Box-Toppers' top-ranked batter Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers was named American League Most Valuable Player Thursday.
But the National League leading batter in Box-Toppers points, Paul Goldschmidt, finished in second place in NL MVP voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, who finished 71st among NL players and 22nd among NL batters in Box-Toppers points, was voted NL MVP.
Cabrera had 16.9 Box-Toppers points for the season, first among all batters, third among all AL players and eighth among all players. He was consistently the only batter in the overall player top 10 list during the season. He led all players in Box-Toppers points four different times during the season, most recently from June 28 to June 30.
Cabrera was voted first on 28 of the 30 writers’ ballots, winning his second straight MVP award. However, in 2012, Cabrera ranked third among AL batters in Box-Toppers points with 11.7, behind Adrian Beltre (13.5) and Chris Davis (12.0). Cabrera ranked third in 2012 despite his Triple Crown season.
McCutchen, voted NL MVP, had 6.0 Box-Toppers points for the season. He was voted first on 28 of the 30 writers’ ballots and was voted on all 30 ballots no lower than third place. However, as the 22nd-ranked NL batter in Box-Toppers points, he wouldn’t have even appeared on Box-Toppers’ 10-spot ballot.
Box-Toppers’ top NL batter Goldschmidt had 13.7 Box-Toppers points and received 15 of the writers’ second place votes, enough to secure the NL MVP runner-up spot.
So what went wrong here? Why do the writers so unanimously see McCutchen as the MVP and Box-Toppers so ... does not? (In fact, McCutchen is not even the highest-ranked batter in Box-Toppers points on his team—that honor goes to Pedro Alvarez, with 7.7 points.)
McCutchen’s batting average is .317. He hit 21 homers and 84 RBIs, scored 97 runs and stole 27 bases. Goldschmidt’s numbers were just as good, often better—.302 average, 36 homers, 125 RBIs. But McCutchen’s team made the postseason. Goldschmidt’s didn’t. Plus, words being used to describe McCutchen are “all-around player,” a “heart-and-soul” guy—intangibles. By their very nature, it’s hard to measure intangibles.
But Box-Toppers measures tangibles. The player who most helps his team win the most games earns the most Box-Toppers points. And to be fair, Box-Toppers doesn’t measure defensive play—for batters, it relies on what they produce at the plate. So it is possible that a lot of McCutchen’s valuableness gets missed that way.
Though in the previous two seasons, McCutchen has fared better in Box-Toppers points than he did in 2013. In 2011, he had 9.7 Box-Toppers points, in eighth place among NL batters. And in 2012, he had 8.5, finishing just out of the top 10 among NL batters.
So, by Box-Toppers standards, Goldschmidt very simply more often helped his team win more games than did McCutchen.
A couple of other players were voted by writers to higher spots than would be recommended by their Box-Toppers point total:
- Mike Trout of the Angels was voted in second place in AL MVP voting with five first place votes. He had 3.5 Box-Toppers points for the season, in 144th place among all AL players and 62nd among all AL batters. (In 2012, he also finished second in AL MVP voting, but in 2012, he finished fifth among AL batters with 11.0 Box-Toppers points.)
- Yadier Molina of the Cardinals was voted in third place in NL MVP voting with two first place votes. He had 4.0 Box-Toppers points for the season, in 126th place among all NL players and 52nd among all NL batters. However, Molina is rightly given credit for his defensive skills as a catcher and his role in shaping a pitching staff with four or five Cy Young-worthy starters. Box-Toppers doesn’t measure that.
There were several players who had high Box-Toppers point totals who did not receive MVP votes. Three of the Box-Toppers top 10 AL batters received no votes and seven of the Box-Toppers top 10 NL batters were shut out:
- Alfonso Soriano of the Yankees had 12.9 Box-Toppers points, 12th among all AL players and second among all AL batters. However, Soriano played in the National League for the Cubs at the start of the season and switched to the American League in July.
- Billy Butler of the Royals had 9.0 Box-Toppers points, 33rd among all AL players and eighth among AL batters.
- Prince Fielder of the Tigers had 8.5 Box-Toppers points, 39th among all AL players and 10th among AL batters.
- Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies had 11.0 Box-Toppers points, 22nd among all NL players and fourth among NL batters.
- Bryce Harper of the Nationals had 9.4 Box-Toppers points, 34th among all NL players and fifth among NL batters.
- Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals had 9.2 Box-Toppers points, 35th among all NL players and sixth among NL batters.
- Will Venable of the Padres had 9.0 Box-Toppers points, 36th among all NL players and seventh among NL batters.
- Daniel Murphy of the Mets had 8.5 Box-Toppers points, 40th among all NL players and eighth among NL batters.
- Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates had 7.7 Box-Toppers points, 45th among all NL players and ninth among NL batters.
- Brandon Phillips of the Reds had 7.5 Box-Toppers points, 48th among all NL players and 10th among NL batters.
Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games. Top players from the winning team of each game are determined by a formula using standard box score statistics. The player on the winning team with the highest Box-Toppers game score is Player of the Game and receives 1.0 Box-Toppers point. The Player of the Game with the highest overall Box-Toppers game score for all the games played that day is Player of the Day and earns a total of 2.0 Box-Toppers points. The top player in the opposite league receives a total of 1.7 Box-Toppers points. If both the day’s top overall player and top player in the opposite league are pitchers, then the top American League and top National League batter of the day receive a total of 1.5 Box-Toppers points each.
Here are the final Box-Toppers Player Rankings for 2013, showing the top 10 overall players, plus the top 10 in AL and NL pitching and AL and NL batting. Players are ranked by their Box-Toppers season point totals.
Box-Toppers rankings of MVP Award candidates
Here are the results of Most Valuable Player Award voting in both leagues. Players are listed in order of their vote total. The far right columns show how many Box-Toppers points (BTP) they earned during the 2013 season and how each player ranked in Box-Toppers points among all players in their league.
|Mike Trout||cf lf||Angels||5||19||3||1||1||1||282||3.5||144|
|Dustin Pedroia||2b||Red Sox||1||5||5||5||4||2||1||99||3.5||145|
|David Ortiz||dh||Red Sox||2||1||2||2||1||2||2||47||12.4||18|
|Max Scherzer||pi sp||Tigers||1||2||1||1||2||25||18.1||1|
|Edwin Encarnacion||1b dh||Blue Jays||1||2||7||8.7||38|
|Greg Holland||pi cp||Royals||1||3||11.0||22|
|Jacoby Ellsbury||cf||Red Sox||1||1||3||5.5||83|
|Hisashi Iwakuma||pi sp||Mariners||1||2||16.1||7|
|Koji Uehara||pi cp||Red Sox||2||2||6.0||76|
|Yu Darvish||pi sp||Rangers||1||1||16.0||8|
|Felix Hernandez||pi sp||Mariners||1||1||14.8||9|
|Salvador Perez||ca 1b||Royals||1||1||2.5||195|
|Shane Victorino||rf||Red Sox||1||1||4.5||112|
|Notable AL snubs|
|Clayton Kershaw||pi sp||Dodgers||8||4||4||5||4||1||146||21.7||1|
|Craig Kimbrel||pi cp||Braves||1||1||3||3||27||12.7||18|
|Shin Soo Choo||cf||Reds||1||1||1||4||3||23||7.0||55|
|Allen Craig||lf 1b||Cardinals||1||1||4||5.0||84|
|Adam Wainwright||pi sp||Cardinals||1||3||20.2||2|
|Notable NL snubs|
|Will Venable||rf cf||Padres||0||9.0||36|