitcher. Below are the AL pitchers in order of their voting finish, shown with their first- through fifth-place votes and their voting points total. Also shown are each player’s Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for 2018 and their rank in points among AL pitchers.
|1||Blake Snell||Rays||pi sp||17||11||2||169||27.2||1|
|2||Justin Verlander||Astros||pi sp||13||13||3||1||154||24.1||3|
|3||Corey Kluber||Indians||pi sp||4||12||7||5||71||21.7||4|
|4||Chris Sale||Red Sox||pi sp||2||8||12||3||59||20.1||6|
|5||Gerrit Cole||Astros||pi sp||3||4||9||26||18.0||8|
|6||Trevor Bauer||Indians||pi sp||1||3||4||13||14.1||19|
|7||Blake Treinen||Athletics||pi cp||1||3||4||13||10.0||52|
|7||Edwin Diaz||Mariners||pi cp||4||4||9.0||59|
|8||Luis Severino||Yankees||pi sp||1||1||17.7||10|
National League Cy Young Award votingJacob deGrom of the Mets was voted NL Cy Young Award winner for the league’s top pitcher. Below are the NL pitchers in order of their voting finish, shown with their first- through fifth-place votes and their voting points total. Also shown are each player’s Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for 2018 and their rank in points among NL pitchers.
|1||Jacob deGrom||Mets||pi sp||29||1||207||16.8||12|
|2||Max Scherzer||Nationals||pi sp||1||29||123||25.1||2|
|3||Aaron Nola||Phillies||pi sp||27||2||1||86||21.1||5|
|4||Kyle Freeland||Rockies||pi sp||2||17||9||49||12.4||30|
|5||Patrick Corbin||Diamondbacks||pi sp||7||9||23||16.0||13|
|6||Miles Mikolas||Cardinals||pi sp||1||1||8||13||11.7||34|
|7||Josh Hader||Brewers||pi cp mr||1||2||4||11.7||33|
|8||Mike Foltynewicz||Braves||pi sp||1||1||3||13.7||22|
|9||Jon Lester||Cubs||pi sp||1||2||10.7||40|