Kershaw remains strong over past half decade—who is rising & who is declining among baseball's top stars

Here are Box-Toppers top players over the period 2012-2017 compared with Box-Toppers top players over the period 2013-2017. Players are shown with their team and their accumulated Box-Toppers point (BTP) total over each period. Players who have risen in standings from 2012-2017 to 2013-2017 are indicated with an up arrow (⬆), players who have fallen are indicated with a down arrow (⬇), players who have remained steady (⬌) and players who have changed leagues in the offseason (✱). Players who have fallen out of their top 10 category since 2012-2017 are listed in italics below the top 10 of 2013-2017, indicating their current status.  
 

2012-2017 2013-2017
Top players overall Pos Team BTP Top players overall Pos Team BTP
1 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 147.2 ⬌Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 126.4
2 Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 128.9 ⬌Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 111.9
3 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 106.5 ⬌Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 90.8
4 Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp ari nl 99.1 ⬆Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 87.4
5 Strasburg, Stephen 2736 pi sp dc nl 96.7 ⬇Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp ari nl 86.4
6 Bumgarner, Madison 2753 pi sp sf nl 88.0 ⬇Strasburg, Stephen 2736 pi sp dc nl 76.3
7 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 87.4 ⬆Lester, Jon 2173 pi sp chi nl 73.9
8 Hernandez, Felix 2064 pi sp sea al 82.4 ⬆Arrieta, Jake 2738 pi sp free agent 71.2
9 Price, David 2593 pi sp bos al 79.1 ⬇Bumgarner, Madison 2753 pi sp sf nl 70.3
10 Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp tex al 78.4 ⬌Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp tex al 65.4
• Hernandez falls to 12th (63.7 BTP).
• Price falls to 11th (65.0).
What are those numbers after players' names?

Clayton Kershaw, Box-Toppers' top player from 2012-2017, remains top player over 2013-2017

Box-Toppers player rankings graphic.png

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, Box-Toppers’ dominant player over the period 2012-2017, remains Box-Toppers’ dominant player over the period 2013-2017.

Leader comparisons

Here are players leading each main Box-Toppers category over the period 2012-2017 compared with the period 2013-2017. There is a new leader among AL batters: Edwin Encarnacion of the Indians leads over 2013-17, displacing Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, the leader over 2012-16. In all other categoriea, the leader remains the same.  
 

Overall Pos Team BTP
2012‑17 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 147.2
2013‑17 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 126.4
AL pitchers Pos Team BTP
2012‑17 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 106.5
2013‑17 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 90.8
AL batters Pos Team BTP
2012‑17 Cabrera, Miguel 1776 1b det al 59.8
2013‑17 Encarnacion, Edwin 2098 dh 1b cle al 48.7
NL pitchers Pos Team BTP
2012‑17 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 147.2
2013‑17 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 126.4
NL batters Pos Team BTP
2012‑17 McCutchen, Andrew 2637 cf pit nl 47.5
2013‑17 McCutchen, Andrew 2637 cf sf nl 39.0
What are those numbers after players' names?

Kershaw accumulated 147.2 Box-Toppers points from 2012-2017, leading second-place player Max Scherzer of the Nationals (128.9), by 18.3 points. Kershaw has 126.4 Box-Toppers points since the start of 2013, leading second-place Scherzer (111.9) by a narrower, 14.5-point gap over that period.

Kershaw has led all players in this rolling six-season Box-Toppers point total since July 21, 2013, when he took the lead among all players in points from 2008-2013. That day, he passed CC Sabathia of the Yankees, who had 93.6 Box-Toppers points from 2008-2013. Kershaw edged past Sabathia that day with 94.1 points over the period. And has continued to lead players ever since.

Scherzer is the only player with a reasonable chance of catching and passing Scherzer in the six-year rolling total during 2018. But Scherzer would need to earn more than 14.5 more Box-Toppers points than Kershaw during the season to do so. While Scherzer has earned more than 20 points in each of the last four seasons, Kershaw has surpassed the 20-point mark in each of the past seven seasons, a longer streak than any other player since Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995.

Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, who ranks third in Box-Toppers points over 2013-2017 with 90.8, would need to have 35.7 more Box-Toppers points in 2018 than Kershaw to catch him. That seems unlikely since the record for points in one season is 33.7. Sale would need to break that record with Kershaw having zero or very few points in 2018.

The 2013-2017 Box-Toppers point total for all players comes from dropping the points they earned in the 2012 season from their 2012-2017 totals. Box-Toppers uses this longer-term total to gauge a players’ staying power over the recent past. If they are a flash in the pan, they don’t appear in the six-year rolling total top 10 standings. But they do show up if they are a player with proven, sustained longevity over several seasons.

And at the beginning of a season, when the rolling six-year total drops the earliest year of that timeframe, a player’s change in position in the rankings can give a clue to whether that player is improving, holding steady or declining.

So the player most affected by dropping the Box-Toppers point totals for 2012 is that year’s leader, Justin Verlander, who had 24.8 points. While Verlander did not rank in the overall top 10 for 2012-17, he ranked sixth among American League pitchers over that timespan. And dropping his 24.8 points from 2012, he now has 49.8 over 2013-2018, falling to 10th place among AL pitchers over that timespan.

Kershaw finished second among players in 2012 with 20.8 Box-Toppers points. While he lost that many points from the 2012-2017 total to the 2013-2017 total (147.2 to 126.4), he maintained top spot in the timespan’s player rankings. Kershaw has finished among the top three Box-Toppers points among all players for each of the past five seasons included in the 2013-2017 timespan:

  • 2013: 21.7 Box-Toppers points, first.
  • 2014: 31.5, first.
  • 2015: 25.7, second.
  • 2016: 24.4, second.
  • 2017: 23.1, third.

Top AL batters

Here are Box-Toppers top AL batters over the period 2012-2017 compared with Box-Toppers top players over the period 2013-2017. Players are shown with their team and their accumulated Box-Toppers point (BTP) total over each period. Players who have risen in standings from 2012-2017 to 2013-2017 are indicated with an up arrow (⬆), players who have fallen are indicated with a down arrow (⬇), players who have remained steady (⬌) and players who have changed leagues in the offseason (✱). Players who have fallen out of their top 10 category since 2012-2017 are listed in italics below the top 10 of 2013-2017, indicating their current status.  
 

2012-2017 2013-2017
Top AL batters Pos Team BTP Top AL batters Pos Team BTP
1 Cabrera, Miguel 1776 1b det al 59.8 ⬆Encarnacion, Edwin 2098 dh 1b cle al 48.7
2 Encarnacion, Edwin 2098 dh 1b cle al 55.2 ⬇Cabrera, Miguel 1776 1b det al 48.1
3 Davis, Chris 2478 1b bal al 52.9 ⬆Donaldson, Josh 3144 3b tor al 47.6
4 Trout, Mike 2949 cf ana al 52.5 ⬌Trout, Mike 2949 cf ana al 41.5
5 Beltre, Adrian 1141 3b tex al 47.9 ⬇Davis, Chris 2478 1b bal al 40.9
6 Donaldson, Josh 3144 3b tor al 47.6 ✱Stanton, Giancarlo rf nyy al 37.9
7 Cano, Robinson 2092 2b sea al 41.5 ⬌Cano, Robinson 2092 2b sea al 37.5
8 Upton, Justin 2411 lf ana al 40.4 ⬌Upton, Justin 2411 lf ana al 35.9
9 Hosmer, Eric 2886 1b kc al 38.0 ⬇Beltre, Adrian 1141 3b tex al 34.9
10 Jones, Adam 2347 cf bal al 38.0 ⬌Jones, Adam 2347 cf bal al 32.0
• Hosmer moves to NL (Padres).
What are those numbers after players' names?

Encarnacion displaces Cabrera to lead AL batters

While Kershaw maintains his lead among all players and among all National League pitchers in Box-Toppers points over 2013-17, there is a new leader among AL batters. Edwin Encarnacion of the Indians leads AL batters over 2013-2017 with 48.7, displacing the AL batting leader over 2012-2017, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers (59.8). Cabrera falls to second among AL batters for 2013-2017 (48.1). Encarnacion rose from second among AL batters over 2012-2017 (55.2). Encarnacion led AL batters in 2017 with 12.1 Box-Toppers points. Meanwhile, Cabrera had just 2.0 Box-Toppers points in 2017, the lowest of his 15-year career.

In the other categories, the leader remains the same:

Top AL pitchers

Here are Box-Toppers top AL pitchers over the period 2012-2017 compared with Box-Toppers top players over the period 2013-2017. Players are shown with their team and their accumulated Box-Toppers point (BTP) total over each period. Players who have risen in standings from 2012-2017 to 2013-2017 are indicated with an up arrow (⬆), players who have fallen are indicated with a down arrow (⬇), players who have remained steady (⬌) and players who have changed leagues in the offseason (✱). Players who have fallen out of their top 10 category since 2012-2017 are listed in italics below the top 10 of 2013-2016, indicating their current status.  
 

2012-2017 2013-2017
Top AL pitchers Pos Team BTP Top AL pitchers Pos Team BTP
1 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 106.5 ⬌Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 90.8
2 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 87.4 ⬌Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 87.4
3 Hernandez, Felix 2064 pi sp sea al 82.4 ⬆Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp tex al 65.4
4 Price, David 2593 pi sp bos al 79.1 ⬌Price, David 2593 pi sp bos al 65.0
5 Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp tex al 78.4 ⬇Hernandez, Felix 2064 pi sp sea al 63.7
6 Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp hou al 74.6 ⬆Carrasco, Carlos 2885 pi sp cle al 62.9
7 Carrasco, Carlos 2885 pi sp cle al 62.9 ⬆Archer, Chris 3194 pi sp tb al 57.1
8 Kimbrel, Craig 2825 pi cp bos al 61.4 ⬆Liriano, Francisco 2104 pi sp det al 52.7
9 Liriano, Francisco 2104 pi sp hou al 59.7 ⬆Keuchel, Dallas 3050 pi sp hou al 50.2
10 Archer, Chris 3194 pi sp tb al 57.1 ⬇Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp hou al 49.8
• Kimbrel falls to 13th (46.4 BTP).
What are those numbers after players' names?

Sale maintains lead over AL pitchers

AL pitchers—Chris Sale of the Red Sox continues to lead over second-place AL pitcher Corey Kluber of the Indians, but that lead has narrowed. Sale led Kluber by 19.1 Box-Toppers points over 2012-2017 (106.5 vs. 87.4) but leads by only 3.4 over 2013-2017 (90.8 vs. 87.4). Kluber had the same point total in both timespans because he received no Box-Toppers points in 2012 and did not make his Box-Toppers debut until 2013, when he earned his first points.

Top NL batters

Here are Box-Toppers top NL batters over the period 2012-2017 compared with Box-Toppers top players over the period 2013-2017. Players are shown with their team and their accumulated Box-Toppers point (BTP) total over each period. Players who have risen in standings from 2012-2017 to 2013-2017 are indicated with an up arrow (⬆), players who have fallen are indicated with a down arrow (⬇), players who have remained steady (⬌) and players who have changed leagues in the offseason (✱). Players who have fallen out of their top 10 category since 2012-2017 are listed in italics below the top 10 of 2013-2017, indicating their current status.  
 

2012-2017 2013-2017
Top NL batters Pos Team BTP Top NL batters Pos Team BTP
1 McCutchen, Andrew 2637 cf pit nl 47.5 ⬌McCutchen, Andrew 2637 cf sf nl 39.0
2 Stanton, Giancarlo 2737 rf fla nl 44.9 ⬆Goldschmidt, Paul 2935 1b ari nl 38.8
3 Gonzalez, Carlos 2460 rf col nl 44.2 ⬆Cespedes, Yoenis 3008 lf nym nl 37.9
4 Cespedes, Yoenis 3008 lf nym nl 43.9 ⬆Rizzo, Anthony 3063 1b chi nl 37.5
5 Goldschmidt, Paul 2935 1b ari nl 43.3 ✱Hosmer, Eric 2886 1b sd nl 36.0
6 Rizzo, Anthony 3063 1b chi nl 42.5 ⬆Freeman, Freddie 2887 1b atl nl 32.7
7 Braun, Ryan J. 2300 lf mil nl 39.5 ⬆Posey, Buster 2745 ca 1b sf nl 32.5
8 Posey, Buster 2745 ca 1b sf nl 38.0 ⬆Murphy, Daniel 2589 2b dc nl 32.0
9 Freeman, Freddie 2887 1b atl nl 36.2 ✱Bruce, Jay 2453 rf nym nl 31.7
10 Murphy, Daniel 2589 2b dc nl 36.0 ⬆Arenado, Nolan 3306 3b col nl 29.9
• Gonzalez is a free agent (as of March 10)
• Stanton moves to AL (Yankees).
• Braun falls to 12th (27.0 BTP).
What are those numbers after players' names?

McCutchen's NL batting lead narrows

NL batters—Andrew McCutchen, who moved from the Pirates to the Giants in the offseason, continues to lead NL batters. Over 2012-2017, he had 47.5 Box-Toppers points, 2.6 ahead of second-place NL batter Giancarlo Stanton, then of the Marlins (44.9). Stanton has been traded to the Yankees in the AL for 2018. Now, McCutchen leads by only 0.2 over 2013-2017 with 39.0 Box-Toppers points, ahead of second-place Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks (38.8), who rises from fifth over 2012-2017 (43.3). Interestingly, all three top NL batters over 2012-2017, are not on the same team they were on in 2017: In addition to McCutchen’s and Stanton’s moves, third-place Carlos Gonzalez, who was with the Rockies in 2017, is an unsigned free agent as of March 10.

Top NL pitchers

Here are Box-Toppers top NL pitchers over the period 2012-2017 compared with Box-Toppers top players over the period 2013-2017. Players are shown with their team and their accumulated Box-Toppers point (BTP) total over each period. Players who have risen in standings from 2012-2017 to 2013-2017 are indicated with an up arrow (⬆), players who have fallen are indicated with a down arrow (⬇), players who have remained steady (⬌) and players who have changed leagues in the offseason (✱). Players who have fallen out of their top 10 category since 2012-2017 are listed in italics below the top 10 of 2013-2017, indicating their current status.  
 

2012-2017 2013-2017
Top NL pitchers Pos Team BTP Top NL pitchers Pos Team BTP
1 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 147.2 ⬌Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 126.4
2 Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 128.9 ⬌Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 111.9
3 Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp ari nl 99.1 ⬌Greinke, Zack 1871 pi sp ari nl 86.4
4 Strasburg, Stephen 2736 pi sp dc nl 96.7 ⬌Strasburg, Stephen 2736 pi sp dc nl 76.3
5 Bumgarner, Madison 2753 pi sp sf nl 88.0 ⬆Lester, Jon 2173 pi sp chi nl 73.9
6 Lester, Jon 2173 pi sp chi nl 78.3 ⬇Bumgarner, Madison 2753 pi sp sf nl 70.3
7 Arrieta, Jake 2738 pi sp chi nl 77.2 ⬆deGrom, Jacob 3343 pi sp nym nl 60.8
8 Cueto, Johnny 2400 pi sp sf nl 72.0 ⬆Wainwright, Adam 2150 pi sp stl nl 57.6
9 Darvish, Yu 3003 pi sp lad nl 68.6 ⬇Cueto, Johnny 2400 pi sp sf nl 57.6
10 Gonzalez, Gio 2626 pi sp dc nl 66.8 ⬇Darvish, Yu 3003 pi sp chi nl 51.8
• Arrieta is a free agent (as of March 10).
• Gonzalez falls to 13th (49.1 B-T pts).
What are those numbers after players' names?

NL pitchers—Kershaw still leads over Scherzer as he does in the overall rankings.

Other notes of interest:

  • Pitcher Jake Arrieta rises to eighth place among all players over the 2013-2017 timespan with 71.2 Box-Toppers points. He ranked 12th over 2012-2017 with 77.2, outside the top 10. Arrieta, who played with the Cubs from 2013 to 2017, is an unsigned free agent as of March 10. So even though he’s one of Box-Toppers’ top 10 players over the past five seasons, he doesn’t rank among the top 10 AL or NL pitchers since he currently has no team. He would be third among AL pitchers and sixth among NL pitchers.
  • Eric Hosmer, formerly of the Royals, signed with the Padres in the offseason, and so moves from the AL top 10 batters for 2012-2017 to the NL top 10 batters for 2013-2017. He ranked ninth among AL batters over 2012-2017 with 38.0 Box-Toppers points. He ranks fifth among NL batters over 2013-2017 with 36.0.
  • Giancarlo Stanton, formerly of the Marlins, was traded to the Yankees in the offseason, and so moves from the NL top 10 batters for 2012-2017 to the AL top 10 batters for 2013-2017. He ranked second among NL batters over 2012-2017 with 44.9 Box-Toppers points. He ranks sixth among AL batters over 2013-2017 with 37.9.
  • Jay Bruce, formerly of the Indians, signed to return to the Mets in the offseason, and so moves from the AL to the NL. He ranks ninth among the top 10 NL batters over 2013-2017 with 31.7. He ranked 13th among AL batters over 2012-2017 with 35.7, outside the top 10.

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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Related:

Last year: Comparing top 10 players by category over 2011-16 to 2012-17.

Two years ago: Comparing top 10 players by category over 2010-15 to 2011-16.

Player rankings over 2012-17: Clayton Kershaw holds a dominating lead in Box-Toppers points since the start of 2012.