On Saturday morning, Buster Olney continued his rankings of the best players at each position around baseball. These rankings are from Olney, but he talks to MLB evaluators and other members of the ESPN staff, so it’s not just a solo opinion for each position.
We mentioned earlier this week that Felipe Rivero wasn’t among his top ten relievers in the game, but he did get mentioned as part of the “best of the rest” group. That was after no Pittsburgh Pirates were in the top ten for starting pitchers.
The lists continued for Olney on Thursday with catchers. Predictably, Francisco Cervelli wasn’t listed among the top ten. He also wasn’t one of the three honorable mentions. Cervelli has dealt with injuries each of the last two seasons and his production at the plate has dropped compared to pre-2016 numbers. So there was no surprise here.
Friday was the top first basemen and Josh Bell didn’t rank in the top ten or get mentioned among the five extra names. The position is deep for the NL, with eight of the top ten first basemen playing for NL teams and that’s with free agent Eric Hosmer ranking #8 on the list. There have been rumors of him possibly signing with the Padres, which would give the NL nine of the top ten players at the position.
On Saturday, Olney moved on to second base and Josh Harrison didn’t make the top ten. He did get mentioned in the best of the rest, with Olney saying that if he was a regular second baseman instead of a utility player (and put up the same stats), he probably would be in the top ten.
Now five positions into his rankings, Olney and his group of evaluators/contributors don’t have a single player from the Pirates in their top ten. That won’t change tomorrow with the top ten third basemen list coming out. I also don’t expect Jordy Mercer to be among the top ten shortstops, though he could get an honorable mention.
The three outfield positions will be posted Tuesday through Thursday, so that’s when the Pirates should finally break through with someone among the best at their position. Of course, one of those players is Andrew McCutchen and with all of the trade rumors surrounding him this winter, there’s no guarantee that he will still be around on Wednesday when the center field list comes out.