Postseason awards wrap-up: How Box-Toppers leaders fared in 2018's major season honors

Here's how Box-Toppers points leaders fared in the six major postseason awards for 2018 as voted by the Baseball Writers Association of Ameica. The winners of the six major awards are listed at left with the Box-Toppers points (BTP) leader in each category listed at right. Rank shows the players’ rank among all players in 2018.

Most Valuable Player
AL winner Team Pos BTP Rank AL BTP leader Team Pos BTP Rank
Mookie Betts Red Sox rf 10.9 39 J.D. Martinez* Red Sox 12.5 28
NL winner Team Pos BTP Rank NL BTP leader Team Pos BTP Rank
Christian Yelich Brewers rf lf 11.5 35 Christian Yelich* Brewers rf lf 11.5 35
Cy Young Award
AL winner Team Pos BTP Rank AL BTP leader Team Pos BTP Rank
Blake Snell Rays pi sp 27.2 1 Blake Snell Rays pi sp 27.2 1
NL winner Team Pos BTP Rank NL BTP leader Team Pos BTP Rank
Jacob deGrom Mets pi sp 16.8 12 Max Scherzer Nationals pi sp 25.1 2
Rookie of the Year
AL winner Team Pos BTP Rank AL BTP leader Team Pos BTP Rank
Shohei Ohtani Angels pi sp dh 8.0 81 Shohei Ohtani Angels pi sp dh 8.0 81
NL winner Team Pos BTP Rank NL BTP leader Team Pos BTP Rank
Ronald Acuña Jr. Braves lf 9.2 58 Walker Buehler** Dodgers pi sp 15.1 15
* While Martinez and Yelich led their league's batters in Box-Toppers points, Box-Toppers actually deemed neither of them worthy of winning their league MVP awards. Because batters fared so poorly and had such abnormally low Box-Toppers point totals in 2018, Box-Toppers deemed both league's top pitchers (Snell and Scherzer) to be league MVPs. Both had more than twice as many points as their league's leading batter.
** While Walker Buehler led NL rookies with 15.1 Box-Toppers points, Box-Toppers top-ranked NL rookie for 2018 is Ronald Acuña Jr. with 9.2 points. Why? Box-Toppers treats the Rookie of the Year award as primarily a batter's award and gives batters the benefit of a doubt, doubling their Box-Toppers point total when comparing them to pitchers. That would give Acuña 18.4 points compared to Buehler's 15.1.
BTP: Box-Toppers points

Box-Toppers point leaders win 2—or 3 or 4—of season’s 6 major postseason awards

Box-Toppers postseason awards.png

Depending on how you look at it, Box-Toppers points leaders took home two (or three or four) of the six major postseason awards for 2018.

There were two awards won outright by Box-Toppers points leaders in their categories:

American League Cy Young Award—Winner Blake Snell of the Rays was also Box-Toppers’ top AL pitcher (and top overall player) with 27.2 Box-Toppers points.

AL Rookie of the YearShohei Ohtani of the Angels was also Box-Toppers’ top AL rookie with 8.0 Box-Toppers points.

But in addition, Box-Toppers correctly chose Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves as National League Rookie of the Year, even though he did not lead NL rookies in Box-Toppers points. While rookie Walker Buehler of the Dodgers had more 2018 Box-Toppers points than Acuna (15.1 vs. 9.2), Box-Toppers ranked Acuna (a batter) over Buehler (a pitcher), since the award is normally a batter’s award. In cases like this, we give batters the benefit of a doubt and rank them ahead of a pitcher with more Box-Toppers points if they have at least half the points earned by the top pitcher. In this case, Acuna did.

Also, Christian Yelich of the Brewers, winner of the NL Most Valuable Player Award, led NL batters in Box-Toppers points with 11.5. While the award would seem to confirm the Box-Toppers statistics, Box-Toppers actually deemed all batters unworthy of the MVP awards in 2018. 

This year, Box-Toppers advocated that the top pitchers win the MVP in both leagues since both league’s top batters have fewer than half the Box-Toppers points as their league’s leading pitcher. 

The AL’s top pitcher Snell has more than double the points as the AL’s top batter J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox (27.2 vs. 12.5) and the NL’s top pitcher Max Scherzer of the Nationals has more than double the points as the NL’s top batter Yelich (25.1 vs. 11.5).

While the league’s leading pitcher has had more than double the Box-Toppers point total of the league’s leading batter before (it’s happened six times in 46 previous chances since Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995), this is the first time it has happened in both leagues in the same season.

There were two other postseason awards given to players who did not lead their category in Box-Toppers points. To be fair, both winners were among the top three batters or pitchers in Box-Toppers points in their league for the season—but there were other players Box-Toppers deemed more worthy:

AL Most Valuable PlayerMookie Betts of the Red Sox won the award. He had 10.9 Box-Toppers points, second among AL batters, behind teammate J.D. Martinez (12.5), who finished fourth in voting. But even so, Box-Toppers actually picked Rays pitcher Blake Snell to be AL MVP since he had more than twice as many points (27.2) as the leading AL batter Martinez. (Snell finished ninth in voting.)

NL Cy Young AwardJacob deGrom of the Mets won the award. He had 16.8 Box-Toppers points, third among NL pitchers, behind Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer (25.1, second place overall).

While deGrom ranked third among NL pitchers, he trailed far behind Scherzer, with a third fewer Box-Toppers points, yet won the award nearly unanimously with 29 of 30 first-place votes.

I can’t decide whether to give voters the benefit of a doubt here (deGrom did finish third among NL pitchers, after all) or to declare this an instance of delusional, echo-chamber mass hysteria in which the emperor is wearing no clothes. I’m leaning toward the latter.

Voters gave deGrom the award because he pitched well even as the Mets lost. But since winning is the name of the game and since Box-Toppers points are only awarded in team wins, deGrom did not earn points that frequently. Given his terrible run support, it is remarkable he finished third among NL pitchers in Box-Toppers points.

But deGrom finished far behind Scherzer, who dominated NL pitchers all season with 25.1 Box-Toppers points. Scherzer, simply put, helped his team win the most games among all NL players.

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). Normally, voters would hold deGrom’s lack of wins against him, but the new, cool thing for voters is to not care about wins. And I get that: The pitching statistic “win” can be misleading, not indicative of a pitcher’s true performance. It’s very possible for pitchers to earn Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors even when they don’t earn the win. But again, to do that, the team actually has to win the game. Again, deGrom’s team didn’t win that often. Scherzer’s team did. Scherzer was more deserving of the award.

Last year in 2017, Box-Toppers leaders won three of six major awards. In 2016 and 2015, Box-Toppers and baseball writers coincided on two of the major six awards. In 2014, Box-Toppers and baseball writers were the same in five of six cases and in 2013 in four of six.

 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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