Box-Toppers’ top single game performances for 2017

Here are the top performances by a player in single game for 2017 as measured by Box-Toppers’ game score. Pitchers had the highest game scores. Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees had the season’s highest Box-Toppers game score of +19.0 on Sept. 29 when he pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out 15. Players are ranked by their Box-Toppers game scores. Box-Toppers points (BTP) they earned for their performances are also listed (all 10 listed here earned 2.0 for being overall Player of the Day). For details of their performance, click the date link for that day’s Box-Toppers report.  
 

Date BTP Score Game Player IP H R ER BB K
1 9/29 2.0 19.0 NYY 4, TOR 0 Masahiro Tanaka W (13‑12) 7.0 3 0 0 0 15
2 9/4 2.0 18.2 ARI 13, LAD 0 Robbie Ray (W, 12-5) 7.2 3 0 0 0 14
3 8/29 2.0 18.0 BAL 4, SEA 0 Dylan Bundy (W, 13-8) 9.0 1 0 0 2 12
4 7/28 2.0 18.0 NYY 6, TB 1 Masahiro Tanaka (W, 8-9) 8.0 2 1 1 0 14
5 8/8 2.0 18.0 BOS 2, TB 0 Chris Sale (W, 14-4) 8.0 2 0 0 1 13
6 5/27 2.0 18.0 WSH 3, SD 0 Stephen Strasburg (W,6-1) 7.0 3 0 0 1 15
7 10/1 2.0 18.0 TB 6, BAL 0 Blake Snell W (5-7) 7.0 2 0 0 0 13
8 6/19 2.0 17.0 CLE 12, BAL 0 Corey Kluber (W,6-2) 9.0 3 0 0 0 11
9 6/3 2.0 17.0 MIA 3, ARI 0 Edinson Volquez (W,2-7) 9.0 0 0 0 2 10
10 9/20 2.0 17.0 BOS 9, BAL 0 Chris Sale W (17-7) 8.0 4 0 0 0 13

Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees had Box-Toppers' best-single game performance of 2017

boxtoppers top games.png

Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka had the best single-game performance of the 2017 season as measured by Box-Toppers game score.

Tanaka on Sept. 29 struck out 15 over seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and no walks, in the 4-0 win over the Blue Jays. He had a Box-Toppers game score of +19.0, the highest in a single game for the season. There were 2,430 games played in 2017.

There were 10 games in 2017 in which a Box-Toppers Player of the Game had a Box-Toppers game score of +17.0 or more. Two players each appear twice on the list of the 10 top single-game performances of 2017—Tanaka and Chris Sale of the Red Sox. (Sale led all players in Box-Toppers points for the season.)

Tanaka, in addition to his first-ranked Box-Toppers game score, also had the fourth-best game score: On July 28, Tanaka had a Box-Toppers game score of +18.0 when he struck out 14 over eight innings, allowing one run, two hits and no walks, in the 6-1 win over the Rays.

Sale, who led all players with 25.1 Box-Toppers points in 2017, had two of the 10 top Box-Toppers game scores of the past season:

  • On Aug. 8, Sale struck out 13 over eight scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk, in the Red Sox’ 2-0 win over the Rays. Sale had a Box-Toppers game score of +18.0, which ranked as the fifth-highest of the season. (There were five game scores of +18.0 in 2017 and Sale’s was deemed third-best of those based on tiebreakers. Dylan Bundy of the Orioles had the highest-ranked +18.0 game score because he pitched the most innings—nine. Tanaka’s +18.0 game score ranked ahead of Sale’s because even though they both pitched eight innings, Tanaka had more strikeouts—14 vs. 13).
  • On Sept. 20, Sale struck out 13 over eight scoreless innings, allowing four hits and no walks, in the Red Sox’ 9-0 win over the Orioles. Sale had a game score of +17.0, the 10th-best of 2017. (Three players had game scores of +17.0 in 2017 and Sale’s ranked behind two others who pitched complete games, while Sale pitched eight innings in his game.)

No hitter

There was only one no-hitter pitched in 2017, by Edinson Volquez of the Marlins on June 3, and it ranked ninth among Box-Toppers’ highest game scores for the season. Volquez struck out 10 and allowed no hits, no runs and two walks in the 3-0 win over the Diamondbacks, earning a Box-Toppers game score of +17.0. 

While three players were tied with game scores of +17.0, Volquez’s game ranked second among those, behind Indians pitcher Corey Kluber’s June 19 game. Both Kluber and Volquez pitched complete, nine-inning games, but Kluber’s game ranks ahead of Volquez’s because he had more strikeouts—11 vs. 10.

Player of the Day honors

In each of the games in which a player had a Box-Toppers game score of +17.0 or more, that player had the highest game score of the day and earned Box-Toppers Player of the Day honors. In the chart above, you will note that each player received 2.0 Box-Toppers points (BTP) for their performance—1.0 for being Player of the Game and 1.0 bonus point for Player of the Day honors.

In fact, players with the top 17 Box-Toppers game scores for 2017 all earned Player of the Day honors. The highest game score for a player who did not earn Player of the Day honors in 2017 was +15.0, 18th-best for the season, by Indians pitcher Corey Kluber. On Aug. 8, Kluber pitched a complete game, allowing one run, three hits and no walks, striking out 11, in the 4-1 win over the Rockies. But Kluber had only the second-best game score of the day, behind Sale’s +18.0 (which ranked fifth-best of 2017). Kluber did not earn Player of the Day honors, nor did he earn American League Player of the Day honors (worth 1.7 total Box-Toppers points) since Player of the Day Sale was a fellow AL player. And so, despite his impressive +15.0 game score, Kluber earned only 1.0 Box-Toppers point for the game.

Complete games

Of the 10 top performances in 2017, all were done by pitchers but only three were done in a complete game:

  • On Aug. 29: Dylan Bundy of the Orioles pitched a complete game one-hit shutout, striking out 13 and walking two in the 4-0 win over the Mariners. Bundy had a Box-Toppers game score of +18.0, third-best of 2017.
  • On June 19: Corey Kluber of the Indians pitched a complete game three-hit shutout, striking out 11 and walking none in the 12-0 win over the Orioles. Kluber had a Box-Toppers game score of +17.0, eighth-best of 2017.
  • On June 3: Edinson Volquez of the Marlins, as previously mentioned, no-hit the Diamondbacks, 3-0. Volquez’s game score of +17.0 was ninth-best of 2017.

There were 42 games in 2017 in which a pitcher who pitched nine innings earned Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors. Of those, game scores ranged from Bundy’s +18.0 (third-best) to +3.0 by Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays on April 23, the 1,695th-best game score by a Player of the Game for 2017. Stroman allowed two runs, seven hits and one walk over nine innings, striking out five in the 6-2 win over the Angels.

Allowing no runs

In all but one of the 10 best performances, pitchers allowed no runs. 

Only Tanaka, in the previously mentioned fourth-ranked game on July 28, allowed a run. Tanaka struck out 14 over eight innings, allowing one run, two hits and no walks, in the 6-1 win over the Rays. 

In all the nine other games on the list, the pitchers earning Player of the Game honors allowed no runs.

Top game score by batter

The top Box-Toppers game score by a batter who earned Player of the Game honors this year was Anthony Rendon of the Nationals, who on April 30, had a Box-Toppers game score of +15.0. This is the 16th-highest Box-Toppers game score by a Player of the Game in 2017. It also ranks as what may be the highest Box-Toppers game score by a batter in Box-Toppers’ 23-season history.

In the game, Rendon hit three home runs, doubled, went 6-for-6, scored five times and drove in 10 runs, in the 23-5 win over the Mets.

Rendon’s 16th-place finish among Box-Toppers top game performances in 2017 is particularly impressive because in recent seasons, batters did not fare as well. 

For example, in 2016, the batter earning Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors with the highest Box-Toppers game score was C.J. Cron of the Angels, with a Box-Toppers game score of +10.0, which ranked 149th among the 2,428 games played in 2016. 

In 2015, Yoenis Cespedes of the Mets had Box-Toppers’ best performance by a batter with a Box-Toppers game score of +11.0. That ranked 122nd among the 2,429 games played in 2015.

How top performers fared in Box-Toppers points

Sale, who had two of Box-Toppers’ 10 top single game performances in 2017 (ranked fifth and 10th), led all players during the season with 25.1 Box-Toppers points.

Three other players who finished in the top 10 in season Box-Toppers points for 2017 also were among players with one of Box-Toppers’ top 10 single-game performances in 2017:

  • Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who had the sixth-best single-game performance in 2017 (+18.0 Box-Toppers game score on May 27), ranked fourth in season Box-Toppers points (22.5).
  • Indians pitcher Corey Kluber, who had the eighth-best single-game performance in 2017 (+17.0 Box-Toppers game score on June 19), ranked fifth in season Box-Toppers points (22.0).
  • Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray, who had the second-best single-game performance in 2017 (+18.2 Box-Toppers game score on Sept. 4), ranked 10th in season Box-Toppers points (16.0).

Here’s how the other players with Box-Toppers’ top 10 single-game performances fared in Box-Toppers points for the season:

  • Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who had the top-ranked single-game performance in 2017 (+19.0 on Sept. 29) and the fourth-ranked single-game performance in 2017 (+18.0 on July 28), ranked 23rd in season Box-Toppers points (11.4), eighth among AL pitchers.
  • Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy, who had the third-ranked single-game performance in 2017 (+18.0 on Aug. 29), ranked 50th in season Box-Toppers points (9.4), 17th among AL pitchers.
  • Rays pitcher Blake Snell, who had the seventh-ranked single-game performance in 2017 (+18.0 on Oct. 1), ranked 200th in season Box-Toppers points (5.0), 54th among AL pitchers.
  • Marlins pitcher Edinson Volquez, who had the ninth-ranked single-game performance in 2017 (+17.0 on June 3), ranked 243rd in season Box-Toppers points (4.0), 63rd among NL pitchers.

Orioles most frequent victim of top performances

In Box-Toppers’ top 10 single-game performances, no team was on the losing side of these games more than the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles appear three times as the losing team on the top 10 list. The Orioles lost to:

  • Blake Snell and the Rays on Oct. 1, the seventh-ranked top performance (+18.0).
  • Corey Kluber and the Indians on June 19, the eighth-ranked top performance (+17.0).
  • Chris Sale and the Red Sox on Sept. 20, the 10th-ranked top performance (+17.0).

No Box-Toppers game scores of +20.0 or more in 2017

In 2017, no player earning Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors achieved a Box-Toppers game score of +20.0 or more. 

By contrast, in 2016, it was done six times and in 2015, it was done nine times. In fact, Masahiro Tanaka’s top single-game performance for 2017 would not have ranked among 2015’s top 13 performances and would have ranked eighth among 2016’s top performances.

Lowest game score to earn Player of the Game

The player earning Player of the Game honors with the lowest Box-Toppers game score in 2017 was Phillies pitcher Ben Lively, who had a game score of 0.0, the 2,430th-best for a Player of the Game during the season. 

On Aug. 31, Lively went 1-for-3 and drove in two runs, in the 3-2 win over the Marlins. His game score was the highest among Phillies players that day. It was one of seven times during the season that a pitcher earned Player of the Game honors for batting. Interestingly, Lively is the only pitcher to do it twice in 2017 (he also did it Sept. 5) and they are the only times in his career Lively has earned Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors.

Twelve times during 2017 a player earned Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors with a Box-Toppers game score of 0.0. All were batters. Lively was the lowest-ranked based on tiebreakers, including number of at bats and walks.

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.

Related: 

Top 100 players in Box-Toppers points for 2017

Box-Toppers top single game performances for 2016

Box-Toppers top single game performances for 2015