American League pitchers occupied eight of the top 10 spots in Box-Toppers’ 2018 season player rankings. But there were no AL pitchers among the top 10 in baseball’s Wins Above Replacement statistic.
WAR leaders’ Box-Toppers pointsHere is how 2018 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) leaders fared in Box-Toppers points. Players are ranked by WAR. Also shown are their 2018 Box-Toppers points (BTP) and their rank in Box-Toppers points among all players.
|1||Mookie Betts||Red Sox||10.9||10.9||38|
AL teams dominated baseball in 2018 with three of its teams winning 100 or more games (Red Sox, Astros and Yankees), the Red Sox cruised to a relatively easy World Series win and it was AL pitchers who most helped those teams win all those games.
Yet, the WAR statistic does not reflect—and some could argue, seriously disregards—the significant contributions of AL pitchers.
Box-Toppers top-ranked player in 2018 was an AL pitcher, Blake Snell of the Rays, who had 27.2 points, the 12th-highest single-season point total since Box-Toppers tracking began in 1995. Yet Snell’s WAR was 7.4 (meaning he added 7.4 wins to the Rays compared to a replacement level player). The WAR statistics used here are compiled by BaseballReference.com. While Snell’s 7.4 is the highest WAR rating among all AL pitchers, it still ranks fifth among pitchers and outside the top 10 players for 2018.
Snell and seven other AL pitchers who dominated Box-Toppers’ 2018 top 10 season player rankings (shown on a chart elsewhere on this page), did not have WAR ratings high enough to rank among the overall top 10. Those pitchers, along with their WAR ratings, were:
Box-Toppers 2018 top 10 playersHere are the top 10 players in Box-Toppers points (BTP) for the 2018 season:
|1||Snell, Blake 3688||pi sp||tb al||27.2|
|2||Scherzer, Max 2588||pi sp||dc nl||25.1|
|3||Verlander, Justin 2112||pi sp||hou al||24.1|
|4||Kluber, Corey 3200||pi sp||cle al||21.7|
|5||Nola, Aaron 3569||pi sp||phi nl||21.1|
|6||Sale, Chris 2806||pi sp||bos al||20.1|
|7||Carrasco, Carlos 2885||pi sp||cle al||19.1|
|8||Cole, Gerrit 3232||pi sp||hou al||18.0|
|9||Berrios, Jose 3791||pi sp||min al||17.8|
|10||Severino, Luis 3567||pi sp||nyy al||17.7|
About Box-Toppers’ team abbreviations
Justin Verlander, Astros (6.2)
Corey Kluber, Indians (5.8)
Chris Sale, Red Sox (6.8)
Carlos Carrasco, Indians (3.9)
Gerrit Cole, Astros (5.1)
Jose Berrios, Twins (3.8)
Luis Severino, Yankees (4.7)
There are two National League pitchers who ranked in Box-Toppers’ 2018 top 10 season player rankings and who ranked among the overall top 10 in WAR. They are:
Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer ranked fifth in WAR with 9.5 and ranked second in Box-Toppers points with 25.1, first among National League players.
Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola ranked fourth in WAR with 10.0 and fifth in Box-Toppers points with 21.1, second among NL pitchers.
Additionally, Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom ranked third in WAR with 10.0 (highest among all pitchers) and 12th in Box-Toppers points with 16.8, third among NL pitchers.
WAR is a statistic used to measure and compare players against each other and is the rare statistic used to directly compare pitchers and batters.
Box-Toppers was devised in the mid-1990s (before I heard of WAR) as a way of determining a top player in each game played, a top player of the day in each league and a top overall player for the day. Points are awarded to those top players and those points accumulate over the season to provide a data point to compare players.
While Box-Toppers points and WAR are both used to compare players, WAR is a very different statistic. BaseballReference.com, from which the WAR scores used here are derived, defines WAR as “a single number that presents the number of wins the player added to the team above what a replacement player would add.”
Box-Toppers is a much more basic statistic with a much simpler formula than the dozens or hundreds of steps needed to figure WAR. Box-Toppers, without apology, does not include any fielding statistics as part of its formula, as WAR does. Also Box-Toppers, in essence, measures the number of wins a player is most responsible for. WAR, as its name indicates, measures the wins that player would have above a replacement player.
So while WAR and Box-Toppers points differ in many ways, they are similar in one key way—they both attempt to directly compare the usually segregated pitchers and batters with one shared, integrated statistic.
Eight of the 10 leaders in WAR for 2018 are among the top 100 players in Box-Toppers points for the season.
But only three players in the top 10 in WAR are among the top 15 in 2018 Box-Toppers points (Scherzer, Nola and deGrom), while two rank far outside the top 100 in Box-Toppers points.
Mookie Betts of the Red Sox led all players in 2018 with a WAR of 10.9. Coincidentally, Betts had 10.9 Box-Toppers points in 2018, the exact same as his WAR number, though both are figured differently. While Betts’ 10.9 WAR led all players his 10.9 Box-Toppers points ranked 38th among all players, second among American League batters, behind teammate J.D. Martinez with 12.5 points. (Martinez had a WAR of 6.4 in 2018.)
In addition to Betts, Scherzer, Nola and deGrom, four other players in Box-Toppers’ top 100 list for 2018 were among the top 10 in WAR for the season:
Mike Trout of the Angels ranked second in WAR with 10.2 and 76th in Box-Toppers points with 8.0, fifth among AL batters.
Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland ranked sixth in WAR with 8.2 and 30th in Box-Toppers points with 12.4, 13th among NL pitchers.
Francisco Lindor of the Indians ranked tied for eighth in WAR with 7.9 and 57th in Box-Toppers points with 9.6, third among AL batters.
Christian Yelich of the Brewers ranked 10th in WAR (first among NL batters) with 7.6 and ranked 34th in Box-Toppers points with 11.5, first among NL batters.
However, two of the top 10 WAR leaders were outside Box-Toppers’ top 100 players for 2018:
Matt Chapman of the Athletics ranked seventh in WAR with 8.2, but ranked 229th in Box-Toppers points with 4.5, 48th among AL batters, seventh among AL third basemen and fourth among Athletics batters.
Jose Ramirez of the Indians ranked tied for eighth in WAR with 7.9, but ranked 135th in Box-Toppers points with 6.0, 17th among AL batters, third among AL third basemen and third among Indians batters. (Ramirez did earn 10.0 Box-Toppers points in 2017, fifth among AL batters. His 2017 WAR was 6.9.)
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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Tracking who most helps their teams win the most games, based on box score stats. A method to measure & compare baseball's top players.
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. Players earn Box-Toppers points 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.