Pittsburgh Pirates C Francisco Cervelli has been ranked seventh best Catcher overall by MLB Network’s “The Shredder.”

This week’s edition of MLB Network Top Ten Right Now  brought us the catcher position, where a familiar face found himself in the Top Ten. Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli was ranked seventh by MLB Network’s “The Shredder.” Cervelli, who was ranked fourth last season, was injured for a majority of the 2016 campaign.

The Pirates backstop struggled in 2016 after having one of the best years of his career in 2015 hitting .264 following a 2015 campaign that saw him hit .295 and appear in 130 games. Cervelli was limited due to a hamate bone injury in his left hand which required surgery during the season. While Cervelli has never been known to have a crazy amount of power, the injury to his hand robbed him of any sort of power he might have had in 2016.

The second-year Pirate hit one triple as well as a single home run in 2016 after hitting a career high seven in 2015. Cervelli finished the season with an on-base percentage of .377 while his slugging percentage was 55 points lower at .322.

When healthy, Cervelli has proven to be one of the better catchers in the National League and the rankings this year reflect that as only Yadier Molina, Yasmani Grandal, and Buster Posey are the only National League catchers ranked above Cervelli in “the Shredder” ranking.

A healthy Cervelli will bode well for the Pirates and their young pitching staff in the 2017 season. The revolving door at the catcher position created by injuries to both Cervelli and back-up Chris Stewart limited the effectiveness of a rotation boasting Ivan Nova, Gerrit Cole, and Jameson Taillon last season. For Cervelli, staying healthy will be imperative to him having a rebound season and helping lead the Pirates to a potential playoff berth.

No Love From Actual Humans

While Cervelli topped out at seven in “the Shredder” rankings, the nine-year pro did not find himself on any of the lists compiled by an MLB Network panel consisting of MLB Network host Brian Kelly, former MLB catcher Dave Valle, baseball savant Bill James, baseball economist Vince Gennaro, and MLB.com columnist Mike Petriello.

While he failed to crack the personal top tens of the panel, James pointed to Cervelli’s lack of power as something that kept him of his list, but the catcher “annoys people.”

The panel also brought up the injury history of Cervelli in their cases about not listing him in their top ten. Aside from 2015 and 2016 when Cervelli appeared in 100 plus games, the former Yankee backstop had failed to appear in more than 50 games once (2010) when he appeared in 93 games.

Complete “Shredder” Catcher Rankings

10. Wellington Castillo
9. Salvador Perez
8. J.T. Realmuto
7. Cervelli
6. Yadier Molina
5. Russell Martin
4. Wilson Ramos
3. Yasmani Grandal
2. Jonathan Lucroy
1. Buster Posey

Image Credit – Flickr Creative Commons

Jarrod Prugar

Jarrod Prugar is 5 and a half feet tall and you can't teach that. Jarrod grew up watching future Pirates light up the Eastern League for the Altoona Curve before going off to Robert Morris for college. Jarrod also covers Penn State for the Pittsburgh Sporting News. Ban the DH!