(See bottom of post for point and ranking updates based on spring training player transactions from March 11, 13, 19, 21 and 22.)
The New York Yankees are the top-ranked team in Box-Toppers’ 2019 preseason rankings, rising from second place at the end of the 2018 season.
Box-Toppers 2019 preseason team rankingsThe New York Yankees are the top-ranked preseason team in Box-Toppers rankings. Players on their preseason roster accumulated 138.5 Box-Toppers points in the 2018 season. Shown below in the 2019 column is the accumulated 2018 Box-Toppers point total for each player on that team’s current roster (as of March 10). Also shown in the 2018 column is each team’s Box-Toppers point total at the end of last season. The final column (+/-) shows the change in team rosters’ Box-Toppers points from the end of last season until now.
The 2018 World Series-champion Boston Red Sox fall from first at the end of last season to second place in the 2019 preseason rankings.
Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds made the biggest offseason improvement in players’ accumulated Box-Toppers points, while the Arizona Diamondbacks had the biggest decline.
Players on the Yankees current 2019 preseason roster accumulated 138.5 Box-Toppers points during the 2018 season, more than any other team.
The top National League team, the Chicago Cubs, rank fourth overall with 121.7 Box-Toppers points, behind the third-ranked Cleveland Indians (130.6).
The Philadelphia Phillies’ big-name offseason acquisitions of players like Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura and Andrew McCutchen helped boost the team from 13th place at the end of 2018 to fifth place overall in the 2019 preseason standings, second among NL teams. However, the San Diego Padres barely moved the needle despite their big offseason free agent signing of Manny Machado—the Padres rank 27th among the 30 teams, the same spot they held at the end of 2018.
Yankees rank first
The top-ranked Yankees had a net gain of only 3.3 Box-Toppers points since the end of 2018, but did pick up the player with the largest 2018 Box-Toppers point total to change teams in the offseason. The Yankees acquired pitcher James Paxton in a trade from the Seattle Mariners. Paxton’s 17.0 Box-Toppers points in 2018 ranked 11th among all players and ninth among American League pitchers.
The Yankees also signed free agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu (3.5 Box-Toppers points in 2018 with the Rockies) and free agent reliever Adam Ottavino (3.0 points in 2018 with the Rockies). The Yankees lost pitcher Sonny Gray to the Reds (8.7 points in 2018), outfielder Andrew McCutchen to the Phillies (3.5 points in 2018), pitcher Lance Lynn to the Rangers (3.0 points in 2018) and reliever David Robertson to the Phillies (3.0 points in 2018).
Among the top-ranked players returning to the Yankees in 2019 are pitcher Luis Severino (17.7 Box-Toppers points in 2018, 10th among all players, eighth among AL pitchers), pitcher J.A. Happ (15.7 points, 10th among AL pitchers), pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (13.4 points, 15th among AL pitchers) and Giancarlo Stanton (6.5 points, 11th among AL batters).
Red Sox fall to 2nd
The Red Sox have lost a net of 11.0 Box-Toppers points in the offseason, falling from first to second place with 132.9 Box-Toppers points, 5.6 points behind the Yankees. The Red Sox largely kept the same roster that won them the World Series in 2018 with only a few changes. The Red Sox lost Craig Kimbrel (7.0 Box-Toppers points, fourth among AL closers) to free agency and second baseman Ian Kinsler (6.0 points) to the Padres. The Red Sox gained pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (2.0 Box-Toppers points) from the Mariners.
However, if the Red Sox re-sign the free agent closer Kimbrel for 2019, that will give them an additional 7.0 Box-Toppers points, pushing them back ahead of the Yankees in Box-Toppers’ preseason rankings, 139.9-138.5.
Among key players returning to the Red Sox in 2019: Chris Sale (20.1 Box-Toppers points, sixth among all players, fourth among AL pitchers), David Price (14.4 points, 12th among AL pitchers), Eduardo Rodriguez (13.4 points, 16th among AL pitchers), J.D. Martinez (12.5 points, first among AL batters), Rick Porcello (11.4 points, 17th among AL pitchers) and Mookie Betts (10.9 points, second among AL batters).
Cubs top NL teams
The Chicago Cubs are the top-ranked NL team, in fourth place overall, rising from seventh at the end of 2018—and rising despite losing a net 0.8 points since last season. Players on the Cubs 2019 roster accumulated 121.7 Box-Toppers points in 2018.
The Cubs roster is also largely unchanged from 2018. The Cubs biggest offseason pick-ups are infielders Daniel Descalso (5.0 Box-Toppers points) from the Diamondbacks and Francisco Arcia (3.2 points) from the Angels. The Cubs notably lost second baseman Tommy LaStella (4.0 Box-Toppers points) to the Angels and second baseman Daniel Murphy (2.5 points) to the Rockies.
Among notables returning to the Cubs are Cole Hamels (11.1 Box-Toppers points, 19th among NL pitchers), Jon Lester (10.7 points, 21st among NL pitchers), Jose Quintana (10.1 points, 25th among NL pitchers), Anthony Rizzo (10.0 points, second among NL batters) and Javier Baez (10.0 points, third among NL batters).
Biggest team gains & dropsThe Cincinnati Reds picked up the most Box-Toppers points on its roster in the offseason (+29.2) while the Arizona Diamondbacks lost the most (-38.7). The Reds notably gained pitcher Sonny Gray (8.7 Box-Toppers points in 2018), pitcher Alex Wood (5.0 points), outfielder Yasiel Puig (5.0), infielder Jose Iglesias (4.5), outfielder Matt Kemp (4.5) and pitcher Tanner Roark (4.0). The Diamondbacks notably lost pitcher Patrick Corbin (16.0 Box-Toppers points), first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (7.5 points), infielder Daniel Descalso (5.0), pitcher Clay Buchholz (4.7) and outfielder A.J. Pollock (4.0).
Phillies rise to 5th, 2nd among NL teams
The Philadelphia Phillies used their “stupid” money in the offseason to make the fourth-biggest Box-Toppers point jump among all teams. They had 106.6 points at the end of 2018, 13th place overall and have a net gain of 12.0 points to 118.6 in the 2019 preseason, rising to fifth place overall, second among NL teams.
The Phillies notably signed free agent outfielder Bryce Harper (7.5 Box-Toppers points in 2018 with the Nationals, eighth among NL batters), catcher J.T. Realmuto (5.5 points) from the Marlins, shortstop Jean Segura (5.0 points) from the Mariners, outfielder Andrew McCutchen (3.5 points) from the Yankees and reliever David Robertson (3.0 points) from the Yankees. The Phillies notably lost catcher Wilson Ramos (6.0 points) to the Mets, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera (3.5 points) to the Rangers and first baseman Carlos Santana (3.5 points) to the Indians.
Among notable players returning to the Phillies are Aaron Nola (21.1 Box-Toppers points in 2018, fifth among all players and second among NL pitchers) and Nick Pivetta (11.7 points, 14th among NL pitchers).
Reds make biggest gains
The Cincinnati Reds make the biggest jump from the end of 2018, picking up a net of 29.2 Box-Toppers points in the offseason. Still, the Reds rank just 13th among all teams with 100.6 points, after earning 71.4 in 2018, 23rd among all teams.
The Reds notably acquired pitcher Sonny Gray (8.7 Box-Toppers points in 2018) from the Yankees. Gray ranks sixth among players changing teams in the offseason. The Reds also acquired pitcher Alex Wood (5.0 points) from the Dodgers, outfielder Yasiel Puig (5.0 points) from the Dodgers, shortstop Jose Iglesias (4.5 points) from the Tigers, outfielder Matt Kemp (4.5 points) from the Dodgers, pitcher Tanner Roark (4.0 points) from the Nationals) and outfielder Derek Dietrich (3.5 points) from the Marlins. Notable players who have left the Reds in 2019 are pitcher Matt Harvey (7.0 points) to the Angels and outfielder Billy Hamilton (2.0 points) to the Royals.
Despite the Reds’ big offseason gains, Box-Toppers still has them as the fourth-ranked team in the NL Central, ahead of only the Pirates.
Mets make 2nd-biggest gain
The New York Mets had the second-biggest gain among all teams, picking up a net of 26.9 points in the offseason, giving them 111.8 points, eighth in the 2019 preseason rankings, fourth among NL teams. The Mets finished 20th among all teams in 2018 with 84.9 points.
The Mets notably acquired Edwin Diaz (9.0 Box-Toppers points in 2018, second among AL closers) from the Mariners. Diaz ranks fourth in 2018 Box-Toppers points among all players who changed teams in the offseason. The Mets also picked up catcher Wilson Ramos (6.0 points) from the Phillies, second baseman Jed Lowrie (4.0 points) from the Athletics, second baseman Robinson Cano (4.0 points) from the Mariners, outfielder Carlos Gomez (4.0 points) from the Rays, reliever Jeurys Familia (4.0 points) from the Athletics and pitcher Hector Santiago (3.4 points) from the White Sox. The Mets’ most notable loss was infielder Wilmer Flores (2.5 points) to the Diamondbacks.
Top notable returner is Jacob deGrom, who led the Mets in 2018 with 16.8 Box-Toppers points, third among NL pitchers.
Nationals make 3rd-biggest gain, despite losing Harper
The Washington Nationals, interestingly, made the third-biggest point gain of all teams, despite losing star free agent Bryce Harper. In fact, their gain was even bigger than the team to which they lost Harper, the Phillies.
The Nationals picked up 15.7 Box-Toppers points in the offseason, giving them 112.0 preseason points, seventh among all teams and third among NL teams. They finished 2018 with 96.3 points in 15th place.
The Nationals’ big gain comes chiefly from signing free agent Patrick Corbin, who had 16.0 Box-Toppers points in 2018 with the Diamondbacks, fourth among NL pitchers. Corbin ranks second among all players who switched teams in the offseason. The Nationals also picked up pitcher Anibal Sanchez (8.4 points in 2018 with the Braves), who ranks eighth among all players who switched teams in the offseason.
In addition, the Nationals picked up first baseman Matt Adams (5.0 points) from the Cardinals, closer Kyle Barraclough (3.0 points) from the Marlins, second baseman Brian Dozier (2.5 points) from the Dodgers, catcher Yan Gomes (2.5 points) from the Indians and catcher Kurt Suzuki (2.0 points) from the Braves.
Harper (7.5 points) was the Nationals’ most notable loss, as he signed a free agent deal with the Phillies in the offseason. Harper ranked 12th in 2018 Box-Toppers points among players who changed teams in the offseason. The Nationals also lost Mark Reynolds (7.5 points) to the Rockies—he was ranked 13th among players who changed teams. Also gone from the 2018 Nationals—pitcher Tanner Roark (4.0 points) to the Reds.
Max Scherzer (25.1 points in 2018, second among all players and first among NL pitchers) is the most notable player returning to the Nationals in 2019.
Biggest offseason declines
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners notably had the biggest sell-off of players in offseason as they retool for the future. But interestingly, the two proven teams who played in the NL Championship Series in 2018 experienced the third- and fourth-biggest offseason net loss in points among all teams—the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers.
Diamondbacks have biggest decline
The Diamondbacks had a net loss of 38.7, most among all teams. They finished 2018 with 109.1 Box-Toppers points in 11th place and start 2019 with 70.4 points, falling all the way to 24th.
The Diamondbacks notably lost Patrick Corbin (16.0 Box-Toppers points, fourth among NL pitchers) to the Nationals, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (7.5 points, seventh among NL batters) to the Cardinals, infielder Daniel Descalso (5.0 points) to the Cubs, pitcher Clay Buchholz (4.7 points) to the Blue Jays and outfielder A.J. Pollock (4.0 points) to the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks biggest offseason acquisition was infielder Wilmer Flores (2.5 points) from the Mets.
Mariners have 2nd-biggest decline
The Mariners had the second-biggest decline, losing 30.6 net points since last season. In 2018, the Mariners finished 12th with 108.0 Box-Toppers points. In 2019, players on their roster accumulated 77.4 points in 2018, 22nd among all teams.
The Mariners notably lost James Paxton (17.0 Box-Toppers points, ninth among AL pitchers) to the Yankees, Edwin Diaz (9.0 points, second among AL closers) to the Mets, outfielder Denard Span (5.0 points) to free agency, shortstop Jean Segura (5.0 points) to the Phillies, second baseman Robinson Cano (4.0 points) to the Mets, closer Alex Colome (3.0 points) to the White Sox and designated hitter Nelson Cruz (2.5 points) to the Twins. The Mariners notable acquisitions include designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (6.5 points) from the Indians and outfielder Mallex Smith (5.0 points) from the Rays.
NL champion Dodgers decline ranks 3rd
The Dodgers had the third-biggest decline, losing 27.7 net points. In 2018, the Dodgers finished with 128.0 Box-Toppers points, sixth among all teams. To start 2019, the Dodgers have 100.3 points, 14th among all teams.
The Dodgers notably lost shortstop Manny Machado (5.7 Box-Toppers points) to the Padres, pitcher Alex Wood (5.0 points) to the Reds, outfielder Yasiel Puig (5.0 points) to the Reds, outfielder Matt Kemp (4.5 points) to the Reds, catcher Yasmani Grandal (4.5 points) to the Brewers, second baseman Brian Dozier (2.5 points) to the Nationals and second baseman Chase Utley (2.5 points) to retirement. The Dodgers biggest offseason acquisition was outfielder A.J. Pollock (4.0 points) from the Diamondbacks.
NL champion runner-up Brewers decline ranks 4th
The Brewers had the fourth-biggest decline losing 20.8 net points. In 2018, the Brewers finished with 132.4 Box-Toppers points, third among all teams and most among NL teams. To start 2019, the Brewers have 111.5 points, ninth among all teams.
The Brewers notably lost Curtis Granderson (8.2 Box-Toppers points, sixth among NL batters) to the Marlins, pitcher Gio Gonzalez (7.7 points) to free agency, pitcher Wade Miley (4.0 points) to the Astros, relief pitcher Jordan Lyles (4.0 points) to the Pirates and second baseman Jonathan Schoop (3.5 points) to the Twins. The Brewers biggest offseason acquisition was catcher Yasmani Grandal (4.5 points) from the Dodgers.
Braves have 5th biggest offseason decline
The Atlanta Braves, one of the surprise teams of 2018, winning the NL East, also had a significant decline in Box-Toppers points in the offseason, losing a net of 20.2 points, the fifth-biggest decline. In 2018, they finished with 116.3 points, ninth among all teams. In 2019, they start with 96.1 points 16th among all teams and fourth among all NL East teams, ahead of only the Marlins.
The Braves notably lost pitcher Anibal Sanchez (8.4 Box-Toppers points) to the Nationals, first baseman Lucas Duda (4.0 points) to the Twins and outfielder Lane Adams (3.0 points) to the Phillies. The Braves biggest offseason acquisition was catcher Rafael Lopez (1.7 points) from the Padres.
Despite Machado signing, Padres ranking remains same
The San Diego Padres made a big splash, signing free agent infielder Manny Machado, but the move did not improve their placement in Box-Toppers team rankings.
The Padres ended the 2018 season ranked 27th among all teams with its players accumulating 60.9 Box-Toppers points. To start the 2019 season, players on the current roster earned a total of 63.7 points in 2018, a 2.8-point gain, but still ranked 27th.
The Padres picked up Machado and the 5.7 Box-Toppers points he earned in 2018 with the Orioles and Dodgers, but despite the price tag and hype, it wasn’t even the Padres’ most significant offseason pick-up. Second baseman Ian Kinsler, who earned 6.0 Box-Toppers points in 2018 with the Angels and Red Sox, signed a free agent deal with the Padres in the offseason. The Padres also acquired pitcher Garrett Richards (5.7 points) from the Angels.
Prominent player changes from 2018Here are the most prominent player changes from 2018—the 25 players with the most 2018 Box-Toppers points (BTP) who are not on the same team as they were last season. James Paxton had the most 2018 points of any player to change teams (17.0). He was on the Mariners in 2018 and was traded to the Yankees for 2019. Players are ranked on the list by their 2018 Box-Toppers point (BTP) totals. Four players on the list are unsigned free agents as of March 7 and one, Joe Mauer, retired at the end of 2018.
||’18 team||’19 team|
|1||James Paxton||pi sp||17.0||Mariners||Yankees|
|2||Patrick Corbin||pi sp||16.0||Diamondbacks||Nationals|
|3||Charlie Morton||pi sp||14.8||Astros||Rays|
|4||Edwin Diaz||pi cp||9.0||Mariners||Mets|
|5||Trevor Cahill||pi sp||9.0||Athletics||Angels|
|6||Sonny Gray||pi sp||8.7||Yankees||Reds|
|7||Matt Davidson||3b dh 1b||8.7||White Sox||Rangers|
|8||Anibal Sanchez||pi sp||8.4||Braves||Nationals|
|9||Curtis Granderson||dh rf||8.2||Brewers||Marlins|
|10||Gio Gonzalez||pi sp||7.7||Brewers||Free agent|
|13||Mark Reynolds||1b 3b 2b||7.5||Nationals||Rockies|
|14||Craig Kimbrel||pi sp||7.0||Red Sox||Free agent|
|15||Matt Harvey||pi sp||7.0||Reds||Angels|
|16||Dallas Keuchel||pi sp||6.7||Astros||Free agent|
|19||Ian Kinsler||2b||6.0||Red Sox||Padres|
|21||Tyson Ross||pi sp||6.0||Cardinals||Tigers|
|23||Garrett Richards||pi sp||5.7||Angels||Padres|
|25||Carlos Gonzalez||rf||5.5||Rockies||Free agent|
Prominent player changes
James Paxton had the most 2018 Box-Toppers points of any player who moved to a new team for 2019.
Paxton, who earned 17.0 points with the Mariners in 2018, 11th among all players and ninth among AL pitchers, was traded to the Yankees. That helped the Yankees make a 3.3-point gain to rise to first place in Box-Toppers preseason rankings.
This is the second straight year the Yankees have acquired Box-Toppers’ top-ranked player to change teams in the offseason. Last year, the Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. His 14.2 Box-Toppers points in 2017 were the most by any player to change teams from 2017 to 2018.
The top batter to change teams in 2019 is Matt Davidson, who earned 8.7 Box-Toppers points in 2018 with the White Sox, fourth among AL batters. Davidson signed as a free agent for 2019 with the Texas Rangers. He ranks seventh in 2018 Box-Toppers points among players changing teams in the offseason.
The chart on this page shows the players with the most 2018 Box-Toppers points who are no longer with their 2018 team. The list is extended to 25 players to include the much-hyped but relatively low-ranking Machado, at 22nd among players changing teams.
Among the top 25, the list also includes four who are as of March 10 unsigned free agents—pitchers Gio Gonzalez, Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. The list also includes one player who retired in the offseason—catcher Joe Mauer of the Twins. With 5.5 Box-Toppers points in 2018, Mauer ranks 24th among players not on the same team as 2018.
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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Box-Toppers’ 2018 preseason rankings: Indians top Box-Toppers 2018 preseason team rankings; champion Astros fall to 8th
Box-Toppers’ 2018 end-of-season rankings: Red Sox finish 2018 atop Box-Toppers team rankings; Astros, Brewers finish season on hot streak
Free agent outfielder Adam Jones signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. That adds the 5.0 Box-Toppers points he earned in 2018 with the Orioles to the Diamondbacks’ 2019 preseason total, bringing it to 75.4. That boosts the Diamondbacks one spot from previous preseason rankings, from 24th to 23rd, passing the Texas Rangers (74.9 preseason Box-Toppers points).
However, the Diamondbacks still have the biggest decline in Box-Toppers points from the end of 2018 to the start of 2019. They had 109.1 points at the end of 2018. Their 75.4 preseason points represents a 33.7-point drop, still most among all teams. The second-biggest decline is the 30.6 points lost by the Seattle Mariners (108.0 at the end of 2018; 77.4 to start 2019).
Free agent pitcher Tony Sipp signed with the Washington Nationals. That adds the 1.0 Box-Toppers point he earned in 2018 with the Astros to the Nationals’ 2019 preseason total, bringing it to 113.0. That boosts the Nationals one spot from the previous preseason rankings, from seventh to sixth, passing the Houston Astros (112.7 preseason Box-Toppers points).
The Nationals now have a net gain of 16.7 Box-Toppers points from the end of last season to the preseason (previously it was 15.7). Their rank of having the third-biggest point increase from offseason moves remains unchanged, as they still trail the Cincinnati Reds (29.2-point increase) and the New York Mets (26.9-point increase).
Two free agents signing with top American League teams have improved the standings of already strong teams, the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.
Pitcher Gio Gonzalez signed with the Yankees. He earned 7.7 Box-Toppers points in 2018 with the Nationals and Brewers. Adding his 7.7 points to the Yankees preseason team total increases their lead among all teams, bringing them to 146.2 points. Gonzalez had been the top unsigned free agent.
The Yankees also now have gained a net of 11.0 points in the offseason from their 135.2 point total to end 2018. That now ranks as the fifth-biggest gain among all teams.
Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez signed with the Indians. He earned 5.5 Box-Toppers points in 2018 with the Rockies. Adding his 5.5 points to the Indians preseason team total increases their total to 136.1 points, moving them from third to second place, passing the Boston Red Sox (132.9 points). The Indians have now gained 7.5 points since the end of 2018, when they had 128.6 points.
Several player transactions disclosed Wednesday change the preseason Box-Toppers point totals of four teams, but do not change the overall team rankings.
The Cleveland Indians released pitcher Tyler Clippard (1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2018) and third baseman Ryan Flaherty (1.5 points in 2018) became a free agent. That reduces the Indians’ preseason roster total from 136.1 to 133.6, still in second place among all teams, just ahead of the third-place Red Sox (132.9).
The Minnesota Twins released first baseman Lucas Duda (4.0 Box-Toppers points in 2018 with the Royals and Braves), reducing their 2019 preseason total to 88.9, still in 17th place.
The Baltimore Orioles released infielder Alcides Escobar (3.0 Box-Toppers points in 2018 with the Royals), reducing their 2019 preseason total to 36.7, still in 30th and last place among all teams.
The Milwaukee Brewers released pitcher Josh Tomlin (1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2018 with the Indians), reducing their 2018 preseason total to 110.5, still ninth among all teams. The Brewers now have lost 21.9 net points since the end of the 2018 season, still the fourth-biggest decline among all teams.
The Philadelphia Phillies Thursday released five players, including three who each earned 1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2018. That reduced the Phillies’ 2019 preseason roster Box-Toppers point total by 3.0, which did not change their overall fifth place ranking, but did change their ranking among teams making the biggest improvement since the end of 2018.
The Phillies preseason team total dipped from 118.6 to 115.6. That means they have now gained a net of 9.0 Box-Toppers points since their 106.6 point total at the end of 2018. Previously, they had the fourth-biggest net gain in points (+12.0) since last year, but now they have the sixth-biggest gain (+9.0), falling behind the Yankees (+11.0) and the Angels (+9.4).
The Phillies released shortstop Gregorio Petit, infielder Trevor Plouffe and pitcher Edward Paredes, who each had 1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2018. The Phillies also released two players who had no Box-Toppers points in 2018—second baseman Andrew Romine and catcher Drew Butera.
In addition, the Atlanta Braves signed pitcher Josh Tomlin, who earned 1.0 Box-Toppers point in 2018 with the Indians. That increases the Braves’ 2019 preseason Box-Toppers point total from 96.1 to 97.1, which doesn’t change their 16th-place ranking. However, it does move the Braves out of the top five among teams whose Box-Toppers point total has declined most since the end of last season. The Braves have now had a net decline of 19.2 points since the end of 2018 (falling from 116.3), moving from fifth to sixth among teams with the biggest decline. The Houston Astros, with a decline of 19.5 points (from 132.2 to 112.7) move up to fifth place.