Francisco Cervelli Ranks as the Fourth Best Catcher

Tonight on MLB Network, they will wrap up their rankings of the top ten players at each position. At 9pm they will cover the catchers, followed by right fielders during the 10pm show. The Pirates have done very well in the first eight rankings, with seven players making the lists. They had two relievers last week(link includes all previous rankings), missing out only at shortstop and first base so far. Tonight we will see how Francisco Cervelli and Gregory Polanco stack up going into 2016, after both of them were left off last year’s lists.(results are below)

Cervelli played a career-high 130 games in 2015, hitting .295/.370/.401, while also displaying strong overall defense. If they believe that he can stay healthy again during the entire 2016 season, while putting up similar numbers, then Cervelli should rank fairly high.

Polanco hit .256/.320/.381 in his first full season, stealing 27 bases and playing strong defense in right field. His 13 outfield assists were second only to Starling Marte among NL outfielders last year. At age 24, Polanco still has upside and should rank in the top ten, depending on the strength of right field. Since the rankings are based on 2016 projections, he should do better than the stats from last season indicate.

We’re posting a discussion thread early so you get a chance to follow along with both shows and discuss the rankings, or you can just talk about anything Pirates related in the comment section. Results will be posted below as they are announced.

9:32 PM: Cervelli is ranked #4 by the Shredder, which is the computer ranking for the show. There will be more rankings from this show shortly.

9:45 PM: Bill James, Vince Gennaro, who is the president of SABR, and Mike Petriello, who is a baseball analyst for MLB.com, were the expert panelists on the show and all three submitted their own list. Brian Kenny and Dave Valle hosted the show and had their own list.

Valle didn’t rank Cervelli, as he said he isn’t sold after just one good season. He also pointed out the low caught stealing percentage(22%) for Cervelli.

Gennaro has him seventh, while Petriello agreed with the Shredder rankings, and has him fourth.

Bill James has Cervelli ranked tenth.

Brian Kenny has him ranked ninth, so he made five of the six lists, with an average ranking of seventh on those lists.

10:30 PM: Once they put out the list of names for right fielders, it was apparent that Polanco wouldn’t be in the top ten for the show. They mentioned that this is the deepest position in baseball. Looks like Polanco will have to step up his offense to be considered for next year’s list because they aren’t giving him credit for his possible potential. If the position wasn’t so deep, they might consider that “potential” angle, but there are too many good players ahead of him at this point. The Pirates finished with a total of eight players on the ten lists.

  • Yes there are many excellent RFs in MLB today, but Puig, Braun, Cruz, and Sano in the Top 10 ? Mentioning their names along side Bryce Harper and Bautista is hilarious.

  • My personal thoughts… Polanco isn’t top 15 yet. Has the potential but has been underwhelming vs. the promise/upside thus far. If he steps forward he could easily crack top 10/5 as the difference isn’t that great. Cervelli is nowhere near top 5. He is more like cracking the top 10. Hoping he has a year like last year so we can QO him and get compensation for him leaving.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    February 12, 2016 9:18 am

    Well, I think 4th is a little high for a catcher who cannot throw very well, but I am sure just about all of the catchers have some flaws. Posey is the clear #1 in my opinion. If and when healthy, Wieters may be the very best in the AL – in terms of all around game. Salvador Perez (KC) is right up there. After that, some order of Martin, Molina, Norris, and Grandal. I would put Cervelli somewhere after those guys – like anywhere from 8 to 12…

    • Gotta be careful with Molina going forward, the offense going back to his early years levels really changes his overall value.

      If he doesnt recover his offensive value, he’s more 2-3 WAR than 4 WAR. Unless the wrist injury doesnt impact him going forward and he halts the trend of declining offensive numbers, Yadi may be entering the elder years where he is purely a defensive catcher.

      • I’m not saying it WILL happen but I wouldn’t be suprised to see Molina fall off a cliff. His defense will bring considerable value but with thumb injury and age I could see him struggling to post 2 WAR.

    • They did say that the catcher position seemed weak, especially compared to right field, where Polanco didn’t even get an honorable mention. So being the fourth best catcher this year, might translate to him being 7-8 another year.

    • Posey may be moved off of catcher. I heard somewhere, I’m 69, same age as Trump and he says “heard from somewhere.” But, I did hear that SF want’s to play him a lot more at 1st base. I guess to prolong his career.

    • Cervelli’s framing runs (+19) far outweigh the -2 throwing runs. BP’s fielding metrics have him as the second best defensive MLB catcher behind Grandal, +16.5 Runs total. Fangraphs has him as the second best batting catcher behind Posey.

      http://www.baseballprospectus.com/sortable/index.php?cid=1899493

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=c&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=6&season=2015&month=35&season1=2015&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=7,d

      (I’m not cherry picking my sources, just using the ones I’m used to )

      There’s a good argument that Cervelli was the 1st or 2nd best overall catcher in the MLB last year. Of course, that doesn’t mean he *is* the 1st or 2nd best catcher in baseball, but for one year he was.

  • Polanco is going to explode this year IMO. His batted ball and hr to flyball ratio last year made no sense. I think he is near 800 ops and over 4 war. Lock him up!!

    • I think he is due for some better results too. It seemed like he had a lot of hard hit outs last year and the fancy stats backed that up.

    • I am with you John.

    • I am in full concurrence. Marte & Cutch both post 5+WAR and Polanco, Kang, Cervelli, and J-Hay all post 3.5+WAR.

      • Just my opinion which means nothing Kozy but I’m saying

        6 for Cutch
        4.5 Marte
        4.5 GP
        3 Kang(think injury recovery a bit of a 1st half struggle)
        3 Jhay
        2.5-3 Cervelli

        I also think we get over 1.5 from Jaso/Rogers at 1b which would be huge gain over Pedro

        Now if we can just get that bullpen to reproduce the insane WPA from last year- that is where I think we take a hit

        • I can agree with that. My prediction is Cutch is gonna start faster this year and hit 7+WAR again this year and I think Marte has his best season yet and goes over 5 this year.

    • FanGraphs runs fan projections, and the fans project Polanco at 3.8 WAR on average, so they must see the same thing you do.

      I think he’s a safe bet to sit in the 2.5-3 WAR range with a pretty good chance at upside. I’ll project him at 3.3 WAR, gut feeling, with the extra win coming almost entirely from hitting and a slight regression in Def.

  • Based on what Polanco has done in the ML’s to date he doesn’t deserve to be in the top 10. Maybe it will motivate him. Also, from a selfish perspective, maybe he will sign a long term cheap contract!

  • All I have to say is “watch out”. If Gregory comes into his own more (and he will!) then exactly who is going to be a lot better. I think for this year, it is not realistic to think he will hit .280 – .310, 15 (conservative) – 23 HRs, 30 – 40 SBs, 10 outfield assists. Yep, he hasn’t gotten there (yet) but I would bet good money on it. And I can see this all the way form Sydney Australia!

    • I must say I am a little concerned about his knee. They said he altered his offseason to reduce the stress on it. But it doesn’t seem as if it truly healed. My fear is that his SBs have already peaked

      • That’s the first I heard of that. I thought that all reports from that Jan mini-camp were positive.

        • John and Tim might be able to answer this better than I. But from what I read, he is considered “healthy.” He did however modify his offseason workout to lessen impact on his “troublesome knee.”
          Above when I stated that it wasn’t healed, I meant that I inferred from the article that this is a chronic type of thing that doesn’t appear to be fixable with surgery. I wouldn’t think anything of this if he was in his 30s. I am just concerned that a young, speedy player is dealing with this.

          • All the reports we got say he is 100% healthy. He took extra time off this winter and decided not to play winter ball, so he did make some changes as a precaution. There seems to be no concerns now though.

            • That sounds better than what I read (from another source). And I do trust you guys more than the others when it comes to these stories.
              However, as a very tall athlete, his knee issues do raise a redflag with me. I will probably need to see him make it through the year before my concerns dissipate.

  • I suppose it says something about the team that shredder likes us more than the humans. That seemed to be a trend throughout the show

  • Things don’t look good for Gregory Polanco. Looks like the position is very deep and he isn’t listed among their wall of names, which is about 13-14 deep. Someone on the show could have him though.

Menu