Sunday, September 24 2023

We’re rolling along with the Shuffle Up series for fantasy baseball, the in-season version. What you see below is how I would arrange the outfielders if I were entering a new draft today. Use it to evaluate your team, consider pickups and drops, grade trade offers — it’s up to you.

My salaries are unscientific in nature, meant primarily to show how I rank the players and, more specifically, where the clusters of talent are. Your list will look different, of course. That’s why we have a game.

I did not price anyone on the injured list; I’m no doctor, and the level of injury optimism is highly variable from fantasy manager to fantasy manager.

Three weeks ago, we shuffled the catchers. After that, we hit the corner infielders and the middle infielders. Starting pitchers come next week.

Dig in.

The Big Tickets

$47 Ronald Acuña Jr.

$42 Aaron Judge

$41 Yordan Álvarez

$37 Julio Rodríguez

$37 Mookie Betts

$37 Corbin Carroll

$36 Fernando Tatís Jr.

$34 Bryce Harper

Acuña’s stunning .413 slugging last year can be explained simply — he was playing hurt. His slugging is back to expected levels, and he’s rocking the best average and OBP of his young career. Acuña is also running aggressively and smartly (22-for-25), which makes him an absurd fantasy player. The banked value gap between Acuña and No. 2 hitter Freddie Freeman is the same as the gap between Freeman and No. 15 batter, Cedric Mullins. Bluntly put, Ronald Acuña is unfair.


Strikeouts are up slightly with Alvarez, but his batted-ball profile remains a light show, lots of red sliders pinned to the red. He’s crushing left-handed pitching this year, yet his OPS is virtually identical against righties and lefties for his career. He’s probably the most destructive hitter in baseball.

Legitimate Building Blocks

$33 Randy Arozarena

$31 Cedric Mullins

$30 Adolis García

$30 Josh Lowe

$29 Mike Trout

$28 Kyle Tucker

$28 Bryan Reynolds

$28 Jorge Soler

$26 Juan Soto

$25 Esteury Ruiz

$22 Luis Robert Jr.

$21 Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

$21 Eloy Jiménez

$20 Christian Yelich

$18 Jarred Kelenic

Garcia is third in banked 5×5 outfield value, shocking when you consider he’s shut down the running game and the average is still a drag. That said, the buoyancy of the Texas offense takes us to glorious places; Garcia is on pace to score 128 runs and drive in 150. No one expects him to get near those numbers, but Texas could be a Top 5 offense all year . . . It’s a shame Soler doesn’t have more running mates in the Miami offense; his 17 homers have produced just 35 runs. His expected metrics are even better than his back-of-card stats (he’s 10 points unlucky in average, 41 points unlucky in slugging). I give Soler more than a puncher’s chance to lead the majors in home runs . . . With a rueful sigh, we accept that Trout is on the back nine of his career. He’s never going to be less than a star, sure. But his average is merely good-not-great these days, he stopped running after 2019 and the Angels offense has a lot of holes around him. Trout also hasn’t made it past 140 games since 2016. He’s welcome on any roster, but he shouldn’t be your best hitter.


Gurriel’s lack of slugging last year was explained after the season, when we learned his wrist wasn’t right. Life only makes sense looking backward, but must be lived forward. The Diamondbacks might have fleeced the Blue Jays in the Daulton Varsho trade, landing Gurriel and emerging star Gabriel Moreno. Meanwhile, Varsho is off to a .211/.277/.372 start in the YYZ.

Talk Them Up, Talk Them Down

$17 Lane Thomas

$16 Nick Castellanos

$16 George Springer

$16 Masataka Yoshida

$15 Alex Verdugo

$15 Whit Merrifield

$15 Byron Buxton

$15 Tommy Edman

$15 Seiya Suzuki

$14 Kyle Schwarber

$14 Brandon Nimmo

$14 Austin Hays

$14 Harrison Bader

$13 Michael Harris

$13 Hunter Renfroe

$13 Michael Conforto

$13 Riley Greene

$12 Teoscar Hernández

$11 Christopher Morel

$11 Ian Happ

$11 Kris Bryant

$11 Jack Suwinski

$11 Zach McKinstry

Thomas has a solid 114 OPS+ since joining the Nationals, basically making him 14 percent better than a league-average offensive player. He was useful as the leadoff man late last year, and he’s owned the No. 1 spot this year, posting a .309/.363/.529 slash there over 29 games. He’s underrated . . . Bader’s glove will keep him in the lineup, and his category juice makes him an easy fantasy play. And even if that current average isn’t real, he probably won’t crater in that category. The Yankees stole a useful player . . . Hays is an underrated player for two reasons — he’s a little lost in the shuffle amidst all of Baltimore’s young stars, and his two best fantasy categories are unsexy ones, batting average and runs scored. I love quietly productive players like this, because the market constantly misjudges them.


McKinstry’s production doesn’t match his career profile at all, but he works the count and draws walks, he wants to run aggressively and the Tigers love him at the top of the lineup. McKinstry also covers four positions in Yahoo leagues. I love versatile rovers like this; I love playing positionless fantasy baseball whenever possible. Give me a team of Legos.

Some Plausible Upside

$10 Starling Marte

$10 Brent Rooker

$10 Adam Frazier

$9 Ji-Hwan Bae

$8 LaMonte Wade

$8 Alex Kirilloff

$7 Anthony Santander

$7 Andrew Vaughn

$7 Jeff McNeil

$7 Joey Meneses

$7 Orlando Arcia

$7 Marcell Ozuna

$7 Josh Naylor

$7 Andrew Benintendi

$7 Mitch Haniger

$7 Jake Fraley

$7 Leody Taveras

$6 Lars Nootbaar

$6 Amed Rosario

$6 Harold Ramirez

$6 Bryan De La Cruz

$6 Mickey Moniak

$6 Mauricio Dubón

Wade’s value is especially sensitive to your league format; he’s less fun in weekly leagues where the platoon sits will eat you up, but a weapon to deploy if you have bi-weekly or daily moves. He’s parked at the top of the lineup when the Giants face a righty, and an OBP machine . . . I wasn’t sure if Marte’s speed would carry into an age-34 season; that hasn’t been the problem. A lack of power has been worrisome, though. You’d rather be a year early than a year late on this type of player.


If Taveras had a better lineup spot, I’d consider him a tier higher. Any ticket to Texas is interesting to me. But you lose so many plate appearances when you’re stuck in the ninth spot, and obviously, the Rangers are never moving Marcus Semien or Corey Seager.

Bargain Bin

$5 Daulton Varsho

$5 Steven Kwan

$5 Patrick Wisdom

$5 Charlie Blackmon

$5 Andrew McCutchen

$5 Jarren Duran

$5 Brandon Marsh

$5 Akil Baddoo

$4 James Outman

$4 Brian Anderson

$4 Seth Brown

$4 Willi Castro

$4 Jose Siri

$4 Nick Senzel

$4 Luke Raley

$4 Jurickson Profar

$3 Robbie Grossman

$3 Taylor Ward

$3 Jake McCarthy

$3 Brendan Donovan

$3 Jon Berti

$3 Joey Gallo

$3 Ramón Laureano

$3 T.J. Friedl

$3 Kiké Hernandez

$3 Mike Yastrzemski

$2 Myles Straw

$2 Kevin Kiermaier

$2 Randal Grichuk

$2 Chas McCormick

$2 Manuel Margot

$2 Chris Taylor

$2 Nick Pratto

$1 Connor Joe

$1 Trey Mancini

$1 Mark Canha

$1 Nolan Jones

$1 Oswaldo Cabrera

$1 Trent Grisham

$1 Oscar Colas

$1 Brenton Doyle

$1 Rougned Odor

$1 Ryan Noda

$1 Max Kepler

$1 Aledmys Díaz

$1 Eddie Rosario

$1 Joey Wiemer

$1 Oscar Gonzalez

$1 Corey Julks

$1 Gavin Sheets

$1 Michael Taylor

$1 Edward Olivares

$1 Jake Meyers

$1 Pavin Smith

$1 Alex Call

$1 Travis Jankowski

Currently Injured, Not Eligible For Ranking

NR Jazz Chisholm Jr.

NR Thairo Estrada

NR Giancarlo Stanton

NR Cody Bellinger

NR Adam Duvall

NR Tyler O’Neill

NR Victor Robles

NR Christian Arroyo

NR Dylan Carlson

NR Joc Pederson

NR Trevor Larnach

NR Jesús Sánchez

NR Nick Gordon

NR Wil Myers

NR Garrett Mitchell

NR Kerry Carpenter

NR Kyle Isbel

NR Avisail Garcia

Source: Yahoo Sports


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