How many seasons has Clayton Kershaw been among Box-Toppers top 10 players?
In the period from 1995 to 2004, when Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter redefined the shortstop position, which one led American League shortstops in Box-Toppers points most frequently?
Who led National League pitchers in Box-Toppers points in 1997? Or 2009?
And which of the players involved in the 1998 single-season home run chase—Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire—ended the season with the most Box-Toppers points?
These and many other questions can now be researched and answered by visiting Box-Toppers' new season-by-season Detail Leaders page.
This page includes a sprawling, scrolling chart that shows a listing of the top five or 10 players in different categories and subcategories for each season going back to 1995, the first year of Box-Toppers player tracking.
For example, the chart shows Box-Toppers top 10 players for each of the past 23 seasons, along with top 10 AL and NL pitchers and batters and the top five or 10 batters by position and by league for each season. In addition, there are the top five AL and NL middle relievers and closers each season plus the 10 players who lost (Dippers) and gained (Risers) the most Box-Toppers points from one season to the next.
Use your browser's search function to find appearances of specific player names or just scroll with wild abandon to view each season's top five NL catchers or see which players appeared among the top 10 biggest decliners in Box-Toppers points from one season to the next in multiple seasons.
The answers to the questions above, found thanks to data from the newly posted page:
• How many seasons has Clayton Kershaw been among Box-Toppers top 10 players?
Kershaw has been among the overall top 10 players for seven seasons, each season from 2011 through 2017. (He’s been among the top 10 NL pitchers for eight seasons, from 2010 to 2018).
• In the period from 1995 to 2004, when Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter redefined the shortstop position, which one led American League shortstops in Box-Toppers points most frequently?
Rodriguez led AL shortstops in season Box-Toppers points most frequently from 1995 to 2004, leading in five different seasons (1996, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002). Garciaparra led twice (1997 and 1998). Miguel Tejada also led twice (2003 and 2004). Jeter never led AL shortstops in Box-Toppers points in a season, even after 2004.
• Who led National League pitchers in Box-Toppers points in 1997? Or 2009?
Pedro Martinez of the Expos led NL pitchers in 1997 with 26.7 Box-Toppers points. Tim Lincecum of the Giants led NL pitchers in 2009 with 19.7 Box-Toppers points.
• And which of the players involved in the 1998 single-season home run chase—Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire—ended the season with the most Box-Toppers points?
While McGwire won the home run title in 1998 with a then-single-season record 70, Sosa edged out McGwire in Box-Toppers points. Sosa led NL batters with 15.5 while McGwire finished second among NL batters with 14.9. Sosa, who finished second in home runs that year with 66, also won the NL Most Valuable Player award with McGwire finishing second. Sosa’s Cubs made the playoffs that season while the Cardinals did not. Also Sosa edged out McGwire in runs, RBIs and batting average.
(Of course, in subsequent years that season’s home run chase has been shrouded by suspicions of both players using performance enhancing drugs to achieve their power.)
What questions do you have? If you find something interesting in the data here, let me know. Box-Toppers might post about it, giving you credit for uncovering the information. Do you have questions that might require data beyond what you see here? Let me know that, too.
Here’s one thing to note and ponder as you scroll through the chart. In the early days of Box-Toppers player tracking, from 1995 to 2003, there were at least two and usually three or more batters among the overall top 10 players for a season. In 2004, there was just one (Gary Sheffield of the Yankees ranked 10th with 16.2 Box-Toppers points). And in 2005, there were no batters among the top 10—it was all pitchers. And in fact, in the past eight seasons, there has only been one batter among the overall top 10 players in any season (Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers ranked eighth with 16.9 Box-Toppers points in 2013).
Not only has there been a dramatic shift to fewer batters in the overall top 10, but batters seem to be having lower and lower Box-Toppers point totals. In the first seven seasons of Box-Toppers tracking from 1995 to 2001, batters achieved Box-Toppers point totals of 15.0 or more in a single season 32 times. But in the past seven seasons (2011 to 2017), batters have achieved single-season point totals of 15.0 or more just four times.
Box-Toppers has continued to track players the exact same way since 1995, so what accounts for this drop in batters’ Box-Toppers point totals? Is it the fact that steroids were rampant and uncontrolled through the late 1990s and early 2000s and are now better regulated? Is there a bigger premium on pitching today? And was the 1990s era of high Box-Toppers point totals batters an anomaly? Or are the low totals of today actually the anomaly?
These are questions for which I’d welcome input or discussion and may be the subject of a more complete examination in an upcoming post.
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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