A look at Box-Toppers top 100 players of 'all-time' after the 2018 season

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Randy Johnson leads all players in career Box-Toppers points and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Top 100 ‘All-Time’ Players

Here are the 100 players with the most career Box-Toppers points since record keeping began in 1995. Players are listed in order of their career Box-Toppers point total. Also shown is their Box-Toppers point total for 2018 and their career ranking in Box-Toppers points at the end of the 2017 season.

Player Pos Team All
BTP
18
BTP
17
rank
1 Johnson, randy pi sp Retired 278.8 1
2 Martinez, Pedro J. pi sp Retired 244.8 2
3 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 214.8 8.0 3
4 Sabathia, C.C. 1492 pi sp nyy al 200.4 7.7 5
5 schilling, curt pi sp Retired 194.1 4
6 Pujols, Albert 1438 dh ana al 190.8 3.0 6
7 Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp ari nl 189.2 13.0 8
8 Rodriguez, Alex 3b Retired 187.0 7
9 Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 181.8 25.1 16
10 Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp hou al 178.1 24.1 18
11 Hernandez, Felix 2064 pi sp sea al 174.1 2.7 9
12 Halladay, Roy 1178 pi sp Retired 170.7 10
13 Ramirez, manny lf Retired 167.2 11
14 Santana, Johan 1448 pi sp Retired 166.6 12
15 clemens, roger pi sp Retired 164.8 13
16 Lester, Jon 2173 pi sp chi nl 164.6 10.7 19
17 Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp chi nl 164.5 11.1 20
18 smoltz, john pi sp Retired 160.9 14
19 Hudson, Tim 1231 pi sp Retired 157.0 15
20 Colon, Bartolo pi sp tex al 155.9 2.7 21
21 mussina, Mike pi sp Retired 155.6 17
22 bonds, barry lf Retired 153.2 22
23 maddux, greg pi sp Retired 151.7 23
24 jones, chipper 3b Retired 149.0 24
25 Vazquez, Javier 1146 pi sp Retired 148.3 25
26 Cabrera, Miguel 1776 1b det al 147.9 1.0 26
27 thome, jim 1b dh Retired 146.7 27
28 Ortiz, David dh Retired 145.9 28
29 Peavy, Jake 1635 pi sp Retired 141.8 29
30 pettitte, andy pi sp Retired 138.5 30
31 giambi, jason 1b Retired 133.4 31
32 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 132.6 21.1 55
33 hoffman, trevor pi cp Retired 129.4 32
34 Guerrero, Vladimir rf Retired 128.3 33
35 Weaver, Jered 2178 pi sp Retired 127.8 34
36 Burnett, A.J. 1300 pi sp Retired 127.8 35
37 Lackey, John 1640 pi sp Retired 127.2 36
38 Oswalt, Roy 1469 pi sp Retired 127.2 37
39 rivera, mariano pi cp Retired 126.4 38
40 Price, David 2593 pi sp bos al 125.3 14.4 56
41 sheffield, gary lf Retired 124.1 39
42 Wainwright, Adam 2150 pi sp stl nl 119.2 1.7 42
43 Lee, Cliff 1798 pi sp Retired 119.1 40
44 Delgado, Carlos 1b Retired 118.7 41
45 Zito, Barry 1415 pi sp Retired 117.4 43
46 Beltre, Adrian 1141 3b tex al 116.8 1.0 47
47 Buehrle, Mark 1407 pi sp Retired 116.7 44
48 Helton, Todd 1060 1b Retired 116.4 45
49 Hunter, Torii 1190 cf Retired 115.9 46
50 Lincecum, Tim 2288 pi sp released 115.0 48
51 Beckett, Josh 1544 pi sp Retired 114.9 49
52 Bumgarner, Madison 2753 pi sp sf nl 114.4 6.7 63
53 Santana, Ervin 2005 pi sp min al 113.4 50
54 Carpenter, Chris pi sp Retired 113.3 51
55 Haren, Danny 1787 pi sp Retired 113.2 52
56 sosa, sammy rf Retired 113.2 53
57 brown, kevin j. pi sp Retired 112.8 54
58 Strasburg, Stephen 2736 pi sp dc nl 112.1 6.7 66
59 glavine, tom pi sp Retired 110.6 57
60 kent, jeff 2b Retired 109.7 58
61 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 109.1 21.7 108
62 Wagner, Billy pi cp Retired 108.7 59
63 Beltran, Carlos 1194 cf retired 108.6 60
64 Millwood, Kevin pi sp Retired 108.3 61
65 Berkman, Lance 1261 1b lf rf Retired 108.1 62
66 Shields, James 2157 pi sp chi al 106.4 5.0 73
67 thomas, frank dh 1b Retired 106.2 64
68 Ramirez, Aramis 1364 3b Retired 105.8 65
69 Liriano, Francisco 2104 pi sp det al 105.2 67
70 Kazmir, Scott 1947 pi sp released 105.1 68
71 moyer, jamie pi sp Retired 104.0 69
72 Gonzalez, Gio 2626 pi sp mil nl 103.9 7.7 87
73 Cueto, Johnny 2400 pi sp sf nl 103.8 2.0 72
74 Tejada, Miguel ss Retired 102.3 70
75 griffey, ken jr. cf Retired 102.2 71
76 wakefield, tim pi sp Retired 101.4 74
77 Teixeira, Mark 1738 1b Retired 101.3 75
78 schmidt, jason pi sp Retired 101.2 76
79 Holliday, Matt 1836 dh 1b lf col nl 100.8 77
80 Cain, Matt 2081 pi sp retired 100.7 78
81 Konerko, Paul 1107 1b Retired 100.7 79
82 bagwell, jeff 1b Retired 100.4 80
83 walker, larry rf Retired 100.1 81
84 edmonds, jim cf Retired 99.8 82
85 Howard, Ryan 2040 1b Retired 98.7 83
86 Braun, Ryan J. 2300 lf mil nl 97.7 6.0 98
87 Rolen, Scott 3b Retired 97.6 84
88 Wolf, Randy 1235 pi sp Retired 97.4 85
89 Jones, Andruw cf Retired 96.5 86
90 piazza, mike ca Retired 95.7 88
91 Abreu, Bobby rf Retired 95.5 89
92 nomo, hideo pi sp Retired 95.5 90
93 Dempster, Ryan 1109 pi sp Retired 95.2 91
94 Ordonez, Magglio rf Retired 94.5 92
95 Dunn, Adam 1512 lf Retired 94.3 93
96 williams, bernie cf Retired 93.8 94
97 Lilly, Ted 1452 pi sp Retired 93.3 95
98 Gallardo, Yovani 2333 pi sp tex al 92.7 2.0 102
99 giles, brian rf Retired 92.5 96
100 Wood, Kerry pi sp Retired 92.4 97
BTP: Box-Toppers points
What are those numbers after players' names?
About Box-Toppers’ team abbreviations

Johnson earned 278.8 Box-Toppers points from the time Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995 until he retired in 2009.

The most likely rival to Johnson’s throne at the moment is Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw who has 214.8 career Box-Toppers points, third among all players since 1995 and most among active players. 

Kershaw, who will be 31 when the 2019 season starts, is 64.0 points behind Johnson. In his past six seasons, he has averaged 22.4 points per season and at that pace, would pass Johnson toward the end of the 2021 season, when he will be 33 years old.

There are a few caveats, including:

  • Kershaw had a dramatic drop-off in Box-Toppers points in 2018 and has earned Box-Toppers points at a far slower pace for the past season and a half, since the middle of 2017. At his slower pace, it would take him eight seasons to catch Johnson.

  • Even if he reaches Johnson’s 278.8 point total, he still wouldn’t match Johnson’s actual career total. Since Box-Toppers didn’t track Johnson’s career from 1988 to 1994, he would likely have many more career Box-Toppers points. A rough projection puts his actual career Box-Toppers point total at about 380. Kershaw would need at least eight or nine more seasons with more than 20 points a season to reach that total.

Kershaw surged to lead active players in Box-Toppers points after earning 20 or more Box-Toppers points for seven straight seasons from 2011 to 2017, which broke Johnson’s record of six straight seasons with 20 or more points. But in 2018, Kershaw’s progress stalled as he earned just 8.0 Box-Toppers points, 73rd among all players for 2018.

At the end of 2017, Kershaw was on pace to catch Johnson’s 278.8-point total by the end of 2020 and catch Johnson’s projected actual career total of 380 by 2023, when he’d be 35 years old. One lackluster season for Kershaw, at the very least, delays him reaching those milestones by at least a season and casts doubt on whether he will be able to reach those totals, given his performance since the middle of 2017.

In the first half of 2017, Kershaw earned 18.1 Box-Toppers points, but earned just 5.0 more in the second half, giving him 22.5 for the season, which despite his lackluster second half, was still enough to rank third among all players and be in contention for first place until the final week of the season. However, in the first half of 2018, Kershaw slumped further, earning just 3.0 points in the first half of the season, the lowest total he earned in any full half season he played since beginning his career in 2008. He did slightly better in the second half with 5.0 points.

Kershaw’s rise to pass Johnson even a year ago seemed inevitable. But now, given his less-than-Kershaw-like performance since July 2017, there are doubts. Are his best days behind him? Can he return to form? At 31 to start 2019, he has potentially eight or nine seasons left and often, pitchers in their mid-30s have some of their best seasons. But if he continues to trail off, can he even rise to second place overall? Kershaw is 30.0 Box-Toppers points behind Pedro Martinez (244.8) on Box-Toppers “all-time” list. (Martinez is projected to have 270 points if his entire career from 1992 were tracked.)

Box-Toppers points are a measure of how much a player provides key contributions to his team’s wins. Specifically, 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.

The chart here shows the rankings of the top 100 players since record keeping began in 1995, along with their career Box-Toppers point total and, where applicable, their Box-Toppers points for 2018. The chart also shows each player’s roster status as of the end of the 2018 season and players’ rank in career Box-Toppers points at the end of the 2017 season, to show their rise or fall in rankings since last season.

Notables

Besides Johnson, Martinez and Kershaw, the top three players in career points already mentioned, here are some notable players on the top 100 list:

4. CC Sabathia of the Yankees rose to fourth place on Box-Toppers “all-time” list in 2018, passing Curt Schilling, with 200.4 Box-Toppers points, becoming just the fourth player since 1995 to achieve the 200-point milestone. (It should be noted Schilling would have an estimated 232 Box-Toppers points if his entire career from 1988 were tracked.) Sabathia, 38, had 7.7 Box-Toppers points in 2018, which ranks 86th among all players for 2018. 

5. Curt Schilling is the highest-ranked retired player on Box-Toppers career points list who is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He has 194.1 points. If Schilling’s entire pitching career were tracked from 1988, rough projections put his career Box-Toppers point total at 232. Schilling slipped from fourth to fifth place this season after being passed by Sabathia. In 2017, he fell to fourth place after holding the third-place spot for nearly 16 years, from 2001 to 2017.

6. Albert Pujols of the Angels has the most career Box-Toppers points of any batter since 1995, 190.8. But at age 38, Pujols had the fewest Box-Toppers points in 2018 (3.0) than he had in any of his 18 seasons.

7. Zack Greinke of the Diamondbacks rises from eighth place in 2017 to seventh in 2018 with 189.2 Box-Toppers points (just 1.6 behind Pujols). Greinke, 35, earned 13.0 points in 2018, 26th among all players. Greinke passed Alex Rodriguez (187.0) to reach seventh place.

9. Max Scherzer of the Nationals rose seven spots from 16th in 2017 to ninth place in 2018 with 181.8 career Box-Toppers points. Scherzer, 34, earned 25.1 Box-Toppers points in 2018, second among all players. Scherzer has surged up the top 100 in recent years after earning 18 or more Box-Toppers points for six straight seasons and 20 or more for five straight seasons. On June 5, Scherzer became the sixth active player among the “all-time” top 10, the highest number of active players on the list since 2008.

10. Justin Verlander of the Astros rose eight spots from 18th in 2017 to 10th place in 2018 with 178.1 career Box-Toppers points. Verlander, 35, earned 24.1 Box-Toppers points in 2018, third among all players. Verlander joined the “all-time” top 10 on Sept. 16, passing Felix Hernandez of the Mariners.

Two players fell from the “all-time” top 10 list in 2018:

11. Felix Hernandez of the Mariners fell from ninth in 2017 to 11th in 2018 with 174.1 Box-Toppers points. Hernandez, 32, earned 2.7 points in 2018. After putting together double-digit seasons from 2009 to 2015, Hernandez has had 6.0 or fewer points each of the past three seasons, including earning just 2.7 points in both 2017 and 2018, his lowest totals in any of his 14 seasons.

12. Roy Halladay, who retired in 2013, fell from 10th in 2017 to 12th in 2018 with 170.7 Box-Toppers points. Halladay was killed in a plane he was piloting in 2017.

Rising and falling

These six players made the biggest jump up the career Box-Toppers points list this year:

  • Indians pitcher Corey Kluber rose 47 spots, more than any other player, from 108th at the end of 2017 to 61st at the end of 2018. Kluber, 32, has 109.1 career points, earning 21.7 in 2018, fourth among all players. Kluber has earned more than 20 points in four of the past five seasons. He is one of only two players to rise into the top 100 in 2018 and the only one making his top 100 debut—the other player, Rangers pitcher Yovani Gallardo (98th place with 92.7 points) fell out of the top 100 in 2017, but rejoined in 2018.

  • Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale rose 23 spots from 55th at the end of 2017 to 32nd at the end of 2018. Sale, 29, has 132.6 career Box-Toppers points, earning 21.1 in 2018, fifth among all players. Sale has earned 13 or more Box-Toppers points each season for seven straight years and more than 20 in both the past two seasons. Sale debuted in the “all-time” top 100 in 2017 making a 53-spot rise, the biggest jump that season.

  • Red Sox pitcher David Price rose 16 spots from 56th at the end of 2017 to 40th at the end of 2018. Price 33, has 125.3 career Box-Toppers points, earning 14.4 in 2018, 18th among all players and 12th among AL pitchers.

  • Brewers pitcher Gio Gonzalez rose 15 spots from 87th at the end of 2017 to 72nd at the end of 2018. Gonzalez, 33, has 103.9 career Box-Toppers points, earning 7.7 in 2018, 84th among all players and 41st among NL pitchers.

  • Ryan Braun of the Brewers rose 12 spots from 98th at the end of 2017 to 86th at the end of 2018, the biggest rise among all batters on the career points top 100 list. Braun, 35, has 97.7 career Box-Toppers points, earning 6.0 in 2018, 144th among all players and 24th among NL batters.

  • Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner rose 11 spots from 63rd at the end of 2017 to 52nd at the end of 2018. Bumgarner, 29, has 114.4 career Box-Toppers points, earning 6.7 in 2018, 118th among all players and 52nd among NL pitchers.

With just two players—Kluber and Gallardo—rising into the top 100 in 2018, these two players on the top 100 list at the end of 2017 were displaced:

  • Troy Glaus fell from 99th in 2017 to 101st place with 91.6 career Box-Toppers points.

  • Derek Lowe fell from 100th in 2017 to 102nd place with 91.5 career Box-Toppers points.

Five retired players had the biggest drop down the list, as they were passed by the most players rising up the list in 2018. Each fell four spots:

  • John Smoltz, with 160.9 career points, fell from 14th to 18th.

  • Tim Hudson, with 157.0 career points, fell from 15th to 19th.

  • Mike Mussina, with 155.6 career points, fell from 17th to 21st.

  • Miguel Tejada, with 102.3 career points, fell from 70th to 74th.

  • Ken Griffey Jr., with 102.2 Career points, fell from 71st to 75th.

Top 100 for 2018 & ‘All-time’

There are 11 players on the “all-time” top 100 who also appeared in Box-Toppers top 100 player list for 2018. They are shown in the chart below, listed in order by their Box-Toppers career player ranking.

Those 11 players include four of the top five players on the 2018 list—Scherzer (second with 25.1 points), Verlander (third with 24.1), Kluber (fourth with 21.7) and Sale (fifth with 21.1). Rays pitcher Blake Snell, who had the most Box-Toppers points in 2018 (25.5), ranks 574th in career points since 1995 (34.5).

Only two players—Scherzer and Verlander—are in the top 10 in both the 2018 and “all-time” lists: Scherzer ranks ninth in the “all-time” list and second in the 2018 list, while Verlander ranks 10th in the “all-time” list and third in the 2018 list.

Last year, there were also 11 players who made both the 2017 top 100 list and the “all-time” career points top 100 list. Nine of those 11 players are the same as last year. Two players who did not return to both lists are:

  • Twins pitcher Ervin Santana, who earned no Box-Toppers points in 2018 and ranked 745th. Santana still ranks 53rd on the “all-time” list with 113.4, falling three spots from 50th at the end of 2017. Santana ranked ninth among all players in 2017 with 16.1 Box-Toppers points.

  • Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who earned 6.7 Box-Toppers points in 2018, ranking 116th. Strasburg still ranks 58th on the “all-time” list with 112.1, falling two spots from 56th at the end of 2017. Strasburg ranked fourth among all players in 2017 with 22.5 Box-Toppers points.

The two players making both top 100 lists who did not make both lists in 2017:

  • Red Sox pitcher David Price, who ranks 40th on the career points list (125.3) and 18th on the 2018 point list (14.4). At the end of last season, Price ranked 56th on the career points list but had just 4.7 points in 2017, 212th among all players.

  • Indians pitcher Corey Kluber, who ranks 61st on the career points list (109.1) and fourth on the 2018 points list (21.7). At the end of last season, Kluber ranked 108th on the career points list and fifth on the 2017 points list (22.0).

Breakdown: Active vs. Inactive

Of the 100 players on the “all-time” list, 74 of them ended the season either retired (72) or were released by their team during 2018 (two). Additionally, one player on the list, Adrian Beltre (116.8 career points, 46th place) announced his retirement after the 2018 season.

Another three players who were listed as free agents during the 2018 season have been moved to being listed by Box-Toppers as retired:

  • Pitcher John Lackey, 40, who last played for the Cubs in 2017, announced his retirement. Lackey ranks 37th with 127.2 career Box-Toppers points.

  • First baseman Ryan Howard, 39, who was last signed with the Rockies and Braves in 2017, announced his retirement. Howard ranks 85th with 98.7 career Box-Toppers points.

  • Pitcher Johan Santana, 39, who was last signed with the Blue Jays in 2015 and last played with the Mets in 2012. Santana doesn’t seem to have announced his retirement. As recently as a year ago, he announced an attempt to comeback to Major League Baseball. He seems to have made no comeback pronouncements recently. Plus, since he was inactive for five seasons, he was eligible for Hall of Fame voting in 2018 and received 2.4 percent of the vote, not enough to remain eligible for the 2019 ballot. Unless we hear differently, Box-Toppers is as of now, moving Santana from free agent to retired. Santana ranks 14th in career Box-Toppers points since 1995 with 166.6.

At the end of 2017, there were 66 players listed as retired, which has increased to 72 at the end of 2018.

The two active players listed as released by their team during 2018 are:

  • Pitcher Tim Lincecum, 34, (50th place, 115.0 career Box-Toppers points), released by the Rangers in 2018.

  • Pitcher Scott Kazmir, 34, (70th place, 105.1 career Box-Toppers points), released by the Braves prior to the start of the 2018 season.

Top teams

With 74 players listed as inactive at the end of 2018, only 26 are listed as active.

The Texas Rangers have three active players on the list, most of any team:

  • Pitcher Bartolo Colon, 20th place with 155.9 career Box-Toppers points.

  • Third baseman Adrian Beltre, 46th place with 116.8 points. (Beltre announced his retirement after the end of the 2018 season.)

  • Pitcher Yovani Gallardo, 98th place with 92.7 points.

Six teams have two active players on the top 100 career points list: Red Sox, Cubs, Nationals, Tigers, Brewers and Giants. There are 18 teams that have at least one representative among the top 100. 

Breakdown by position

Pitchers outnumber batters on the “all-time” list. There are 61 pitchers and 39 batters. (On the top 100 list for 2018, pitchers outnumber batters, 82 to 18.)

Here is a breakdown of players by their primary position on the “all-time” list:

  • 58—Starting pitcher

  • 17—Outfield (6 CF, 5 LF, 6 RF)

  • 10—First base

  • 5—Third base

  • 4—Designated hitter

  • 3—Closing pitcher

  • 1—Second base

  • 1—Catcher

  • 1—Shortstop

At the end of 2017, there were 60 pitchers on the list, meaning there is a net gain of one pitcher since last year.

Pitchers tend to dominate Box-Toppers statistics especially in the short term and they especially dominated in 2018, when batters had a historically low year, which is why pitchers held 82 of the top 100 spots in Box-Toppers rankings for the 2018 season. Over the longer term, batters tend to do better in Box-Toppers points because top batters tend to have longer, more productive careers than top pitchers. Also, in the first 15 years of Box-Toppers record keeping from 1995 to about 2009, batters in general did a lot better, earning 50 percent or more of all Box-Toppers points awarded. Since 2010, batters’ share of points has shrunk, falling below 40 percent in 2018.

Box-Toppers methodology

Keep in mind that these are only statistics since 1995. For many players who debuted before then (such as Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux), their career Box-Toppers totals would likely be far higher if the years before 1995 were tracked. On the other hand, for a player like Chipper Jones (ranked 24th), Box-Toppers covers virtually his entire career—he only played in eight games before 1995, so Box-Toppers covers 2,491 games of his 2,499-game career. 

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.

Box-Toppers strives for accuracy. See a mistake in a post? A wrong name, wrong team, grammar error, spelling goof, etc.? Thanks for pointing it out! Contact Box-Toppers here. Let's fix it and make it right.

Overlapping players

Here are the 11 players who are on both the Box-Toppers’ top 100 list of “all-time” (above) and the Box-Toppers top 100 list for the 2018 season. Players are listed here in order of career Box-Toppers points with their predominant position played during the 2018 season and the team with which they finished the 2018 season. Shown are their career Box-Toppers point (BTP) total, their rank among players in career points, their Box-Toppers point total for 2018 and their rank among players in 2018.

All-time 2018
Player Pos Team BTP Rank BTP Rank
Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 214.8 3 8.0 73
Sabathia, C.C. 1492 pi sp nyy al 200.4 4 7.7 86
Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp ari nl 189.2 7 13.0 26
Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 181.8 9 25.1 2
Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp hou al 178.1 10 24.1 3
Lester, Jon 2173 pi sp chi nl 164.6 16 10.7 40
Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp chi nl 164.5 17 11.1 37
Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 132.6 32 21.1 5
Price, David 2593 pi sp bos al 125.3 40 14.4 18
Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 109.1 61 21.7 4
Gonzalez, Gio 2626 pi sp mil nl 103.9 72 7.7 84
BTP: Box-Toppers points
What are those numbers after players' names?
About Box-Toppers’ team abbreviations