The Pittsburgh Pirates need to have a better season in 2023 than they did in 2022. A big part of this step forward will be the production from two of their best players.
Baseball lists are always fun to look at, as rankings come out, and whatnot. However, most lists around Baseball are looking at prospects rankings, or farm system rankings. ESPN has now put out its list of the Top 100 players in Baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirates had two of their players featured on the prestigious list.
This is always an interesting exercise and one that many fans often do not agree with the results within. The NFL has a Top 100 list that comes out every year and it gains a lot of attention for that specific reason, the misses, and Player A is ranked too high or Low. With that being said I feel split on the two players included on the list. Here is the link to the ESPN Article.
At #95 on the list is Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes. I think this is a more than fair spot for him. He has established himself as one of the best defenders in Baseball, plus providing that play at the hot corner is very impressive.
However, that bat needs to improve, specifically the power numbers. Over the first two years of his career, he appeared in 120 games and posted a solid 11 home runs. Last year he only hit 7 in 136 games. If he can get back to even a 15-20 homerun pace Hayes will project himself into Top 50 consideration. #96 Ketel Marte, #94 Wilson Contreras
At #62 on the list, and the only other player for the Pittsburgh Pirates on the list, is outfielder Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds obviously was going to be on the list, however, I believe he should be ranked higher. He is a 3-5 WAR player and has been consistent throughout his career. The one year he was not was 2020 which proved to be an outlier for a lot of players across the League.
Reynolds could easily break into the Top 50 this year. He has proven to be one of the best all-around outfielders in Major League Baseball. Not to mention as reports have indicated teams across the League want Reynolds, just showing how good teams feel he is.