A look at 2018 baseball awards finalists and how they fared in Box-Toppers rankings

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(This post was edited Monday, November 19, 2018, to correct an error in the Box-Toppers point total of Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom. During the 2018 season, an extra, unearned point was added to his total. There is more information about this at the bottom of the post.)

Baseball’s postseason award finalists named this week are also among Box-Toppers’ top-ranked players for 2018.

Award finalists

Here are finalists for the Cy Young, Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards to be given in mid-November, as named by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Players are listed by their Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for 2018 and their Box-Toppers rank in their award category.

Cy Young finalists
AL finalists Team BTP Rank*
Blake Snell Rays 27.2 1
Justin Verlander Astros 24.1 2
Corey Kluber Indians 21.7 3
NL finalists Team BTP Rank*
Max Scherzer Nationals 25.1 1
Aaron Nola Phillies 21.1 2
Jacob deGrom Mets 16.8 3
Most Valuable Player Awards finalists
AL finalists Team BTP Rank*
Mookie Betts Red Sox 10.9 2
Mike Trout Angels 8.0 5
Jose Ramirez Indians 6.0 17
**J.D. Martinez Red Sox 12.5 1
NL finalists Team BTP Rank*
Christian Yelich Brewes 11.5 1
Javier Baez Cubs 10.0 3
Nolan Arenado Rockies 5.0 31
Rookie of the Year finalists
AL finalists Team BTP Rank†
Shohei Ohtani Angels 8.0 1
Miguel Andujar Yankees 3.5 8††
Gleyber Torres Yankees 1.5 55
NL finalists Team BTP Rank†
Walker Buehler Dodgers 15.1 1
Ronald Acuña Jr. Braves 9.2 3
Juan Soto Nationals 7.5 7
BTP—Box-Toppers points
* Rank shows a player’s rank among potential players eligible for the award. For example, AL Cy Young finalists are ranked among AL pitchers, AL MVP finalists are ranked among AL batters.
** J.D. Martinez led AL batters in Box-Toppers points but was not named a finalist for AL MVP.
† Rookie of the Year finalists are ranked among players in their league who made their Box-Toppers debut in 2018. There were 89 AL players who made their Box-Toppers debut in 2018 and 84 NL players.
†† Miguel Andujar made his Box-Toppers debut in 2017 but still has rookie status in 2018. His 3.5 Box-Toppers points would have ranked eighth among the 89 AL players who made their Box-Toppers debut in 2018.

The lone exception: J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox, who led all batters in 2018 with 12.5 Box-Toppers points, is not among the three finalists for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America, which votes on the award-winners, announced the finalists, the top three in voting for each award. Rookie of the Year Awards will be given Monday, Nov. 12, Cy Young Awards on Wednesday, Nov. 14 and MVP Awards on Thursday, Nov. 15.

American League MVP

J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox led AL batters in Box-Toppers points with 12.5. Martinez ranked 28th among all players in 2018 Box-Toppers points.

But he is not among the three finalists listed by baseball writers for the AL MVP award. They are:

  • Mookie Betts of the Red Sox, who ranked second among AL batters with 10.9 Box-Toppers points, 39th among all players.

  • Mike Trout of the Angels, who ranked fifth among AL batters with 8.0 Box-Toppers points, 76th among all players.

  • Jose Ramirez of the Indians, who ranked 17th among AL batters with 6.0 Box-Toppers points, 135th among all players.

National League MVP

Christian Yelich of the Brewers, who led National League batters with 11.5 Box-Toppers points, 34th among all players, is among the finalists for NL MVP.

The other finalists:

  • Javier Baez of the Cubs ranked third among NL batters with 10.0 Box-Toppers points, 51st among all players.

  • Nolan Arenado of the Rockies ranked 20th among NL batters with 5.0 Box-Toppers points, 180th among all players.

One notable player excluded among the three finalists is Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, who finished second among NL batters, behind Yelich, with 10.0 Box-Toppers points. Rizzo ranked 60th among all players.

Rizzo was also excluded from the three NL MVP finalists in 2017, despite leading all batters with 15.5 Box-Toppers points last season.

AL Cy Young

Box-Toppers’ 2018 Player of the Year Blake Snell is among the finalists for American League Cy Young Award. The Rays pitcher led all players in Box-Toppers points in 2018 with 27.2.

Other AL Cy Young finalists:

  • Astros pitcher Justin Verlander ranked second among AL pitchers with 24.1 Box-Toppers points, third among all players.

  • Indians pitcher Corey Kluber ranked third among AL pitchers with 21.7 Box-Toppers points, fourth among all players.

NL Cy Young

Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, who led all National League pitchers with 25.1 Box-Toppers points, second among all players, is among the finalists for the NL Cy Young Award.

The other finalists:

  • Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola ranked second among all NL pitchers with 21.1 Box-Toppers points, fifth among all players.

  • Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom ranked third among all NL pitchers with 16.8 Box-Toppers points, ninth among all players. 

AL Rookie of the Year

Shohei Ohtani of the Angels leads AL rookies with 8.0 Box-Toppers points and is among the finalists for AL Rookie of the Year. 

Ohtani earned 4.0 Box-Toppers points for pitching and 4.0 as a designated hitter. He ranks 81st among all players and because he is both a batter and pitcher is unique in Box-Toppers’ 24-season tracking history, with his 8.0 points ranking both 31st among AL pitchers and sixth among AL batters.

Two other AL rookies are tied with Ohtani with 8.0 Box-Toppers points, but neither were named AL Rookie of the Year finalists:

The two other finalists for AL Rookie of the Year finished lower in Box-Toppers season player rankings:

  • Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar had 3.5 Box-Toppers points, 300th among all players and 68th among AL batters. Andujar actually made his Box-Toppers debut in 2017, earning 1.0 Box-Toppers point, so he doesn’t rank among the 89 AL players who made their debut in 2018. However, his 3.5 points in 2018 would rank eighth among those AL players who debuted in 2018.

  • Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres had 1.5 Box-Toppers points, 540th among all players, 127th among AL batters and 55th among AL players who made their Box-Toppers debut in 2018.

NL Rookie of the Year

Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler leads NL rookies with 15.1 Box-Toppers points and is among the three finalists for NL Rookie of the Year. Buehler ranks 15th among all players and fifth among NL pitchers.

Other NL Rookie of the Year finalists:

  • Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves, who has 9.2 Box-Toppers points, third among NL rookies. Acuna ranks fourth among NL batters and 58th among all players.

  • Juan Soto of the Nationals, who has 7.5 Box-Toppers points, seventh among NL rookies. Soto ranks 13th among NL batters and 103rd among all players. 

This year, Box-Toppers has 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 Martinez (27.2 vs. 12.5) and the NL’s top pitcher Scherzer 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 chances since Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995), this is the first time it has happened in both leagues in the same season.

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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NOTE ABOUT JACOB DEGROM: After this post was published, Box-Toppers discovered an error: Jacob deGrom was credited with 1.0 more Box-Toppers point than he actually earned in 2018. This post has been changed to include deGrom’s actual Box-Toppers point total and player ranking position at the time of this post. Subtracting a point from deGrom’s season total meant he had 16.8 Box-Toppers points, rather than 17.8. Despite the change, he still finished third among National League pitchers. However, the change moves him from ninth place to 12th place in overall season player rankings, moving him out of the top 10 and keeping Yankees pitcher Luis Severino (17.7 points) in the top 10 for the season, in 10th place.

This is made all the more odd and awkward because the error was discovered while compiling the post about deGrom winning the NL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, Nov. 14. deGrom was the near-unanimous choice for the award, but even with his higher, incorrect Box-Toppers point total (17.8), Box-Toppers had him ranked third among NL pitchers, needing nearly 50 percent more points to catch the NL pitching leader, Max Scherzer of the Nationals (25.1).

My post was about how Scherzer was more deserving of the award than the widely acclaimed deGrom because Scherzer actually helped his team win more games. Despite deGrom’s great performances, the Mets lost most of the games he pitched. Since winning is the name of the game and since Box-Toppers points are only awarded in wins, deGrom’s point total was far lower—but it was still remarkable, given all the losses, that he reached as high as third place among NL pitchers. While writing about how deGrom wasn’t as deserving of the award, I found the error (the extra point), and correcting the record (subtracting the point), I found he was even more undeserving.