No great surprise that Andrew McCutchen would be ranked as the top center fielder in MLB. Still, a nice tribute. The Pirates did not do so well in rankings of other positions by FanGraphs.com, which seems to have the team stuck on 23. The Pirates were in the top 10 at only one other position, second base.
(As might be expected from FanGraphs, their rankings were arrived at by a complicated formula, which is explained at the top of each story, but it mostly comes down to WAR.)
By Mike Axisa, FanGraphs.com
Center field is one of the most star-laden positions in baseball at the moment, but a whole lot of those stars are dealing with injuries or coming off down years or trying to change positions. It also hurts that arguably the best player in the game figures to spend most of his time in left field this summer, but so be it. There is still plenty of center field talent — third base was the only position with more 5+ WAR players in 2012 — with a few interesting youngsters due to get regular playing time this year.
The league average center fielder hit .264/.328/.414 (101 wRC+) last summer, so the offensive bar is low compared to the corner spots. Defense is a big separator between the good and great players, though I feel like no position is more prone to the surprise 4+ WAR season. We’ve seen quite a few players pop-up out of nowhere to post star-caliber seasons driven largely by their center field defensive ratings, which can be a sketchy proposition. The established center field stars are among the best players in the world and perennial MVP candidates, so it’s no surprise teams with those players dominate the top of our rankings.
Not many positions in this series will be easier to cover than Pittsburgh’s center field situation. The 26-year-old McCutchen is one of the ten best players in the world and since he’s in the non-DH league, he’ll play as many innings in the field as humanly possible. This one ain’t rocket science. Marte, 24, will slide into center field whenever McCutchen takes a day off — he’s played 577 of 595 possible games since being called up in early-June 2009 — but otherwise he’s slated to be the everyday left fielder.
Read the rest of the story.
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Pirates catchers ranked 23rd
Pirates first basemen ranked 23rd
Pirates second baseman ranked ninth
Pirates shortstops ranked 23rd
Pirates third basemen ranks 15th
Pirates left fielders ranked 11th
Pirates right fielders ranked 19th