Box-Toppers career points top 10 has most active players on list in 10 years, with Scherzer’s rise

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With Max Scherzer’s rise into Box-Toppers career points top 10 list this month, there are now six active players in the top 10, the most since 2008, when there were eight.

Career points leaders, end of 2008

Here are the top 10 in career Box-Toppers points at the end of 2008, when eight active players were on the list. In the past 10 years, the number of active players on the top 10 list has dipped to as low as two, but this month rose to six, the highest since 2008. (Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995.)

Player Pos Team BTP
1 Randy Johnson pi sp Diamondbacks 271.1
2 Pedro Martinez pi sp Mets 241.1
3 Curt Schilling pi sp Red Sox 194.1
4 Roger Clemens pi sp Free agent 164.8
5 John Smoltz pi sp Braves 158.2
6 Manny Ramirez lf Dodgers 157.7
7 Mike Mussina pi sp Yankees 155.6
8 Barry Bonds lf Free agent 153.2
9 Greg Maddux pi sp Dodgers 151.7
10 Alex Rodriguez 3b Yankees 146.5

Career points leaders, June 2018

Here are the top 10 in career Box-Toppers points as of June 21, 2018. On June 5, Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer became the sixth active player among the overall top 10 in career points, the most since the end of the 2008 season.

Player Pos Team BTP
1 Randy Johnson pi sp Retired 278.8
2 Pedro Martinez pi sp Retired 244.8
3 Clayton Kershaw pi sp Dodgers 209.8
4 CC Sabathia pi sp Yankees 196.7
5 Curt Schilling pi sp Retired 194.1
6 Albert Pujols dh Angels 187.8
7 Alex Rodriguez 3b Retired 187.0
8 Zack Greinke pi sp Diamondbacks 180.2
9 Felix Hernandez pi sp Mariners 174.1
10 Max Scherzer pi sp Nationals 172.1

Number of active players in Box-Toppers career top 10 since 2007

With Max Scherzer’s rise into Box-Toppers career points top 10 list this month, there are now six active players among the top 10, the most since 2008, when there were eight. Here is a look at the number of active players have been on the list since the end of 2007 (when all 10 on the list were active). The number has dipped to as low as two active players on three occasions.

When Active Notes
End 2007 10 Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995 and for the first 13 seasons, only active players were among the Box-Toppers career point top 10 list.
Start 2008 8 Prior to 2008, 4th-ranked Roger Clemens and 8th-ranked Barry Bonds were no longer active. They were both listed as a free agents, but never played again.
Start 2009 5 3 top 10 players retired: Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina and Greg Maddux.
Start 2010 2 2 top overall players  retired: Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. John Smoltz was listed as a free agent all of 2010.
7/3/2010 3 Johan Santana passes Maddux to join the top 10.
April 2011 2 Manny Ramirez announces retirement.
7/8/2011 3 Roy Halladay passes Bonds to join the top 10.
Start 2012 4 5th-ranked Ramirez comes out of retirement, signing with Athletics.
5/10/2012 5 CC Sabathia passes Mussina to join the top 10.
June 2012 4 Ramirez becomes a free agent.
June 2013 5 Ramirez signs with Rangers.
August 2013 4 Ramirez released by Rangers.
Start 2014 2 Halladay retires. Alex Rodriguez considered inactive due to season-long suspension.
4/22/2014 3 Albert Pujols passes Smoltz to join the top 10.
May 2014 4 Ramirez signs with Cubs.
Start 2015 4 Ramirez is unsigned and considered inactive. Rodriguez returns from suspension.
July 2015 3 Santana released by Blue Jays.
5/1/2016 4 Clayton Kershaw passes Clemens to join the top 10.
8/13/2016 3 Rodriguez released by the Yankees.
8/15/2016 4 Felix Hernandez passes Santana to join the top 10.
7/7/2017 5 Zack Greinke passes Ramirez to join the top 10.
6/5/2018 6 Max Scherzer passes Halladay to join the top 10.
Active—Number of active players among Box-Toppers career points top 10 list shown on the dates when the number changed.

Scherzer, the Nationals pitcher, became the 10th-ranked player on Box-Toppers “all-time” list on June 5 with 172.1 career points, passing Roy Halladay (170.7). Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995.

From the advent of Box-Toppers tracking in 1995 through the end of the 2007 season, the career points top 10 list consisted of nothing but active players, all of whom began their careers prior to 1995. 

Prior to the 2008 season, two of those players who had been active in 2007 were listed as free agents and were considered inactive, bringing the number of active players on the list from 10 to eight. Those players were:

  • Pitcher Roger Clemens, who ranked fourth at the time with 164.8 career points from 1995 to 2007.
  • Outfielder Barry Bonds, who ranked eighth at the time with 153.2 career points from 1995 to 2007.

Both players, under the cloud of suspected performing enhancing drug use, were listed as free agents the entire 2008 season and never played in the Major League again.

The number of active players on the “all-time” top 10 fell from eight to five prior to the 2009 season when three players retired:

  • Pitcher Curt Schilling, who ranked third with 194.1 career points.
  • Pitcher Mike Mussina, who ranked seventh with 155.6 career points.
  • Pitcher Greg Maddux, who ranked 10th with 151.7 career points.

The active ranks on the “all-time” top 10 slipped further—down to to just two—prior to the start of the 2010 season. That happened when three additional players became inactive:

  • Pitcher Randy Johnson, who ranked first (and still ranks first) with 278.8 points, retired.
  • Pitcher Pedro Martinez, who ranked second (and still ranks second) with 244.8 points, retired.
  • Pitcher John Smoltz, who ranked sixth with 160.9 points, was listed as a free agent. (He did not play in the Majors after 2009.)

That left only two active players on the “all-time” top 10 at the start of 2010:

  • Outfielder Manny Ramirez of the Dodgers, who ranked fifth with 163.2 career points.
  • Third baseman Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, who ranked eighth with 153.4 career points.

Both Ramirez and Rodriguez were on the top 10 list at the end of 2007 when all 10 players on the list were active. At the time, Ramirez ranked sixth with 157.7 career points and Rodriguez ranked 10th with 146.5 career points.

The number of active players among the top 10 remained at two until July 3, 2010, when Mets pitcher Johan Santana became the third active player on the list, rising to 10th place, passing Maddux.

Two is the fewest number of active players there have been on Box-Toppers top 10 career points list. There were two other occasions when the number of active players among the top 10 dipped to as low as two:

  • From April 2011 to July 7, 2011—The number of active players slipped from three to two after Ramirez announced his retirement in April 2011. But the number rebounded to three on July 8, 2011, when Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay reached 153.3 career points, rising to 10th place and passing Bonds.
  • From the start of 2014 to April 21, 2014—At the end of 2013, there were four active players among the top 10, but prior to 2014, Halladay retired and Rodriguez was considered inactive due to his season-long suspension under baseball’s performance enhancing drug policy. But the number rebounded to three on April 22, when Albert Pujols of the Angels reached 161.3 career points, rising to 10th place and passing Smoltz.

Five active players among the top 10

The number of active players among the “all-time” top 10 has grown back to as many as five since 2010 on three occasions:

Overview of current and past players on top 10
Here is a look at all 18 players who have appeared on the career points “all-time” top 10 list since the end of the 2008 season
Randy Johnson
Ranked first in 2008 with 271.1 points as an active player. Today, he still ranks first with 278.8. He retired at the end of the 2009 season.
Pedro Martinez
Ranked second in 2008 with 241.1 points as an active player. Today, he still ranks second with 244.8 points. He retired at the end of the 2009 season.
Curt Schilling
Ranked third in 2008 with 194.1 points as an active player. Schilling held the third-place ranking in “all-time” points continuously from July 21, 2001, until May 23, 2017. Today, he ranks fifth with 194.1. He retired at the end of the 2008 season.
Roger Clemens
Ranked fourth in 2008 with 164.8 points and was listed as an inactive free agent. He exited the top 10 on May 1, 2016, passed by Kershaw. Today, he ranks 14th with 164.8. He last played in 2007.
John Smoltz
Ranked fifth in 2008 with 158.2 points as an active player. He last played in 2009. He exited the top 10 on April 22, 2014, passed by Pujols. He now ranks 16th with 160.9 points.
Manny Ramirez
Ranked sixth in 2008 with 157.7 points as an active player. In April 2011, he announced his retirement. While he never played in the Majors after that, he did become an officially active player signing minor league deals on several occasions from 2011 to 2014, as he remained ranked in the “all-time” top 10. He exited the top 10 on July 7, 2017, passed by Greinke. He now ranks 12th with 167.2 points.
Mike Mussina
Ranked seventh in 2008 with 155.6 points as an active player. He retired prior to the start of the 2009 season. He exited the top 10 on May 10, 2012, passed by Sabathia. He now ranks 21st with 155.6 points.
Barry Bonds
Ranked eighth in 2008 with 153.2 points. He last played in 2007. He exited the top 10 on July 8, 2011, passed by Halladay. He now ranks 22nd with 153.2 points.
Greg Maddux
Ranked ninth in 2008 with 151.7 as an active player. He retired prior to the start of the 2009 season. He exited the top 10 on July 3, 2010, passed by Santana. He now ranks 23rd with 151.7 points.
Alex Rodriguez
Ranked 10th in 2008 with 146.5 points as an active player. He rose as high as fourth place on the list, a spot he held from April 2011 to April 2017. Box-Toppers considered him inactive during the 2014 season, when he served a performance enhancing drug-related suspension. He was returned to the active rolls in 2015 but was released by the Yankees and again considered inactive on August 13, 2016. Today, he ranks seventh with 187.0 points, one of only four who appear in the top 10 in both the 2008 and 2018 lists (the others include Johnson, Martinez and Schilling).
Johan Santana
Joined the top 10 on July 23, 2010, passing Maddux. He rises as high as sixth place from July to August 2012. He fell out of the top 10 on Aug. 15, 2016, when he was passed by Hernandez. He has been considered inactive since his 2015 release from the Blue Jays though he is still officially listed as a free agent. He now ranks 13th with 166.6 points.
Roy Halladay
Joined the top 10 on July 8, 2011, passing Bonds. He rises as high as fifth place from August 2012 to May 2013. He retired at the end of the 2013 season. He fell out of the top 10 on June 5, 2018, when he was passed by Scherzer. He now ranks 11th with 170.7 points. (Halladay died in a plane he was piloting in November 2017.)
CC Sabathia
Joined the top 10 on May 10, 2012, passing Mussina. He reached his highest ranking of fourth place on April 29, 2018, the spot he currently occupies with 196.7 points. Sabathia, 37, is currently active, pitching for the Yankees.
Albert Pujols
Joined the top 10 on April 22, 2014, passing Smoltz. He is currently at his highest ranking of sixth place with 187.8 points, a spot he has held continuously since August 2017. Pujols, 38, is currently active, playing for the Angels.
Clayton Kershaw
Joined the top 10 on May 1, 2016, passing Clemens. He reached his highest ranking of third place on May 23, 2017, the spot he currently occupies with 209.8 points. Kershaw, 30, is active and pitches for the Dodgers.
Felix Hernandez
Joined the top 10 on Aug. 15, 2016, passing Santana. He rose as high as eighth place from July to August 2017. He currently ranks ninth with 174.1 points. Hernandez, 32, is active and pitches for the Mariners.
Zack Greinke
Joined the top 10 on July 7, 2017, passing Ramirez. He reached his highest ranking of eighth place in August 2017, the spot he currently occupies with 180.2 points. Greinke, 34, is active and pitches for the Diamondbacks.
Max Scherzer
Joined the top 10 on June 5, 2018, passing Halladay. He ranks 10th with 172.1 points. Scherzer, 33, pitches for the Nationals.
  • May 10, 2012—CC Sabathia joins the top 10, passing Mike Mussina. The five active players are Rodriguez, Ramirez, Halladay, Santana and Sabathia. The number of active players slips to four only a month later, in June 2012, when the Athletics and Ramirez part ways, making him an inactive free agent.  
  • June 2013—Free agent Ramirez signs with the Rangers, rejoining the list of the same active five players as the year before—Rodriguez, Ramirez, Halladay, Santana and Sabathia. The number of active players slips to four again only two months later when Ramirez is released by the Rangers.
  • July 7, 2017—Zack Greinke joins the top 10, passing Ramirez. The five active players are Clayton Kershaw, Sabathia, Pujols, Felix Hernandez and Greinke. 

Scherzer becomes the sixth active player in top  10

Scherzer joined June 5, passing Halladay, bringing the total of active players among the top 10 to six. There have been five or more active players among the top 10 now for more than 11 months, the longest stretch since there were five active players among the top 10 for one year from the start of the 2009 season to the start of the 2010 season.

While having six active players among the top 10 suggests a resurgence in dominant players racking up huge career Box-Toppers point totals, it also should be noted that 11 current active players have more career Box-Toppers points than the 10th-ranked player in career points did at the close of the 2008 season.

In 2008, Alex Rodriguez ranked 10th with 146.5 career Box-Toppers points. But as of mid-June 2018, there are 11 active players with more career points and they rank among the top 26 players on the “all-time” list. They include the six currently in the top 10—Kershaw, Sabathia, Pujols, Greinke, Hernandez and Scherzer, plus these five:

So this suggests that dominant players from different eras who play long enough tend to have similar career Box-Toppers point totals. Rodriguez earned 146.5 points over 13 seasons from 1996 to 2008 and Cabrera earned 147.9 points over 16 seasons from 2003 to 2018.

But on the other hand, most of the players on the top 10 at the end of 2008 actually started their careers prior to the 1995 advent of Box-Toppers record keeping. Their point totals exclude what they might have earned in 1994 and before. If you estimate their point totals prior to 1995, those early players’ point totals completely dominate the totals of today’s active players.

Here is a look at a top 10 list that includes the pre-1995 point estimates for players prominent in 1995 and later, along with actual totals of all players in 1995 and after:

  1. Randy Johnson 380*
  2. Roger Clemens 320*
  3. Pedro Martinez 270*
  4. John Smoltz 255*
  5. Greg Maddux 250*
  6. Curt Schilling 232*
  7. Barry Bonds 230*
  8. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers 209.8
  9. CC Sabathia, Yankees 196.7
  10. Mike Mussina 193*

Note that eight of the players on the list are inactive and all eight of them played prior to 1995 (denoted with an asterisk). Their estimated Box-Toppers point totals in 1994 and before were added to their actual totals in 1995 and beyond.

There are only two active players on this list augmented with select players’ estimated point totals—Kershaw and Sabathia.