ESPN recently completed a series of articles where they created a list of the top 500 players in MLB. They used a panel of 34 experts who assigned points in various categories to each player in order to count down from player #500 to player #1. The ratings are based on expectations for the 2012 season. A more detailed explanation of their methodology can be found at this link for their top 10 players.
MLB -- ESPN 500: Ranking top 500 Major League Baseball players of 2012 (Nos. 1-10) - ESPN
That page also includes links to the other articles in the series, which cover all 500 players.
A few observations:
- Not surprisingly, Albert Pujols came out as the #1 player in MLB, with a score of 9.62.
- The top Pirate is Andrew McCutchen, who came out at #41, with a score of 7.31.
- Paul Maholm (#347) came out higher than any Pirate starter: Morton at #361, Bedard at #379, Correia at #383, Burnett at #410. (McDonald and Karstens did not make the top 500.)
- If one adds up the total points given to all players in the NL Central, and projects final standings for 2012 based on that, the teams are ranked as follows: