MLB Network just wrapped up a three night event, giving their rankings of the top 100 players in the majors right now. The Pittsburgh Pirates had four players on the list:
4. Andrew McCutchen
43. Starling Marte
54. Jung-Ho Kang
71. Gerrit Cole
Andrew McCutchen hit .292/.401/.488 in 2015, finishing fifth in the NL MVP race. He made the All-Star team for the fifth straight season and he won his fourth straight Silver Slugger award. MLB Network ranked McCutchen sixth last year, fourth the year before and 17th going into the 2013 season.
Not surprisingly, Starling Marte is the second best Pirate player on the list. He doesn’t have the track record of McCutchen, but he has had three straight solid seasons on offense and defense, so they may have gone light on his ranking. Marte hit .287/.337/.444 last year, with 30 stolen bases, a league leading 16 outfield assists, and he won his first Gold Glove. All that and this will be his age 27 season, so he is just reaching his peak years. Marte was ranked #81 by MLB Network going into the 2015 season.
Jung-Ho Kang makes an impressive debut on the top 100, ranking 54th overall. He hit .287/.355/.461 over 126 games in his rookie season last year, finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting. You have to wonder if his knee injury had any effect on his ranking, as they are rating the players for the upcoming season. If the MLB Network voters had any doubt about Kang’s effectiveness after his return, then it’s possible they thought even higher of him than this ranking, but went safe with his spot.
Prior to this year, Gerrit Cole made the top 100 one time for MLB Network, rating 94th going into the 2014 season. He was left off last year’s list, then put up a 2.60 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 202 strikeouts in 208 innings. Cole finished fourth in the Cy Young voting and 19th in the MVP voting in 2015.
The only players to finish ahead of McCutchen were(in order from 1-3): Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw.
You can view the entire top 100 here.