Corner Infield Shuffle Up: Cody Bellinger marks his territory

Time to start the Shuffle Up series; the opening assignment is the corners, the players with first base or third base eligibility in Yahoo.

You’ll have to season the draft salaries to taste. The numbers don’t matter in a vacuum; what matters is how the salaries relate to one another. Assume a 5×5 scoring system, as always. Players at the same draft cost are considered even.

The salaries are more my gut feel on a player and not necessarily part of a formula or overall bankroll structure. As the great Gene McCaffrey might say, “They’re not bids, they’re bets.”

(It sounds better when Gene says it.)

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I ignored anyone with catcher eligibility because you’d rarely use them at a corner. We’ll shuffle the catchers on a different day. The headers that separate the groupings? Don’t sweat those too much. I just like to keep the editors happy.

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.

Remember the golden rule: No player takes on extra (or less) draft value simply because you roster him.

The Top Shelf

$42 Cody Bellinger

$39 Nolan Arenado

$38 Alex Bregman

$36 Jose Ramirez

$35 Freddie Freeman

$34 Anthony Rendon

Bellinger would be a first-round pick on his four primary categories, but his willingness to run some of the time makes him viable at any slot. The Dodgers also have the National League’s deepest lineup . . . I see the Arenado trade talk as overblown, and his durability and consistency park him in my first round . . . The Statcast data doesn’t validate Bregman’s power pop, and then there’s that other elephant in the Astros clubhouse. But Bregman was a legitimate stud long before he got to Houston. He’s a gift in the second round . . . Surrounded by perfect pieces, maybe Freeman is finally ready for a deep MVP run. His statcast page has highlighted data all over the place.

Cody Bellinger is a no-frills first-round pick. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Legitimate Building Blocks

$32 Rafael Devers

$30 Pete Alonso

$29 Kris Bryant

$28 Anthony Rizzo

$26 Paul Goldschmidt

$25 Manny Machado

$25 Yoan Moncada

$24 Matt Olson

$23 Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

$23 *Nelson Cruz

$22 Jose Abreu

$22 Matt Chapman

Cruz is obviously utility-only, but we had to put him in some position. Not only is he aging gracefully, he just had the best OPS+ of his career . . . Moncada’s lofty BABIP will worry some people, but he has the type of profile to support a hit rate far above the league average. Chicago’s lineup looks like a blast, a collection of young offensive players with versatile skillsets. I will pick from this pool often . . . Machado cases are portable on both sides. He doesn’t run much anymore. He couldn’t get out of his own way in San Diego; maybe the park psyched him out. Are we too cynical to note his best OPS+ year came pre-contract, and one of his worst came post-contract? He’s not someone I’m likely to fight over . . .

Obviously Mookie Betts is a major loss for the Red Sox, but Fenway is an offensive player’s best friend (almost no foul territory; great batting eye) and most of the key hitters are in favorable age pockets. Boston probably won’t be a playoff team, not with that pitching staff, but this should easily be a plus offense . . . I’ll be in on Baby Vlad when bidders stop pricing in significant improvement. Last year, he commonly went after Anthony Rendon, a gross mistake. This year, he’s about even with Paul Goldschmidt’s consistent resume. I still want a piece of the Toronto Top 4, but the other Legacy Kids are far more budget-friendly.

Flexible, or something else fairly sellable

$21 *Eugenio Suarez

$21 Josh Bell

$21 Josh Donaldson

$20 Max Muncy

$19 DJ LeMahieu

$19 Mike Moustakas

$18 Jeff McNeil

$18 Rhys Hoskins

$17 Trey Mancini

$17 *Kris Davis

$16 Eduardo Escobar

Like Cruz, Davis is utility-only to start the year. I’m willing to give Davis a major pass for 2019; he was hurt most of the year. The uber-consistent power source from the prior years could easily reappear . . . Suarez is just about impossible to rank until we get some solid intel on his shoulder. I’ll probably let him be someone else’s worry . . . It was odd to see Moustakas struggle in Milwaukee last year, a park that perfectly fit his profile. The defensive switch didn’t seem to bother him. A nice value signing for Cincinnati . . . LeMahieu is a fun pick in best-ball formats because he literally covers all the bases; first, second, and third. And at this draft price, we don’t have to take his outrageous career year at face value; he can regress a fair amount and still justify the slot. It’s a good reminder that Colorado hitters don’t become the nightmare of their road stats when they join a different team.

More of a corner than static option

$14 Carlos Santana

$14 Miguel Sano

$11 Justin Turner

$11 Edwin Encarnacion

$10 Yuli Gurriel

$10 Danny Santana

$10 J.D. Davis

$9 Christian Walker

$9 Gio Urshela

$8 Hunter Dozier

$8 Scott Kingery

$8 Tommy Edman

$8 Eric Hosmer

$8 Daniel Murphy

If I knew for sure the Mets wouldn’t mess around with Davis, I’d push him into the teens . . . The new metrics like Urshela, saying he earned a .294 average and .505 slugging last year. He might have to move up in the lineup as the Yankees deal with several big-name injury issues . . . Maybe Kingery knew what he was doing when he bought out his no-leverage years. I also think his offense could pop if the Phillies would let him own one single position. Joe Girardi should be a dugout improvement from Gabe Kapler . . . I’ll admit the Danny Santana number feels like a copout; he’s easy to buy as a teens player, and it’s also plausible to see him totally pumpkin and be cut, en masse, before summer hits. And we have to assume the Texas park will be close to neutral, after a few years of being a reliable American League giveaway.

Plausible upside (maybe) for your bench

$7 Brandon Lowe

$7 Luke Voit

$7 C.J. Cron

$5 Brian Anderson

$5 Ryan McMahon

$5 Joey Votto

$5 Wil Myers

$5 Starlin Castro

$5 Matt Carpenter

$5 Ian Happ

$5 *Shohei Ohtani

$4 Joc Pederson

$4 Miguel Andujar

$4 Mark Canha

$4 Yandy Diaz

$4 Michael Chavis

$4 Niko Goodrum

$4 Justin Smoak

$4 Jesus Aguilar

$3 Nick Solak

$3 Renato Nunez

$3 Tommy La Stella

$3 Luis Arraez

$3 Miguel Cabrera

$3 Evan Longoria

$3 Jon Berti

$3 Brandon Belt

$3 Howie Kendrick

[Yahoo Rankings: Overall | C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP]

Most of these players have a selling point but an obvious cost-deflating point; for many of them, the latter thing is playing time . . . Belt’s career could have been delicious if he wasn’t stuck in that gorgeous, but run-deflating, park . . . Goodrum brings versatility and category juice, and the Tigers won’t be able to bench him. But there’s unquestionable batting-average risk there . . . Joe Maddon was never in a hurry to use La Stella in Chicago, so I don’t imagine things will be much different now. Plus Maddon isn’t happy unless he’s putting his personal stamp on every lineup card. Even if La Stella keeps a fair amount of last year’s gains, he’s likely to be a frustrating piece of fantasy maintenance.

Bargain Bin

$2 Austin Riley

$2 Nate Lowe

$2 Eric Thames

$2 Ji-Man Choi

$2 Asdrubal Cabrera

$2 Todd Frazier

$2 Mitch Moreland

$2 Ian Desmond

$1 Kyle Seager

$1 Travis Shaw

$1 Hanser Alberto

$1 David Fletcher

$1 Colin Moran

$1 Garrett Cooper

$1 Marwin Gonzalez

$0 Jose Martinez

$0 Maikel Franco

$0 Evan White

$0 Yoshi Tsutsugo

$0 Daniel Vogelbach

$0 Albert Pujols

$0 Rowdy Tellez

$0 Wilmer Flores

$0 Jeimer Candelario

$0 Ryan O'Hearn

Previous Episodes

• Middle Infield Shuffle Up

• Starting Pitcher Shuffle Up

• Catcher Shuffle Up

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