Middle infield Fantasy Baseball values: Shuffle Up starts in Houston

Roto Arcade
Keep your focus when the bidding gets to Houston overlord Jose Altuve (AP/Jeff Roberson)
Keep your focus when the bidding gets to Houston overlord Jose Altuve (AP/Jeff Roberson)

We roll along in the Shuffle Up series.

You’ll have to season the prices to taste. The numbers don’t matter in a vacuum; what matters is how the player prices relate to one another. Assume a 5×5 scoring system, as always. Everyone listed here has middle infield eligibility in the Yahoo game entering 2018. Players at the same cost are considered even.

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Have some disagreements? Have some major disagreements? That’s good! That’s why we have a game. I welcome your respectful disagreement anytime: @scott_pianowski on Twitter.

Game on. More Shuffles are coming in the next few days.

$45 Jose Altuve
$42 Carlos Correa
$42 Trea Turner
$40 Francisco Lindor
$37 Anthony Rizzo
$33 Brian Dozier
$31 Jose Ramirez
$28 Corey Seager
$27 Alex Bregman
$24 Dee Gordon
$24 Xander Bogaerts

Altuve has morphed from a player who rarely walks to a player that walks some of the time. Fantasy owners shouldn’t care either way; he’s a career .316 batter, and that average goes further if he’s not going to chew up plate appearances with a bunch of walks. If pitchers had a path to getting Altuve out, it would be known by now . . . I’m giving Bogaerts a pass for last year; his stats collapsed after Jake Faria plunked him in the middle of the season. Bogaerts is in a loaded lineup, a friendly park, and getting ready for his age-25 season. The 2016 stats could easily return and you don’t have to pay full freight on them . . . Steals have become rarer in the current game, which makes them less important for fantasy purposes, not more important. I am not going to prioritize the Gordons and Billy Hamiltons of the world. I don’t want to fall far behind in the power categories. We can find steals on a budget.

$22 Jonathan Schoop
$22 Elvis Andrus
$21 Robinson Cano
$16 Jason Kipnis
$16 Matt Carpenter
$16 Trevor Story
$15 Jean Segura
$15 Whit Merrifield
$14 Javier Baez
$12 D.J. LeMahieu
$12 Didi Gregorius
$12 Ian Kinsler
$12 Marwin Gonzalez
$12 Orlando Arcia
$12 Rougned Odor
$11 Chris Taylor
$11 Eduardo Nunez
$11 Tim Anderson
$11 Yoan Moncada
$10 Andrelton Simmons
$10 Ian Happ
$10 Jonathan Villar
$10 Ozzie Albies
$10 Starlin Castro

Anderson comes at a common discount in SABR-friendly leagues, where his hacking is usually seen as a major red flag. But his average has been acceptable in two years despite the funky approach, and his category juice is bankable. The one thing that keeps his price down on my sheet is the ordinary batting slot, especially with Moncada expected to bat leadoff. That sort of thing is fluid, of course . . . Kinsler’s per-game haul looks pretty snappy until you see the depressed batting average. But we’re talking about a career .273 man, and it’s doubtful he’ll have a .244 BABIP again. He’s in Ibanez All-Star territory, the boring, value vet. I’m always up for a few of those . . . I already have some Carpenter shares and maybe it’s bordering on a Carpenter problem. His back isn’t 100 percent and I hate to draft into physical problems unless I’m given a strong incentive to do so. But then I consider all the positions he covers, the No. 3 slot in a deep Cardinals lineup, and how likely a .270-85-20-85 season could be if he simply stays on the field. And his upside is considerably higher than that. Maybe I’m breaking all my injury optimism rules, you tell me.

$9 Jedd Gyorko
$9 Josh Harrison
$9 Paul DeJong
$9 Scooter Gennett
$8 Addison Russell
$8 Cesar Hernandez
$8 Eduardo Escobar
$8 Tim Beckham
$8 Zack Cozart
$7 Brandon Crawford
$7 Freddy Galvis
$7 Joe Panik
$7 Jose Peraza
$7 Marcus Semien
$6 Neil Walker
$6 Yangervis Solarte

Galvis is another hacker with playable category juice. Petco isn’t a positive, but it’s not as penal as it used to be . . . The Jays probably need a shortstop, but Solarte’s glove doesn’t really play there. He’s a useful bat, though . . . Hard to take Beckham’s breakout at face value, but heck, he was the No. 1 pick of his class and he’s still just 28. Last year wasn’t a Camden sham, he had a higher OPS on the road.

$5 Asdrubal Cabrera
$4 Jed Lowrie
$4 Jose Reyes
$4 Kolten Wong
$4 Wilmer Flores
$3 Brad Miller
$3 Derek Dietrich
$3 Ketel Marte
$3 Scott Kingery
$2 Abalberto Mondesi
$2 Amed Rosario
$2 Ben Zobrist
$2 Chris Owings
$2 Dansby Swanson
$2 Devon Travis
$2 Kolten Wong
$2 Logan Forsythe
$1 Hernan Perez
$1 J.P. Crawford

I am ranking some injured guys and one suspended player here, at the bottom. The prices on injured guys is so league-specific and variable, it’s almost pointless to include them. But someone will always ask, so here you go. I’m not going to debate anyone below this line.

$19 *Daniel Murphy
$5 *Dustin Pedroia
$4 *Jorge Polanco
-$1 *Troy Tulowitzki

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