MLB Network has been posting their rankings of the top ten players at each position across the majors. It’s been going on now for over a month, but the Pittsburgh Pirates have barely been mentioned on any of the shows, so there hasn’t been anything to write about. That should change tonight when they cover the top relievers and top center fielders. We are posting this article early so you have a chance to follow along. You may also want to stick around for another show afterwards.
Here’s the schedule tonight. All are hour long shows:
9 PM EST: Top Ten Relievers
10 PM: Center Fielders
11 PM: Forever Brothers: The 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates Story
I am going to update this article live as the results are announced for the first two shows. Spoiler alert: The Pirates win the World Series in 1971.
Each position is ranked by 5-6 people, plus “the Shredder”, which is just their name for the list put together by the show’s researchers based on offense and defense, using “analytic methodology”. Brian Kenny hosts the show along with a former Major Leaguer who played the same position. Bill James and a panel of experts (2-3 more people) also give their own lists.
So far the only player from the Pirates to make a list was Josh Harrison, who ranked seventh for Brian Kenny and Harold Reynolds, but did not make any of the other lists. Josh Bell was one of nine first basemen who got an honorable mention at the beginning of the first base show. The Pirates had nothing for shortstop, third base, catchers, starting pitchers, left field and right field. The Pirates actually had no one eligible for left field because they did the list after the Andrew McCutchen trade and noted that Marte would be on the center field list instead.
Buster Olney put out his list of top ten by position and Starling Marte was the only Pirate to make a list. He was on the left field list still at that point, so now we get to see how he stacks up in center. Felipe Rivero got an honorable mention for relievers, but should do better tonight.
Check back later for updates. Enjoy the shows if you decide to watch along.
UPDATE #1: Reliever show is on and I’ll post as the results from each person when they are announced. They started the show off with the “just missed” players and Felipe Rivero was in that small group, so he won’t make it on the Shredder list.
Shredder – NR
Bill James – NR
Mike Petriello – #4
Vince Gennaro – NR
Ben Lindbergh – #10
Brian Kenny – #10
Dan Plesac – NR
UPDATE #2: Center field show is on now and Starling Marte was among six players in the “just missed” group. That means that the Shredder didn’t have a single Pirate player in the top ten. Brian Kenny also noted at the top of the show that Marte wasn’t on his list. I’ll add the rest as they are announced.
No one had Marte on their list, so all he gets is a ‘just missed” among center fielders.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
These lists always seem to find something stupid like comparing a lifetime leftfielder to center fielders. I’m sure they then downgraded him since he hasn’t spent much time there…
This is one of the reasons I think the new StatCast defensive metrics are interesting; not only do they use the most accurate data we have available, they also judge all outfielders against one another. DRS and UZR both judge an outfielder against his peers, which has logic, but also makes cross-comparisons difficult as you noted.
StatCast Catch Percentage Added and Outs Above Average do not differentiate, which tells us how Marte’s range compares against center fielders.
Unfortunately, the answer is not very good at all. While these metrics don’t include value added by the arm – and Marte’s is quite good – his ability to tun fly balls to outs is well below the majority of center fielders.
With a bat projected to only be a bit above average, I’m not so sure Marte belongs in the Top 10 right now.
This says allot about the Pirates compete level for the coming year.
More good news from another Captain Obvious.
For the eternal optimist here this should be a dose of reality that computers and most humans have our players rated average or worst at every position group. Thank you NH and a sincere thanks to BN for none of this could have happened with out you.
Not sure anyone is saying the Pirates will be good… They will be in that mid 70 win range and if everything goes great MAYBE low 80s.
Don’t you ever get tired of posting the same thing over and over ? JC, I don’t like a lot of this either, but there is more to life than bitching and moaning continually.
Check back next year on these 2 players..should have a much better indication of their talents at their positions with this additional year of playing.
Marte missed 80 games due to testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs. Was anyone expecting that he would somehow be considered one of the Top 10 at any position?
Rivero had an excellent year but only 21 Saves. The Title is 10 Best Relievers, but the category is heavily tilted toward Closers, and relievers from winning teams. He has caught the attention of the “experts”.
Overall, a fair outcome for a team that finished 12 games under .500
He likely would have made the LF list, judging by the way they worded it on the show.
Sitting here in the foggy mist of February and reviewing the past six months of Pirate Baseball it seems like deja vu. I am suddenly taken back to 1993. Are we about to enter a new wasteland? That fog shroud limbo that nearly destroyed our collective souls. I am to old to wait 20 years for a winning season. Who out there has a tonic or potion that will lift this fog from me?
Wow, my feelings exactly. The Pirate future does not compel me to wear shades. Hope I’m wrong
Just think, all it took was the drafting of Sean Burnett and development of Nyjer Morgan to get a filthy closer.
With Marte missing half of last year and being new to center I can see him missing the cut
Are there really 10 relievers better than Felipe or is it just because he hasn’t done it very long yet? Stuff wise he is filthy
This list, or in this case, lists, are meaningless in every way except as a discussion point. Who really cares what the “experts” think. Only thing that matters are games on the field.
I agree. And the Pirates as a group have been awful on the field.
Every list they’ve put up on the show showing leaders has had Riveros name. They even did a little piece on him yet not on anyone’s list yet. I’d say another year of the same results and he’s near the top.
Saw the preview for the centerfielders and they mentioned Marte as not being in the top 10. Also apparently Preston Wilson has somebody other than Trout at #1 .