While some prefer not to make a correlation between fantasy stats and the on field performance of the team, the numbers provide a telling case of where the Pirates are, and are not, performing.
Based on ESPN's standard fantasy scoring system, here are the top performing Pirates players through May 12.
1. Andrew McCutchen | Outfielder Rank: 5 | Total Points: 113 | Average per Appearance: 3.1
Not much of a surprise here. McCutchen has been the Pirates best player all season, save maybe the first week. Last season's National League MVP has been maintaining an average around .320 while having an OPS in excess of .900. Only Charlie Blackmon, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Bautista and Michael Brantley have had better starts to the season from an outfield position.
2. Neil Walker | Second Baseman Rank: 6 | Total Points: 102 | Average per Appearance: 2.8
Walker's early season power surge has landed him high up on the list of valuable fantasy Pirates. Walker's 102 total points are tied for sixth-best, although he is separated from second-place Howie Kendrick by just four points.
3. Gerrit Cole | Starting Pitcher Rank: 54 | Total Points: 88 | Average per Appearance: 12.6
The Pirates don't have a starting pitcher ranked until 54, a sign of the rotation's early season struggles. Cole's respectable early season-numbers have him in the middle-tier of fantasy starters. He is surrounded by pitchers such as Yovani Gallardo, Alfredo Simon, Andrew Cashner and Shelby Miller.
4. Pedro Alvarez | Third Baseman Rank: 5 Total Points: 86 | Average per Appearance: 2.3
Through all of Pedro's inconsistency, he has managed to knock out eight and drive in 24, launching him into the upper-echelon of fantasy third baseman, a thin position. He is behind guys like Miguel Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Nolan Arenado and Josh Donaldson while he has scored more points than Evan Longoria and Matt Carpenter.
5. Ike Davis | First Baseman Rank: 22 | Total Points: 69 | Average per Appearance: 1.9
While Davis has heated up at the dish as of late, his early season struggles pull his numbers down with other early season first base strugglers, such as Carlos Santana, Nick Swisher and Allen Craig.
6. Mark Melancon | Relief Pitcher Rank: 24 | Total Points: 66 | Average per Appearance: 3.7
Melancon has only recently taken over the closer's role for the injured Jason Grilli, and has not had enough save opportunities in the early going to rise up the rankings. His 1.50 ERA, however, is looking quite nice.
7. Tony Watson | Relief Pitcher Rank: 27 | Total Points: 64 | Average per Appearance: 3.8
Watson has been one of the finest performing non-closing relief pitchers in the game, and his three wins help bump him into the top 30 relievers.
8. Charlie Morton | Starting Pitcher Rank: 93 | Total Points: 57 | Average per Appearance: 7.1
Morton's numbers are a bit misleading, as he could be much higher with added run support in a few of his starts. Nevertheless, he is sharing space with fellow starting pitchers Drew Smyly, Edwin Jackson, Matt Garza and Bud Norris.Tags: Baseball, MLB, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Pirates