Blake Snell of the Rays, who led all pitchers in wins in 2018 with 21, also led all players in Box-Toppers points during the season with 27.2.
Wins leaders’ Box-Toppers pointsHere is how 2018 wins leaders fared in Box-Toppers points. Players are listed by most wins. Also shown are their 2018 Box-Toppers points (BTP) and their rank in Box-Toppers tops among all players.
|7||Rick Porcello||Red Sox||17||11.4||36|
Six of the overall top 10 players in Box-Toppers points in 2018 are also among the top 11 pitchers in wins for the season. Plus, all 11 pitchers leading in wins are among the overall top 40 players in Box-Toppers points for the season.
Snell, the American League Cy Young Award winner, started 31 games in 2018 and the Rays won 22 of those games. In those 22 victories, Snell earned the win in 21 of the games and earned Player of the Game honors in 20 of his 21 wins. Overall, he won Player of the Game honors 21 times—20 times in wins and once when he had a no-decision. In other words, there is only one instance in 2018 when Snell started a game that the Rays won in which he did not earn Player of the Game honors.
On June 9, Snell earned the win but did not earn Player of the Game. He had a Box-Toppers game score of -5.0 (6IP 7H 2R ER 2BB K W). Player of the Game was batter Mallex Smith with a Box-Toppers game score of +2.0 (3B 3-4 2R BI). It was the only time Snell did not earn Player of the Game honors in a Rays victory in which he participated in 2018 and it was the only time in all 22 Rays victories in which he pitched that he had a negative Box-Toppers game score.
Box-Toppers’ sincere win differential leadersJustin Verlander of the Astros had Box-Toppers’ highest sincere win differential (SWD) of any pitcher in 2018. Verlander had an SWD of +8.1, figured by subtracting his win (W) total (16) from his Box-Toppers point (BTP) total (24.1). The higher the SWD, the more sincere and deserved are a pitcher’s wins. Here are the SWDs of all 75 pitchers who earned nine or more wins in 2018, ranked from highest to lowest SWD.
|1||Justin Verlander||hou al||16||24.1||+8.1|
|2||Chris Sale||bos al||12||20.1||+8.1|
|3||Max Scherzer||dc nl||18||25.1||+7.1|
|4||Jacob deGrom||nym nl||10||16.8||+6.8|
|5||Blake Snell||tb al||21||27.2||+6.2|
|6||James Paxton||sea al||11||17.0||+6.0|
|7||Jose Berrios||min al||12||17.8||+5.8|
|8||Patrick Corbin||ari nl||11||16.0||+5.0|
|9||Aaron Nola||phi nl||17||21.1||+4.1|
|10||Julio Teheran||atl nl||9||12.7||+3.7|
|11||Gerrit Cole||hou al||15||18.0||+3.0|
|12||Carlos Carrasco||cle al||17||19.1||+2.1|
|13||Trevor Bauer||cle al||12||14.1||+2.1|
|14||Cole Hamels||chi nl||9||11.1||+2.1|
|15||Corey Kluber||cle al||20||21.7||+1.7|
|16||Jose Urena||fla nl||9||10.7||+1.7|
|17||Masahiro Tanaka||nyy al||12||13.4||+1.4|
|18||Blake Treinen||oak al||9||10.0||+1.0|
|19||German Marquez||col nl||14||14.7||+0.7|
|20||Mike Foltynewicz||atl nl||13||13.7||+0.7|
|20||Mike Clevinger||cle al||13||13.7||+0.7|
|22||Sonny Gray||nyy al||11||11.7||+0.7|
|23||Lance McCullers Jr.||hou al||10||10.7||+0.7|
|24||Wade LeBlanc||sea al||9||9.7||+0.7|
|24||Andrew Heaney||ana al||9||9.7||+0.7|
|24||Matthew Boyd||det al||9||9.7||+0.7|
|27||Eduardo Rodriguez||bos al||13||13.4||+0.4|
|28||Charlie Morton||hou al||15||14.8||-0.2|
|29||Jon Gray||col nl||12||11.7||-0.3|
|30||Sean Newcomb||atl nl||12||11.4||-0.6|
|31||Vince Velasquez||phi nl||9||8.4||-0.6|
|32||Clayton Kershaw||lad nl||9||8.0||-1.0|
|33||Luis Severino||nyy al||19||17.7||-1.3|
|34||J.A. Happ||nyy al||17||15.7||-1.3|
|35||Jhoulys Chacin||mil nl||15||13.7||-1.3|
|36||Mike Fiers||oak al||12||10.7||-1.3|
|36||Zack Wheeler||nym nl||12||10.7||-1.3|
|38||Rich Hill||lad nl||11||9.7||-1.3|
|39||CC Sabathia||nyy al||9||7.7||-1.3|
|40||David Price||bos al||16||14.4||-1.6|
|41||Jameson Taillon||pit nl||14||12.4||-1.6|
|42||Chris Stratton||sf nl||10||8.4||-1.6|
|43||Zack Greinke||ari nl||15||13.0||-2.0|
|44||Luis Castillo||cin nl||10||8.0||-2.0|
|45||Mike Minor||tex al||12||9.7||-2.3|
|46||Gio Gonzalez||mil nl||10||7.7||-2.3|
|46||Jake Arrieta||phi nl||10||7.7||-2.3|
|48||Marco Gonzales||sea al||13||10.4||-2.6|
|49||Kyle Gibson||min al||10||7.4||-2.6|
|50||Chase Anderson||mil nl||9||6.4||-2.6|
|51||Jose Quintana||chi nl||13||10.1||-2.9|
|52||Jakob Junis||kc al||9||6.0||-3.0|
|53||Sean Manaea||oak al||12||8.7||-3.3|
|54||Zach Eflin||phi nl||11||7.7||-3.3|
|55||Stephen Strasburg||dc nl||10||6.7||-3.3|
|56||Mike Leake||sea al||10||6.0||-4.0|
|57||Alex Wood||lad nl||9||5.0||-4.0|
|58||Zack Godley||ari nl||15||10.7||-4.3|
|59||Ivan Nova||pit nl||9||4.7||-4.3|
|60||Kyle Freeland||col nl||17||12.4||-4.6|
|61||Shane Bieber||cle al||11||6.4||-4.6|
|62||Noah Syndergaard||nym nl||13||8.0||-5.0|
|63||Jaime Barria||ana al||10||5.0||-5.0|
|64||Tanner Roark||dc nl||9||4.0||-5.0|
|64||Brad Keller||kc al||9||4.0||-5.0|
|66||Dallas Keuchel||hou nl||12||6.7||-5.3|
|67||Kyle Hendricks||chi nl||14||8.7||-5.3|
|68||Rick Porcello||bos al||17||11.4||-5.6|
|69||Trevor Williams||pit nl||14||8.0||-6.0|
|70||Lucas Giolito||chi al||10||4.0||-6.0|
|71||Miles Mikolas||stl nl||18||11.7||-6.3|
|72||Kevin Gausman||atl nl||10||3.7||-6.3|
|73||Lance Lynn||nyy al||10||3.0||-7.0|
|74||Jon Lester||chi nl||18||10.7||-7.3|
|75||Ryan Yarbrough||tb al||16||7.0||-9.0|
BTP: Box-Toppers points
SWD: Sincere win differential, figured by subtracting win total from Box-Toppers point total.
About Box-Toppers’ team abbreviations
While Snell missed earning Player of the Game honors in one of the Rays victories in which he played, he did earn Player of the Game honors once in a game in which he picked up a no-decision. In his final start, Sept. 29, Snell earned Player of the Game honors with a Box-Toppers game score of +6.0 (5IP 3H R ER 4BB 10K ND). When Snell exited the game, the score was tied, so he was not eligible for the win, though the Rays later took the lead and won. It was the only time in 2018 Snell earned Player of the Game honors in a no-decision. And it was the only time Snell pitched in a Rays victory in 2018 that he did not earn the win.
In addition to Snell, the other five wins leaders among the overall top 10 in Box-Toppers points are:
Corey Kluber of the Indians, who ranked second in wins with 20 and fourth overall in Box-Toppers points with 21.7.
Luis Severino of the Yankees, who ranked third in wins with 19 and 10th overall in Box-Toppers points with 17.7.
Max Scherzer of the Nationals, who ranked tied for fourth in wins with 18 and second overall in Box-Toppers points with 25.1.
Aaron Nola of the Phillies, who ranked tied for seventh in wins with 17 and fifth overall in Box-Toppers points with 21.1.
Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, who ranked tied for seventh in wins with 17 and seventh overall in Box-Toppers points with 19.1.
Five other players among the 11 wins leaders ranked outside the overall top 10 in Box-Toppers points. Jon Lester of the Cubs is the lowest-ranked player on the list. His 18 wins is tied for fourth-most in 2018, but his 10.7 Box-Toppers points ranked 40th.
While Scherzer and Lester had the same number of wins (18), they had disparately different Box-Toppers point totals, showing that not all wins are created equal. Scherzer was Box-Toppers Player of the Game 16 times, including three times when he did not earn the win. Lester was Player of the Game nine times, including once when he did not earn the win. Scherzer earned more Box-Toppers points (25.1 vs. 10.7) because his contributions were more often more key to helping his team win the game. In more of Lester’s wins, some other Cubs player made a larger contribution to the team’s victories.
Justin Verlander of the Astros had the most Box-Toppers points of any pitcher who does not appear among the top 11 wins leaders. Verlander had 24.1 Box-Toppers points, third overall, but ranked tied for 12th in wins with 16.
The other three top 10 players who are not among the top 11 wins leaders:
Chris Sale of the Red Sox ranked sixth in Box-Toppers points with 20.1, but ranked tied for 30th with 12 wins.
Gerrit Cole of the Astros ranked eighth in Box-Toppers points with 18.0, but ranked tied for 15th with 15 wins.
Jose Berrios of the Twins ranked ninth in Box-Toppers points with 17.8, but ranked tied for 30th with 12 wins.
The National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom of the Mets had only 10 wins in 2018, which was tied for 35th among all players. However, deGrom did earn 16.8 Box-Toppers points in 2018, 12th among all players and third among NL pitchers.
Seven other players also earned exactly 10 wins in 2018 and all had fewer Box-Toppers points than deGrom:
Luis Castillo of the Reds had 8.0 Box-Toppers points, 75th among all players.
Gio Gonzalez of the Brewers had 7.7 Box-Toppers points, 84th.
Jake Arrieta of the Phillies had 7.7 Box-Toppers points, 87th.
Kyle Gibson of the Twins had 7.4 Box-Toppers points, 104th.
Mike Leake of the Mariners had 6.0 Box-Toppers points, 138th.
Lucas Giolito of the White Sox had 4.0 Box-Toppers points, 251st.
Kevin Gausman of the Braves had 3.7 Box-Toppers points, 280th.
Saying deGrom and someone like Gausman had similarly successful seasons in 2018 because they had the same win total seems a little foolish. Their Box-Toppers point totals seem a little more reflective of their seasons. But even more reflective of their relative success is a stat that compares their Box-Toppers point total to their win total—I call this the Box-Toppers’ sincere win differential (SWD).
deGrom’s SWD is +6.8, figured by subtracting his win total (10) from his Box-Toppers point total (16.8). Gausman, by contrast, had a -6.3 SWD (10 wins, 3.7 Box-Toppers points).
If you take the 75 pitchers who had nine or more wins in 2018 and rank them by SWD, deGrom’s +6.8 ranks fourth and Gausman’s -6.3 ranks 72nd. Now those 10 wins look wildly different—deGrom’s 10 wins now appear sincerely deserved while it seems Gausman earned his wins while other players on the team did more than him to help the team to victory. The higher the positive differential between Box-Toppers points and wins (such as deGrom with +6.8), the more sincere and deserved those wins are for the pitcher.
Justin Verlander of the Astros had the highest sincere win differential of +8.1 (24.1 Box-Toppers points vs. 16 wins). Chris Sale of the Red Sox also had an SWD of +8.1, but ranked second because he had both fewer Box-Toppers points (20.1) and wins (12).
Max Scherzer of the Nationals ranked third in SWD (+7.1, 25.1 Box-Toppers points, 18 wins). Blake Snell of the Rays, who led all players in Box-Toppers points in 2018 (27.2) ranked fifth in SWD (+6.2). (Snell would have ranked higher if he had earned more Box-Toppers bonus points by more frequently earning Player of the Day or league Player of the Day honors during the season. Snell had the fewest Player of the Day honors (two) of any Player of the Year winner in Box-Toppers’ 24 seasons of player tracking.)
Twenty-seven of the 75 pitchers with nine or more wins had a positive SWD. In other words, they a higher number as their Box-Toppers point total than their wins total. The lowest positive SWD belonged to Eduardo Rodriguez of the Red Sox, who ranked 27th with an SWD of +0.4 (13.4 Box-Toppers points, 13 wins).
The lowest-ranked pitcher in SWD with nine or more wins, in 75th place, was Ryan Yarbrough of the Rays with an SWD of -9.0 (7.0 Box-Toppers points, 16 wins). Jon Lester of the Cubs, who ranked tied for fourth with 18 wins, ranked 74th in SWD among pitchers with nine or more wins (-7.3, 10.7 Box-Toppers points).
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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