Four Pirates Listed Among Top 100 Players

MLB Network just wrapped up a three night event, giving their rankings of the top 100 players in the majors right now. The Pittsburgh Pirates had four players on the list:

4. Andrew McCutchen

43. Starling Marte

54. Jung-Ho Kang

71. Gerrit Cole

Andrew McCutchen hit .292/.401/.488 in 2015, finishing fifth in the NL MVP race. He made the All-Star team for the fifth straight season and he won his fourth straight Silver Slugger award. MLB Network ranked McCutchen sixth last year, fourth the year before and 17th going into the 2013 season.

Not surprisingly, Starling Marte is the second best Pirate player on the list. He doesn’t have the track record of McCutchen, but he has had three straight solid seasons on offense and defense, so they may have gone light on his ranking. Marte hit .287/.337/.444 last year, with 30 stolen bases, a league leading 16 outfield assists, and he won his first Gold Glove. All that and this will be his age 27 season, so he is just reaching his peak years. Marte was ranked #81 by MLB Network going into the 2015 season.

Jung-Ho Kang makes an impressive debut on the top 100, ranking 54th overall. He hit .287/.355/.461 over 126 games in his rookie season last year, finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting. You have to wonder if his knee injury had any effect on his ranking, as they are rating the players for the upcoming season. If the MLB Network voters had any doubt about Kang’s effectiveness after his return, then it’s possible they thought even higher of him than this ranking, but went safe with his spot.

Prior to this year, Gerrit Cole made the top 100 one time for MLB Network, rating 94th going into the 2014 season. He was left off last year’s list, then put up a 2.60 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 202 strikeouts in 208 innings. Cole finished fourth in the Cy Young voting and 19th in the MVP voting in 2015.

The only players to finish ahead of McCutchen were(in order from 1-3): Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw.

You can view the entire top 100 here.

  • I’m pretty partial to Cervelli.

    • Me too – the list seems to be be an odd mix of respect for the past – Cutch gets a bit higher than he probably would rate if we are looking through a lens of past year and future potential – which might explain Marte and Kang getting pretty aggressive placements. Molina makes the list – and he is not the player he was 2-3 years ago and how do you explain Lucroy?

  • Not surprised at Cole’s low ranking. He is the Pirates number one starter but other teams number one starters are just better than him at this time. Not sure if he will ever be dominant like a Kershaw. I hope he can put it all together this year and become one of the greats of the game.

    • “Be dominant like Kershaw”

      There are at most 2 guys not named Kershaw that are actually that level of dominant. There’s Kershaw, mayyybe Arrieta sniffing his level, and everybody else wishing to be them over an extended period of time.

      This conversation happens too often, but i still dont get why become one of the greats” is said in this fashion. He’s currently one of the top 10 pitchers in the game. At that point, its haggling over what “great” is to you, me, and dupree.

      • Would add Chris Sale to the elite group – think their are three “Super Aces” – Kershaw, Arrieta and Sale. The next tier would include Cole at the tail end and has about a dozen guys IMHO. The third tier is about 20 guys and has Frankie – who is better than the #1 guy on at least a dozen teams.

        • For your Super Three…Kershaw is #1…just that simple.

          Sale, I think, is underrated by most folks…playing on a garbage team will do that for you.

          Arrieta? He was incredible last season, but I’m not sold yet. He’s two years older than Kershaw, three more than Sale, and has managed enough innings to qualify just once in his career. (Of course, Boras will spin this as ‘having a young arm’ ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

          If Jake can put up another great year, I might take him over Scherzer…

        • Sale is top 5 with ease, and a stud. But he struggles to reach Kershaw level WAR almost every year.

          Hell, so does Arrieta mostly. Kershaw really is a league of his own in terms of the entire package over a consistent number of years. You might have a year nearly as good as him, but you likely wont repeat success like he does.

          • Zack Greinke or are his best behind him?

            • Greinke’s peripherals were not as good as Sale and Kershaw – chance he slips a bit – but he is definitely at the upper end of tier two starters IMHO

            • You could list a ton of guys honestly behind roughly the top 1-3. I think, for me, Greinke’s in that 4-10 range. Had a fantastic year, but not a guy you ink in for 5 WAR year to year with low 2 ERAs.

          • The thing that brings him back to Sale/Arrieta is/has been a not so stellar post season…

            • Arrieta in the postseason:
              1 great game, 2 awful games. But yeah, the narrative on Kershaw is more fun.

              People act like Kershaw has literally never had a single good postseason game. Silly narrative. He’s seen postseason struggles for sure…..just like every elite pitcher has.

  • Give me Tiered Rankings ANY day!!!

    ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Wow, Logan Forsythe at 58. Brandon Belt at 61. Jose Altuve at 12. I’d take Nolan Arenado over Robinson Cano at this point. This is an interesting list. Here’s hoping Polanco and Glasnow are on next years list.

  • Cardinals had 6, Cubs 6, Dodgers 5, Pirates 4, Giants 4, Nationals 4, Diamondbacks 3, Mets 3. The Cubs are stacked and I’d argue that the Cardinals and Pirates rosters are comparable. I think the area where the Pirates may be able to equalize the strength of the Cubs in particular will depend on how the Pirates top prospects perform this year when they come up. Cubs had the benefit of having a lot of rookies who performed above expectations. Pirates farm system today is better than anybody else’s other than the Dodgers. If our top young guys (Glasnow, Bell, Taillon, Hansen, Diaz) can come up this year and do even half as well as some of the Cubs guys did last year, the Pirates could have enough to contend to the end.

  • Was shocked to see kang that high. Cole was a little too low imo but marte seemed about right. Goldschmidt over Cutch wouldn’t have surprised me but they give him a little more credit for his defense in center than I think he deserves in all honesty.

    • Good points, especially regarding McCutchen and Goldschmidt. He had a career year in 2015, and probably deserved to be higher on list. Take a look at their contracts and you will see more similarities – two guys vastly underpaid.

    • Very surprised about Kang being that high as well. Love him and glad we have him but above Cueto, Russ Mart, Gray, etc? I don’t know

  • Hmmm, what must Melancon do to earn a bit of respect? Watson, Liriano and Cervelli also?

    • Lotta talent that takes the field more often than any closer. Which isnt to say shut down closers dont play a huge role in an effective team strategy, but in terms of an individual list its tough to find many closers than are clearly on par with all manner of other players.

    • Well Chapman barely makes the top 100 @ 98 and he is as close as we get to a lights out – party over – and drive home safely closer…

  • Where did Cole finish relative to other pitchers in the NL? Was there bias for position players? I feel like Cole will be a more important player than Kang in this coming season, but then again pitchers only play every fifth day.

  • I could swear that sometime in the last week or so,someone, maybe a Blaine Huff, tried to tell me Andrew McCutchen wasn’t one of the top players and faces of the game.

    • Wow, so MLB ranked and that’s just the way it is?

      Yeah, I wouldn’t put Cutch in the top 5.

      Top 10? Yeah. 5? Nah.

      I mean, if you can make a convincing case that he’s better than: Trout, Harper, Kershaw, Miggy, and Goldschmidt…go ahead. I mean, honestly, that’s my top 5.

      And we haven’t mentioned Donaldson or Scherzer….or Machado. I don’t know if I’d take any of those guys before Cutch…but I don’t know that I’d take Cutch before them either.

      C’mon, you usually post well, this call-out drivel is beneath you.

      • In order to have an apples to apples comparison, the criteria must be agreed upon. There are so many ways to judge a players worth in baseball, it’s easy to make a case for all the guys in the 3-10 range to be at the top of the next rung below Trout and Harper.

        Cutch clearly belongs in there somewhere, which is good enough for me.

      • Cutch vs. Miggy isn’t even close. Miggy is a great hitter when healthy – and his health has been a big factor the last couple years – but provides little else.

        • Miggy’s health? Yeah…he missed 43 games last year. Since then it’s been a minimum of 148/year since 2004.

          If you have to plug a bat into your lineup, it’s hard to find one better than his.

        • One guy had an OPS of .974 and wRC+ 165
          the other .889/146

          Both are very good – but I think I give the edge to the guy with the higher numbers for another year or two…

        • At this point honestly- Cutch isn’t much different. He hits, doesn’t steal bases anymore if last year was what to expect going forward, and he had negative defensive value. Honestly- Miggy is a better hitter

      • agree for the most part – I would have Machado #5 – Miggy #6 Chris Sale #7 then maybe Cutch – though an argument could be made to have him after Donaldson base on last season

        • Donaldson is at the moment, a way better player given his immense defensive value at a premium position along with his hitting. no contest really.

          • Arenado would be ahead as well without any real winning argument

            • along with goldschmidt. So…I think it would be reasonable to have him at about #7 or #8 depending on if i want to put miggy ahead or not

      • actually its not…I have dealt with this many times before. He definitely is in the camp that thinks that Cutch doesn’t poop so to speak.

    • You gotta define “one of the top” if you really wanna call others out.

      Because if you mean top 10, yeah Cutch is likely on that list. But top 5? Now its a convoluted mess. Certainly Harper and Trout at top. The rest is a mess of whether you project good things for the younger names (Machado, etc).

      He’s a face of baseball, thats enough.

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