Box-Toppers picks the Cleveland Indians to beat the Washington Nationals in the 2018 World Series.
The two teams were also atop Box-Toppers 2018 preseason team rankings and are the only two teams Box-Toppers projects to win 100 or more games this season.
Box-Toppers 2018 preseason predictionsBox-Toppers picks the Indians to beat the Nationals in the 2018 World Series. Here is the predicted order of finish of all 30 teams in their divisions and their projected win total.
|* Wild card|
|ALCS: Indians over Red Sox|
|NLCS: Nationals over Dodgers|
|World Series: Indians over Nationals|
While teams ranked higher in Box-Toppers 2018 preseason team rankings generally also rank higher in Box-Toppers preseason picks shown here, there are exceptions. For example, Box-Toppers picks the Chicago Cubs to win the National League Central Division even though the Milwaukee Brewers rank ahead of them in Box-Toppers preseason team rankings. The Brewers rank sixth while the Cubs rank seventh.
Those team rankings are based on the accumulation of Box-Toppers points players on a team’s current roster earned in 2017. Brewers players had 126.8 points while Cubs players had 121.7.
But when picking winners each season, Box-Toppers looks at more than just last year’s statistics—it takes into account players’ Box-Toppers point totals from previous years (although point totals from recent years and especially last season are weighted more heavily).
So while the Brewers rank slightly higher based on its roster’s 2017 Box-Toppers points, the Cubs rank ahead of the Brewers based on its roster’s Box-Toppers points over the previous two seasons (2016-2017) and previous five seasons (2013-2017).
The Brewers rank ahead of the Cubs in 2017 Box-Toppers points (sixth with 126.6 vs. seventh with 121.7). But the Cubs rank ahead of the Brewers in 2016-17 points (fifth with 235.4 vs. seventh with 217.3) and 2013-18 points (10th with 475.9 vs. 16th with 368.4).
Similarly, Box-Toppers picks the Boston Red Sox to win the American League East Division even though the New York Yankees rank ahead of them in Box-Toppers preseason team rankings. The Yankees rank fourth while the Red Sox rank ninth. Again, the Red Sox rank ahead in preseason picks because of their superior performance over both the previous two seasons and previous five seasons.
Here is a look at the top five teams based on players’ 2017 Box-Toppers point totals:
- Indians 143.4
- Nationals 136.3
- Dodgers 132.9
- Yankees 128.9
- Twins 128.5
Here is a look at the top five teams based on players’ Box-Toppers point totals from 2016-2017:
- Indians 269.6
- Nationals 266.0
- Dodgers 256.0
- Red Sox 240.5
- Cubs 235.4
Here is a look at the top five teams based on players’ Box-Toppers point totals from 2013-2017:
- Nationals 596.8
- Indians 558.9
- Red Sox 521.9
- Rangers 514.7
- Diamondbacks 501.9
While Box-Toppers gives more weight to more recent statistics when making predictions, it does rely on past history. Both the Indians and Nationals are among Box-Toppers’ top two teams in each of the three time periods with the Indians leading the two most recent periods (2017 and 2016-17), while the Nationals lead over the previous five seasons (2013-2017).
The Indians in 2017 were led by pitchers Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, who ranked fifth and sixth in Box-Toppers player rankings for the season. Kluber had 22.0 Box-Toppers points and Carrasco had 21.8. Kluber ranked second among AL pitchers, behind overall leader Chris Sale of the Red Sox (25.1). Carrasco ranked third among AL pitchers. The Indians also had the AL leading batter in Box-Toppers points in 2017, Edwin Encarnacion (12.1).
The Nationals in 2017, similarly had two of the NL’s top three pitchers as ranked by Box-Toppers points. Max Scherzer led all NL pitchers with 25.0 Box-Toppers points (second among all players behind Sale) and Stephen Strasburg ranked third with 22.5 (fourth overall, just behind Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw with 23.1). The Nationals top ranked batter is returning third baseman Anthony Rendon, who had 8.0 Box-Toppers points in 2018, 12th among NL batters.
Box-Toppers projects the Indians to defeat the Red Sox in the AL Championship Series and the Nationals to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series. Eight of the 10 playoff teams from 2017 are projected to make the 2018 postseason. The two newcomers are projected NL Wild Cards, the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers, displacing the 2017 NL Wild Card teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Last year’s World Series champion Houston Astros are projected to win the AL West, but lose in the AL Division Series to the Red Sox.
Box-Toppers does not factor in unknown players, rookies or prospects in these preseason picks. All projections are based on past big league performance and since a newcomer has no past big league performance, no projection is possible. For example, big things are expected from Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese pitcher/batter who signed with the Angels in the offseason. But since Ohtani has never played in the Majors, Box-Toppers makes no attempt to quantify his possible impact on the Angels (which Box-Toppers projects to finish fourth in the AL West with 75 wins). Similarly, prior to 2017, AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge had never earned Box-Toppers points and so Box-Toppers did not attempt to forecast his impact on the Yankees’ season. (Box-Toppers forecast the Yankees to finish fourth in the AL East with 78 wins in 2017. They actually finished second with 93 wins. Judge earned 11.2 Box-Toppers points in 2017, second among AL batters.)
Since Box-Toppers points are based on team wins, it is logical to extrapolate a team’s number of wins based on the share of accumulated Box-Toppers points from players on their current rosters. However, this year, more than others in recent memory, there seemed to be far more disparity between the high- and low-ranked teams, which made these extrapolations look outlandish and far-fetched. For example, Box-Toppers initially projected the Indians to win 124 games (the record in a season is 116), while the lowest-ranked Tampa Bay Rays were projected to win only 47. Box-Toppers initially projected nine teams to win 100 or more games, with nine teams losing 100 or more games (meaning they would win 62 or fewer). Since it is rare for more than a team or two to win or lose 100 games, Box-Toppers employed some mathematical compacting to bring all teams closer to a more realistic-looking center. Top teams had their win totals reduced while low-ranked teams had their win totals increased so that only two teams are now projected to win more than 100 games and three teams (which still seems like too many) are projected to lose 100 games (winning 62 or fewer)—the Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox and Rays. While team wins were mathematically adjusted up or down in this compacting process, each team maintained the overall ranking they initially held.
How Box-Toppers 2017 picks fared
Last year, Box-Toppers picked five of the six division winners for 2017 correctly. The only miss was the AL West winner, Houston Astros. Box-Toppers picked them to finish second behind the Texas Rangers, out of the playoffs. Instead, they won the division and went on to win the World Series.
Box-Toppers picked the Washington Nationals to win the World Series in 2017. However, they lost in the NLDS to the Cubs. Box-Toppers picked the Boston Red Sox to win the AL Championship. However, they lost to the Houston Astros in the ALDS.
All four teams Box-Toppers projected to make it to the league championship series—Red Sox and Indians in the AL and the Nationals and Dodgers in the NL—actually qualified for the 2017 postseason, but only the Los Angeles Dodgers made it that far. Box-Toppers picked the Dodgers to lose in the NLCS to the Nationals, but the Dodgers actually won the NLCS, defeating the Cubs.
Based on Box-Toppers’ 2017 projections, the San Francisco Giants had the most disappointing season. (See chart below: A look back at Box-Toppers 2017 preseason predictions). Box-Toppers projected them to win 98 games and qualify as top NL Wild Card. But they actually won 34 fewer games than projected (64) and finished fifth in the NL West. Giants prospects were hurt in 2017 when starting pitchers did not fare as well as they had in 2016. Johnny Cueto had 16.4 Box-Toppers points in 2016, but only 2.0 in 2017. Madison Bumgarner had 13.0 points in 2016, but only 2.0 in 2017. Matt Moore had 12.4 points in 2016, but only 4.7 in 2017.
Here are the top five teams who underperformed based on 2017 Box-Toppers projections, ranked by most games short of projected wins:
- Giants, 34 wins short of projection (projected to win 98, but won 64).
- Blue Jays, 27 (projected 103, actual 76).
- Tigers, 24 (projected 88, actual 64).
- Orioles, 20 (projected 95, actual 75).
- Mets, 19 (projected 89, actual 70).
Conversely, the Milwaukee Brewers had the best season of any team compared to 2017 projections. The Brewers were projected to win only 57 games, but actually won 29 more games than that, winning 86. Instead of finishing fourth in the NL Central, as projected, the Brewers finished second, behind the NL Central champion Cubs.
Here are the top five teams who performed better than expected based on 2017 Box-Toppers projections, ranked by most wins over the projection:
- Brewers, 29 wins over projection (projected to win 57, but actually won 86).
- Twins, 27 (projected 58, actual 85). Rather than losing more than 100 games and finishing last in the AL Central, the Twins finished second and qualified for the AL Wild Card.
- Reds, 19 (projected 49, actual 68). Box-Toppers predicted the Reds to have a dismal season, losing 113 games. While they performed far better than that, it was still a pretty dismal season in which they lost 94.
- Tie between Rockies and Padres, 16 (Rockies—projected 71, actual 87; Padres—(projected 55, actual 71). Box-Toppers picked the Rockies fourth in the NL West. They actually finished third and qualified as an NL Wild Card team.
It should be noted that most Box-Toppers picks are wrong:
- In 2013, Box-Toppers picked the Dodgers to beat the Blue Jays in the World Series. The Red Sox beat the Cardinals. Box-Toppers picked the Red Sox to finish fourth in the AL East.
- In 2014, Box-Toppers picked the Dodgers to beat the Tigers in the World Series. The Giants beat the Royals. Box-Toppers picked the Giants to finish second in the NL West, failing to earn the Wild Card berth.
- In 2015, Box-Toppers picked the Nationals to beat the Royals in the World Series. The Royals beat the Mets. Box-Toppers was closer, picking the Royals as AL champions, but no cigar.
- In 2016, Box-Toppers picked the Blue Jays over the Cubs in the World Series. The Cubs beat the Indians. Again, Box-Toppers was close, picking the Cubs as NL champions.
But in 2009, Box-Toppers did correctly make the preseason pick that the Yankees would beat the Phillies in that year’s World Series (but then, that year, so did everyone else).
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.
Box-Toppers 2018 preseason team rankings: Dodgers, Nationals top Box-Toppers 2017 preseason team rankings; Cubs slip to 5th
Box-Toppers 2017 preseason prediction: Box-Toppers picks the Nationals over the Red Sox in the 2017 World Series
A look back at Box-Toppers’ 2017 preseason predictionsHow did Box-Toppers 2017 preseason predictions pan out by the end of last season? Here’s a look showing how many games Box-Toppers predicted each team would win, the number of actual wins each team had and the difference (+/-) between prognostication and reality. For example, Box-Toppers predicted the Los Angeles Dodgers would win 104 games—and they did, exactly, right on the nose. But Box-Toppers also said the San Francisco Giants would win 98 games when, in reality, they won 34 fewer games than that (64). On the flip side, Box-Toppers said the Milwaukee Brewers would only win 57 games. They exceeded Box-Toppers’ expectations, winning 86 games, which was 29 more than predicted.
|* Picked as wild card teams in 2017.|
Tracking who most helps their teams win the most games, based on box score stats. A method to measure & compare baseball's top players.
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. Players earn Box-Toppers points 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.