Buster Olney posted his list of the top ten center fielders on Wednesday morning and Andrew McCutchen has fallen out of the top ten. That is one year after McCutchen ranked fifth overall for Olney and just two years after he was the second best center fielder in the game.
It appears that Starling Marte will be the only top ten player at his position according to Olney, who also gets help from MLB evaluators and some ESPN staff in his rankings. That’s a drop of three players in the top ten last year and more favorable rankings in prior seasons. McCutchen was listed among his “best of the rest” and Olney spoke highly of him in his brief mention, so it appears that he lost out by a combo of depth at the position, plus the decline from his best days.
There is one thing to consider with this ranking today. If Olney heavily weighs the opinion of his baseball people, then this could show you how teams feel about McCutchen’s worth in a trade. If his perceived value has dropped that much around baseball, then you’re not going to get a strong return for him with just one year left on his contract. That might be the reason the Pirates end of holding on to him this off-season, hoping he builds value throughout the season. That’s something we will find out soon with Spring Training just five weeks away.
The only remaining top ten to be released is right field. Gregory Polanco was on Olney’s list last year, but I can’t see him making it this season after his 2017 season filled with injuries and a .695 OPS when he was healthy. The rankings are based more on what Olney and his evaluators expect for the upcoming season, so it’s possible they will look at his age and 2016 numbers for what he could do with a healthy season.