Shuffle Up: Corner infield prices, rest of season

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It could be a career year for Fab Five Freddie (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
It could be a career year for Fab Five Freddie (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Time to kick off the Shuffle Up series, in-season.

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 corner infield eligibility in the Yahoo game at the current time. Players at the same cost are considered even.

I courtesy-ranked the injured players at the bottom, but I’m not going to debate those guys. I generally expect less from injury comebacks than most. (When is Andrew Luck going to make that 2017 debut?) And the value of an injury player is especially variable from league to league, given injury rules and DL specs.

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.

$35 Nolan Arenado
$33 Manny Machado
$32 Freddie Freeman
$31 Jose Ramirez
$31 Paul Goldschmidt
$30 Kris Bryant
$30 Joey Votto

Freeman has been a star for most of his pro career, but he might be ready for an MVP run at age 28. His walks are even with his strikeouts, he leads the league in doubles, his OPS+ is a career-best 174 (100 is average), and the lineup in front of Freeman has never been better. All he needs is a boost of power and a little luck with the injuries; fluky things have limited him to two full seasons out of four, after four previous campaigns that were basically worry free.

$26 Anthony Rizzo
$26 Josh Donaldson
$23 Jose Abreu
$23 Edwin Encarnacion
$22 Javier Baez
$21 Rhys Hoskins
$19 Mike Moustakas
$18 Rafael Devers
$18 Cody Bellinger
$17 Alex Bregman
$16 Joey Gallo
$15 Justin Smoak
$15 Hanley Ramirez

Moustakas lost a lot of money playing free-agent bingo; first he rejected a qualifying offer from the Royals, then he discovered the market didn’t value him much, for some curious reason. Moose should have far less trouble getting paid next winter as he’s stepped things up from his 2017 breakout. All the slash lines are up, and a paltry 11.8 percent strikeout rate is absurd for someone offering this much power. He’s not going to win a Gold Glove at third, but he’s adequate. Perhaps the Royals will consider a Moustakas trade when the dealing season hits in the mid-summer . . . Baez is on this list because he has corner eligibility in some Yahoo formats, despite not having the 1B or 3B tag yet. The Cubs have stopped jerking him around, and he’s shown major improvement with his strikeout rate and hard-hit metrics. He’s also at a perfect age and experience level for a career spike to occur . . . Hoskins has mostly validated last year’s 50-game smash, though a .391 BABIP is hard to take at face value. But he knows how to work his at-bats — career 18.1 percent walk rate, tied to a 23.7 percent strikeout rate that won’t crush you. His hard contact is down for the opening five weeks, but he’s using the opposite field a lot more often.

$14 Yangervis Solarte
$14 Asdrubal Cabrera
$14 Brandon Belt
$14 Nick Castellanos
$14 Ryan Braun
$13 Evan Longoria
$12 Maikel Franco
$12 Eduardo Escobar
$12 Travis Shaw
$12 Jose Martinez
$12 Eric Hosmer
$12 Marwin Gonzalez
$11 Matt Carpenter
$11 Matt Davidson
$11 C.J. Cron
$11 Eugenio Suarez
$11 Yonder Alonso
$11 Kyle Seager
$11 Justin Bour

Solarte’s glove is just playable enough to justify a number of slots on the field, and the Jays sure need him. He’s showing modest gains in some key areas — pulling the ball more, a bump in line drives, less ground balls, a 4.8-percent bounce in walks. His strikeouts have also risen a spec, but a 14.7 whiff rate is nothing in today’s game. This should be the year Solarte plays a full season and finally hits the 22-25 home runs he’s always been capable of.

$10 Christian Villanueva
$10 Todd Frazier
$10 Ryan Zimmerman
$10 Carlos Santana
$9 Zack Cozart
$8 Eduardo Nunez
$8 Josh Bell
$7 Matt Adams
$7 Albert Pujols
$7 Ian Desmond
$7 Scott Kingery
$7 Jay Bruce
$7 Yulieski Gurriel
$6 Matt Chapman
$6 Mitch Moreland
$6 Logan Morrison
$6 Scooter Gennett
$6 Matt Olson
$6 Ryon Healy

Moreland is lovely if the Red Sox have a bunch of right-handed opponents coming — he slashes .340/.404/.680 against them and takes up valuable real estate in the lineup. His OPS drops to .646 against southpaws, and often he’s not even playing against them. We live in a right-handed world, so keep dialing up Moreland in DSF lineups and in leagues where daily transactions are allowed. He’s less fun in a weekly-lineup context . . . If I knew Adams had a job to call his own, I’d immediately bump him into the $11-13 range.

$5 Trey Mancini
$5 Daniel Robertson
$5 Colin Moran
$4 Jeimer Candelario
$4 Miguel Andujar
$4 Luis Valbuena
$4 Brad Miller
$4 Lucas Duda
$4 Jedd Gyorko
$3 Jesus Aguilar
$3 Yolmer Sanchez
$3 Joe Mauer
$3 Matt Duffy
$3 Derek Dietrich
$3 Chris Davis
$3 Jose Bautista
$2 Ryan Flaherty
$2 Brian Anderson
$2 Adrian Gonzalez
$2 Miguel Rojas
$2 Kike Hernandez
$2 Kendrys Morales
$2 Tyler Austin
$1 Wilmer Difo
$1 Chase Utley
$1 Daniel Descalso
$1 David Freese
$1 Cheslor Cuthbert
$1 Johan Camargo
$1 Ryan McMahon
$1 Wilmer Flores
$1 Hernan Perez

Injured Players – Not for debate
$23 *Anthony Rendon
$17 *Miguel Sano
$15 *Wil Myers
$14 *Justin Turner
$13 *Adrian Beltre
$11 *Miguel Cabrera
$11 *Jake Lamb
$7 *Eric Thames
$6 *Tim Beckham
$4 *Josh Harrison
$1 *Steve Pearce

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