The batters with the top three Box-Toppers point totals in 2018 were also the batters with the three highest batting averages.
Batting average leaders’ Box-Toppers pointsHere is how 2018 batting average leaders fared in Box-Toppers points. Players are listed from highest batting average. Also shown are their 2018 Box-Toppers points (BTP) and their rank in Box-Toppers tops among all players.
|1||Mookie Betts||Red Sox||.346||10.9||38|
|2||J.D. Martinez||Red Sox||.330||12.5||28|
Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox and Christian Yelich of the Brewers had both the three highest batting averages in 2018 and the three highest Box-Toppers point totals among batters in 2018.
It is a little unusual for batting average leaders to be among Box-Toppers point leaders for batters. Usually, power hitters—who are among the season leaders in home runs and runs batted in— dominate the Box-Toppers batting leaderboards.
But 2018 was a very different year. In a trend that has continued most of the current decade, batters’ overall performance is declining. It was the first season in which batters recorded more strikeouts than hits. Batters, who in 2009 and before, earned about half or more of all Box-Toppers points awarded, have earned less than half since 2010 and less than 40 percent in 2018.
So what happened this year? Let’s make mildly-educated, wildly-speculatative guesses. Players who hit for power are swinging and missing, striking out more. Players who are making contact and getting hits—even singles—are being rewarded, helping teams to win more games, simply because players who hit for power are not hitting for power. They are striking out.
Box-Toppers looks at games one by one. And it seeks the one player who most helped their team win each game. 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.
Betts led all players in 2018 with a batting average of .346. He had 10.9 Box-Toppers points, third among all batters and 38th among all players. Teammate Martinez was second with a batting average of .330. He had 12.5 Box-Toppers points, most among batters and 28th among all players. Yelich was third with a batting average of .326, highest among National League batters. Yelich had 11.5 Box-Toppers points, most among NL batters, second among all batters and 34th among all players.
Two of the three leading players in batting average also won league Most Valuable Player awards in 2018, with Yelich winning in the NL and Betts winning in the AL.
Five of the top 10 in batting average were also among the top 100 overall players in Box-Toppers points in 2018. In addition to Betts, Martinez and Yelich, these two players were also among the top 10 in batting average and top 100 players in Box-Toppers points:
Mike Trout of the Angels had the fifth-highest batting average (.312) and the 76th-best Box-Toppers point total in 2018 (8.0). Trout was fifth among AL batters in 2018 Box-Toppers rankings.
Freddie Freeman of the Braves had the seventh-highest batting average (.309) and the 100th-best Box-Toppers point total in 2018 (7.5). Freeman was 11th among NL batters in 2018 Box-Toppers rankings.
Jose Altuve of the Astros, consistently one of the AL leaders in batting average, had the fourth-best average of all batters in 2018 (.316). But frequently, Altuve doesn’t rank high in Box-Toppers rankings. In 2018, he had 3.5 Box-Toppers points, 293rd among all players. In 2017, when he led all players with a .346 batting average (and was voted AL MVP), he had just 2.5 Box-Toppers points, 387th among all players. But in 2016, Altuve also had a high batting average (.338, third among all players), but those hits were apparently more key to his team’s wins, as he earned 12.5 Box-Toppers points that season, 26th among all players.
Only one player in the top 10 in batting averages fared worse than Altuve in Box-Toppers rankigns in 2018: Michael Brantley of the Indians ranked ninth with a .309 average, but earned just 1.0 Box-Toppers point, ranking 648th among all players.
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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