Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer leads players in Box-Toppers points since the start of 2013.
Box-Toppers points leaders for 2013-18
|1||Scherzer, Max 2588||pi sp||dc nl||137.0|
|2||Kershaw, Clayton 2494||pi sp||lad nl||134.4|
|3||Sale, Chris 2806||pi sp||bos al||111.9|
|4||Kluber, Corey 3200||pi sp||cle al||109.1|
|5||Greinke, Zack 1871||pi sp||ari nl||99.4|
|6||Lester, Jon 2173||pi sp||chi nl||84.6|
|7||Strasburg, Stephen 2736||pi sp||dc nl||83.0|
|8||Carrasco, Carlos 2885||pi sp||cle al||82.7|
|9||Price, David 2593||pi sp||bos al||79.4|
|10||Arrieta, Jake 2738||pi sp||phi nl||78.9|
|1||Sale, Chris 2806||pi sp||bos al||111.9|
|2||Kluber, Corey 3200||pi sp||cle al||109.1|
|3||Carrasco, Carlos 2885||pi sp||cle al||82.7|
|4||Price, David 2593||pi sp||bos al||79.4|
|5||Verlander, Justin 2112||pi sp||hou al||73.9|
|6||Hernandez, Felix 2064||pi sp||sea al||66.4|
|7||Cole, Gerrit 3232||pi sp||hou al||60.9|
|8||Tanaka, Masahiro 3305||pi sp||nyy al||59.6|
|9||Keuchel, Dallas 3050||pi sp||hou al||56.9|
|10||Happ, J.A. 2536||pi sp||nyy al||56.6|
|1||Encarnacion, Edwin 2098||dh||cle al||55.2|
|2||Trout, Mike 2949||cf||ana al||49.5|
|3||Cabrera, Miguel 1776||1b||det al||49.1|
|4||Donaldson, Josh 3144||3b||cle al||47.6|
|5||Stanton, Giancarlo 2737||dh rf lf||nyy al||44.4|
|6||Davis, Chris 2478||1b||bal al||43.4|
|7||McCutchen, Andrew 2637||rf cf||nyy al||42.5|
|8||Cano, Robinson 2092||2b||sea al||41.5|
|9||Upton, Justin 2411||lf||ana al||40.9|
|10||Jones, Adam 2347||cf||bal al||37.0|
|1||Scherzer, Max 2588||pi sp||dc nl||137.0|
|2||Kershaw, Clayton 2494||pi sp||lad nl||134.4|
|3||Greinke, Zack 1871||pi sp||ari nl||99.4|
|4||Lester, Jon 2173||pi sp||chi nl||84.6|
|5||Strasburg, Stephen 2736||pi sp||dc nl||83.0|
|6||Arrieta, Jake 2738||pi sp||phi nl||78.9|
|7||deGrom, Jacob 3343||pi sp||nym nl||78.6|
|8||Bumgarner, Madison 2753||pi sp||sf nl||77.0|
|9||Hamels, Cole 2135||pi sp||chi nl||76.5|
|10||Teheran, Julio 3176||pi sp||atl nl||64.2|
|1||Rizzo, Anthony 3063||1b||chi nl||47.5|
|2||Goldschmidt, Paul 2935||1b||ari nl||46.3|
|3||Freeman, Freddie 2887||1b||atl nl||40.2|
|4||Gonzalez, Carlos 2460||rf||col nl||39.5|
|5||Hosmer, Eric 2886||1b||sd nl||38.5|
|6||Cespedes, Yoenis 3008||lf||nym nl||37.9|
|7||Arenado, Nolan 3306||3b||col nl||35.9|
|8||Harper, Bryce 3011||rf||dc nl||35.9|
|9||Machado, Manny 3087||ss||lad nl||34.9|
|10||Murphy, Daniel 2589||2b||chi nl||34.5|
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About Box-Toppers’ team abbreviations
Scherzer has 137.0 Box-Toppers points over the period 2013-2018, just 2.6 points ahead of Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who has 134.4 points over that span.
In fact, Scherzer unseats Kershaw from atop the six-year rolling Box-Toppers point total, a spot Kershaw has held at the end of each season since 2013, five straight seasons.
Kershaw took the six-year rolling lead for the first time on July 21, 2013, passing then-leader Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. Kershaw’s 94.1 Box-Toppers points from 2008 to 2013 passed Sabathia’s 93.6 over that span.
Here are Kershaw’s leads at the end of the past five seasons:
At 2013’s end, Kershaw led second-place Sabathia by 8.5 points (102.1-93.6) over the span 2008-2013.
At 2015’s end, Kershaw led second-place Hernandez by 36.1 points (141.9-105.8) over the span 2010-2015.
At the end of 2017, Kershaw led over Scherzer by 20.6 points. Kershaw had 147.2 points over 2012-2017, while Scherzer had 128.9, trailing by 18.3.
Kershaw relinquished his grasp on the lead after having a comparatively lackluster 2018 season. After a record seven straight seasons with 20 or more Box-Toppers points from 2011 to 2017, Kershaw earned just 8.0 Box-Toppers points in 2018, 73rd among all players. Scherzer, meanwhile finished second among all players with 25.1 Box-Toppers points, his fifth straight season with more than 20 points.
Here is a look at Kershaw’s and Scherzer’s Box-Toppers point totals and rankings in each of the past six seasons (Kershaw was with the Dodgers each season, Scherzer was with the Tigers through 2014 and with the Nationals since 2015):
2013: Kershaw—21.7, first among all players. Scherzer—18.1, fifth among all players, first among AL pitchers.
2014: Kershaw—31.5, first among all players, tied for the fourth-highest single-season total since Box-Toppers tracking began. Scherzer—22.1, fifth among all players, second among AL pitchers.
2015: Kershaw—25.7, second among all players, second among NL pitchers, tied for the 20th-highest single-season total since Box-Toppers tracking began. Scherzer—21.0, sixth among all players, fourth among NL pitchers.
2016: Kershaw—24.4, second among all players, second among NL pitchers. Scherzer—25.7, first among all players, tied for the 20th-highest single-season total since Box-Toppers tracking began.
2017: Kershaw—23.1, third among all players, second among NL pitchers. Scherzer—25.0, second among all players, first among NL pitchers, the 27th-highest single-season total since Box-Toppers tracking began.
2018: Kershaw—8.0, 73rd among all players, 34th among NL pitchers. Scherzer—25.1, second among all players, first among NL pitchers, tied for the 25th-highest single-season total since Box-Toppers tracking began.
It seemed unlikely at the end of 2017 that Scherzer could catch Kershaw in the six-year rolling total because he needed 14.5 more Box-Toppers points than Kershaw in 2018 to catch him. Only 17 players in 2018 earned at least 14.5 points all season. But because Scherzer maintained his level of excellence, while Kershaw struggled, Scherzer actually had 17.1 more points than Kershaw in 2018, enough to take the lead in points over the span from 2013 to 2018.
The players who make these top 10 charts over the period 2013-18 have demonstrated their long-term staying power. Weeded out are players who have single-season, flash-in-the-pan success and relative newcomers who haven’t yet proven their longevity. But it also rewards dominant players of the recent past whose success has waned lately.
Only one player who led a six-year rolling category last year continues to lead the category in 2018—Chris Sale of the Red Sox leads American League pitchers over the span 2013-18 with 111.9 Box-Toppers points, 2.8 points ahead of second-place AL pitcher, Corey Kluber of the Indians (109.1). Last year, Sale had 106.5 points over 2012-17, to lead AL pitchers over that span, 19.1 points ahead of second-place Kluber (87.4).
Sale took the lead in the six-year rolling total among AL pitchers last year from Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, who had led in the six-year rolling total for the three previous seasons. Even though Hernandez had three straight lackluster seasons (6.0 points in 2016 and 2.7 points each in 2017 and 2018), Fernandez still ranks sixth among AL pitchers over 2013-18 with 66.4 points.
Edwin Encarnacion, who played for the Indians the past two seasons, takes the lead among AL batters in the rolling six-year Box-Toppers point total with 55.2 points over the span 2013-18. Encarnacion, who was traded to the Mariners this offseason, rises from second place last year to take the lead from Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, who held the six-year rolling point lead among AL batters for four previous seasons, from 2014 to 2017. However, Cabrera has earned only 3.0 total Box-Toppers points in the past two seasons (2.0 in 2017 and 1.0 in 2018), yet despite this dropoff, he still ranks third among AL batters over 2013-18 with 49.1 Box-Toppers points, behind Encarnacion and second-place player Mike Trout of the Angels (49.5).
In recent years, batters have earned a smaller share of overall Box-Toppers points awarded. Until 2009, batters earned about 50 percent or more of all Box-Toppers points awarded, but since then, their share has slipped, falling below half and as low as 39 percent. As a result, this year, the top batter for the past six seasons, Encarnacion with 55.2 points, is not even averaging 10 points per season (9.2). Last year, Cabrera’s 59.8 points from 2012 to 2017 averaged right at 10.0 points per season.
Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs takes the lead among NL batters in the six-year rolling total with 47.5 Box-Toppers points from 2013 to 2018, rising from sixth place on the 2012 to 2017 list (42.5 points). Rizzo passes the leader from the past two seasons, Andrew McCutchen, who moved to the AL in 2018, finishing the season with the Yankees (he has since signed with the NL Phillies for 2019). McCutchen’s 42.5 points over 2013 to 2018 ranks seventh among AL batters over the span and would rank third among NL batters.
Rizzo leads over second-place NL batter Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks (who has since signed with the Cardinals), who has 46.3 Box-Toppers points from 2013-18.
Two key free agent players rank among the top 10 NL batters over the past six seasons:
Bryce Harper of the Nationals ranks eighth with 35.9 Box-Toppers points from 2013 to 2018.
Manny Machado of the Dodgers ranks ninth with 34.9 points from 2013 to 2018.
Three players rise into the overall top 10 players list for the past six seasons:
Cubs pitcher Jon Lester rises to sixth place with 84.6 Box-Toppers points over 2013 to 2018, after earning more than 10 points for six straight seasons, including one season with more than 20 (22.1 in 2016) and 10.7 points each of the past two seasons.
Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco rises to eighth place with 82.7 Box-Toppers points over 2013 to 2018, after earning more than 10 points for five straight seasons, including one season with more than 20 (21.8 in 2017) and earning 19.8 in 2018, fifth among AL pitchers.
Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta rises to 10th place with 78.9 Box-Toppers points from 2013 to 2018. Arrieta led all players in 2015 with 29.1 Box-Toppers points and had three straight seasons with 10 or more points. The past two seasons, he’s earned fewer than 10 points each year, with 7.7 in 2018, 42nd among NL pitchers.
Those three displace three players on the six-year rolling points list from last season:
Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, ranked sixth among players from 2012 to 2017 with 88.0 Box-Toppers points, falls to 12th among players from 2013 to 2018 with 77.0 points. After earning 10 or more points each season from 2011 to 2016, Bumgarner earned just 2.0 points in 2017 and 6.7 in 2018.
Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez, ranked eighth among players from 2012 to 2017 with 82.4 Box-Toppers points, falls to 15th among players from 2013 to 2018 with 66.4 points. After earning 10 or more points each season from 2009 to 2015, Hernandez earned just 2.7 points in both 2017 and 2018.
Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels, ranked 10th among players from 2012 to 2017 with 78.4 Box-Toppers points, falls to 13th among players from 2013 to 2018 with 76.5 points. Hamels has earned 10 or more points five of the past six seasons. His best season was 2016 with the Rangers when he had 17.8 points, sixth among all players. In 2018, he had 11.1 points, 18th among NL pitchers.
Players are shown here with the teams they were on at the end of 2018. Only players active at the end of 2018 are listed.
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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Related: Top 100 players for 2013-18