Mets’ Jason Vargas tops players for Thursday, Sept. 27; Yankees’ Sabathia becomes 4th to reach 200 career Box-Toppers points

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(This post was edited Monday, November 19, 2018, to correct an error in the Box-Toppers point total of Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom. During the 2018 season, an extra, unearned point was added to his total. There is more information about this at the bottom of the post.)

Mets pitcher Jason Vargas is Thursday’s Box-Toppers Player of the Day.

Top 10 players

Here are the top 10 players in Box-Toppers points (BTP) for the 2018 season through the games of Sept. 27:  

Player Pos Team BTP
1 Snell, Blake 3688 pi sp tb al 26.2
2 Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 25.1
3 Verlander, Justin 2112 pi sp hou al 22.1
4 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 21.7
5 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp bos al 20.1
6 Nola, Aaron 3569 pi sp phi nl 20.1
7 Carrasco, Carlos 2885 pi sp cle al 18.1
8 Cole, Gerrit 3232 pi sp hou al 18.0
9 Severino, Luis 3567 pi sp nyy al 17.7
10 deGrom, Jacob 3343 pi sp nym nl 16.8
What are those numbers after players' names?
About Box-Toppers’ team abbreviations

Meanwhile, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia becomes the fourth player to reach 200 career Box-Toppers points (since Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995) after earning American League Player of the Day honors Thursday.

Player of the Day—Vargas struck out six over seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and no walks, in the 4-1 win over the Braves.

Vargas earns 2.0 Box-Toppers points for being Player of the Day, giving him 8.0 for the season, 34th among NL pitchers.

American League Player of the Day—Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia struck out five over five scoreless innings, allowing one hit and no walks, in the 12-1 win over the Rays.

All-time leaders

Here are Box-Toppers top 20 players since record keeping began in 1995:

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 lad nl 214.8
4 CC Sabathia pi sp nyy al 200.4
5 Curt Schilling pi sp retired 194.1
6 Albert Pujols 1b dh ana al 190.8
7 Zack Greinke pi sp ari nl 189.2
8 Alex Rodriguez dh retired 187.0
9 Max Scherzer pi sp dc nl 181.8
10 Justin Verlander pi sp hou al 176.1
11 Felix Hernandez pi sp sea al 174.1
12 Roy Halladay pi sp retired 170.7
13 Manny Ramirez lf dh retired 167.2
14 Johan Santana pi sp free agent 166.6
15 Roger Clemens pi sp retired 164.8
16 Jon Lester pi sp chi nl 164.6
17 Cole Hamels pi sp chi nl 164.5
18 John Smoltz pi sp retired 160.9
19 Tim Hudson pi sp retired 157.0
20 Bartolo Colon pi sp tex al 155.9
BTP: Box-Toppers points
About Box-Toppers’ team abbreviations
List of top 100 players since 1995 at the end of the 2017 season.

Sabathia earns 1.7 Box-Toppers points for being AL Player of the Day, giving him 200.4 career points. In Box-Toppers’ 24th season of player tracking, Sabathia is just the fourth player to reach the 200-point milestone, behind Randy Johnson (278.8), Pedro Martinez (244.8) and Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (214.8).

Sabathia now has 7.7 Box-Toppers points on the season, 34th among AL pitchers. His 7.7 points this season matches his total from 2017, which is the most points he’s had in a season since 2012, when he had 15.1 with the Yankees, eighth among AL pitchers.

American League Batter of the Day—Willians Astudillo of the Twins doubled and went 2-for-4, scoring once and driving in four runs, in the 9-3 win over the Tigers.

This was Astudillo’s Box-Toppers debut, the first time in his career he earned Player of the Game honors. Astudillo made his Major League debut June 30 and was playing in his 26th career game. 

National League Batter of the Day—There is no separate NL Batter of the Day for Thursday because no NL batter earned Player of the Game honors.

Notable—Cubs pitcher Jon Lester has the most 2018 Box-Toppers points among the seven who earned Player of the Game honors Thursday.

Lester (6IP 3H 0R 4BB 3K W in the 3-0 win over the Pirates) earns 1.0 Box-Toppers point, giving him 10.7 for the season, 38th among all players and 19th among NL pitchers.

Lester becomes the 50th player this season with 10 or more Box-Toppers points. It is his 10th season with 10 or more points and his sixth straight season. He matches his 2017 total of 10.7 points with the Cubs.

Lester now also has 164.6 career Box-Toppers points, rising to 16th place among all players since 1995, when Box-Toppers tracking began. With his point Thursday, he passes teammate Cole Hamels (164.5) on the “all-time” list and now trails 15th-ranked player Roger Clemens (164.8). (It should be noted that Clemens would have an estimated 320 Box-Toppers points if his entire career from 1984 were tracked.) Passing Hamels, Lester now ranks eighth among active players in career points.

Debut—Rangers pitcher Ariel Jurado made his Box-Toppers debut Thursday with his first career Player of the Game honor.

Jurado (6IP 2H 0R 0BB 3K W in the 2-0 win over the Mariners) made his Major League debut May 19 and was playing in his 12th career game. 

Team and player rankings—Box-Toppers weekly team and player rankings reports are normally posted on Fridays. But since it is so close to the end of the season (with final regular season games this weekend), there will be no weekly reports posted today, Friday, Sept. 28. Instead the weekly team and player reports will be posted after the regular season final games, most likely on Monday, Oct. 1.

Scoring—Vargas earns 2.0 Box-Toppers points for being Player of the Day and Sabathia earns 1.7 points for being AL Player of the Day. Astudillo earns 1.5 points for being AL Batter of the Day. All of Thursday’s other Players of the Game (listed in the chart below) earn 1.0 Box-Toppers point.

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.

NOTE ABOUT JACOB DEGROM: After this post was published, Box-Toppers discovered an error: Jacob deGrom was credited with 1.0 more Box-Toppers point than he actually earned in 2018. This post has been changed to include deGrom’s actual Box-Toppers point total and player ranking position at the time of this post. Subtracting a point from deGrom’s season total meant he had 16.8 Box-Toppers points, rather than 17.8. Despite the change, he still finished third among National League pitchers. However, the change moves him from ninth place to 12th place in overall season player rankings, moving him out of the top 10 and keeping Yankees pitcher Luis Severino (17.7 points) in the top 10 for the season, in 10th place.

This is made all the more odd and awkward because the error was discovered while compiling the post about deGrom winning the NL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, Nov. 14. deGrom was the near-unanimous choice for the award, but even with his higher, incorrect Box-Toppers point total (17.8), Box-Toppers had him ranked third among NL pitchers, needing nearly 50 percent more points to catch the NL pitching leader, Max Scherzer of the Nationals (25.1).

My post was about how Scherzer was more deserving of the award than the widely acclaimed deGrom because Scherzer actually helped his team win more games. Despite deGrom’s great performances, the Mets lost most of the games he pitched. Since winning is the name of the game and since Box-Toppers points are only awarded in wins, deGrom’s point total was far lower—but it was still remarkable, given all the losses, that he reached as high as third place among NL pitchers. While writing about how deGrom wasn’t as deserving of the award, I found the error (the extra point), and correcting the record (subtracting the point), I found he was even more undeserving.

Top player from each game

Listed from highest to lowest Box-Toppers game score (BTG)

9/27 BTG Game Player AB R H BI IP H R ER BB K
MLB +10.0 NYM 4, ATL 1 Jason Vargas (W, 7‑9) 7.0 3 0 0 0 6
AL +9.0 NYY 12, TB 1 CC Sabathia (W, 9‑7) 5.0 1 0 0 0 5
+7.0 TEX 2, SEA 0 Ariel Jurado (W, 5‑5) 6.0 2 0 0 0 3
+4.1 COL 5, PHI 3 Scott Oberg (W, 8‑1) 1.1 0 0 0 0 3
BAT +3.0 MIN 9, DET 3 Willians Astudillo C 4 1 2 4
+2.0 CHC 3, PIT 0 Jon Lester (W, 18‑6) 6.0 3 0 0 4 3
0.0 KC 2, CLE 1 (F/10) Adalberto Mondesi SS 4 2 1 1
MLB—Overall Box-Toppers Player of the Day, worth 2.0 total Box-Toppers points.
AL—Overall American League Player of the Day, worth 1.7 total Box-Toppers points.
NL—Overall National League Player of the Day, worth 1.7 total Box-Toppers points.
BAT—Top AL or NL Batter of the Day, worth 1.5 total Box-Toppers points.
All other players listed here earn Player of the Game honors, worth 1.0 Box-Toppers point.
` Pitcher had a no-decision in the game and did not pick up a win or a save.

Box-Toppers point totals of the day’s top players

Here are Box-Toppers point totals of each of the Player of the Game winners. Players are ranked by their Box-Toppers point total for the current season (’18). Also shown are each players’ Box-Toppers point total for this season and last (’17-18), the period 2013-2018 (’13-18) and each players’ career point total. Also shown is how their 2018 Box-Toppers point total compares with their 2017 total (+/-).

Player of the Game Pos Team ’18 ’17‑18 ’13‑18 Career +/‑
Lester, Jon 2173 pi sp chi nl 10.7 21.4 84.6 164.6 0.0
Vargas, Jason 2055 pi sp nym nl 8.0 19.0 36.7 66.2 -3.0
Sabathia, C.C. 1492 pi sp nyy al 7.7 15.4 32.8 200.4 0.0
Oberg, Scott 4024 pi mr col nl 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 +4.0
Mondesi, Adalberto 3750 ss kc al 2.0 2.0 3.0 3.0 +2.0
Astudillo, Willians 4090 ca min al 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 +1.5
Jurado, Ariel 4089 pi sp tex al 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 +1.0
What are those numbers after players' names?
About Box-Toppers’ team abbreviations