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Shuffle Up: A bad month for the Brothers Weeks

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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Hey Weeks, lose my number (US Presswire)

Today's assignment: ranking the middle infielders in the Yahoo! game. If you have second base or shortstop eligibility, good health and a whit of fantasy value, you're on this list.

A few rules and disclaimers apply, of course. Assume rotisserie scoring and 5x5 categories. Players at the same dollar amount are considered even. Don't worry about the prices in a vacuum; what really matters is how the players relate to one another.

Anyone on the DL is held off the list; injured players have largely relative values and I'm not going to debate them. What's happened to this point is merely an audition: the goal here is to rank the commodities based on how I'd attack a new league that starts right now.

I reserve the right to tweak this list as the day and night goes along, and I'll add extra comments after a burrito and a margarita. And I welcome your respectful disagreement as we look for the tightest ranks possible. Win the debate, win the rank. But be sure to include logic and facts with your disagreements; bring your best skills. Respect the room, and for the love of all things holy, respect thyself.

And remember the golden rule of fantasy: a player doesn't gain 25 percent bonus value simply because he's on your roster.

Make the jump and we'll rank some ballplayers.

$31 Robinson Cano
$30 Ian Kinsler
$28 Dustin Pedroia
$28 Troy Tulowitzki
$24 Hanley Ramirez
$24 Jose Reyes
$23 Starlin Castro
$23 Michael Cuddyer
$22 Jason Kipnis
$22 Asdrubal Cabrera
$22 Ben Zobrist
$22 Michael Young
$21 Derek Jeter
$21 Kelly Johnson
$20 Elvis Andrus

It should be painfully obvious to everyone, but yes, I'd buy low on Cano (in the unlikely event that you can actually do that). The deep New york lineup presents an attractive floor, and Cano has proven to be durable in what's a high-attrition positon. … If I knew for sure Kinsler could last for 150 games, I might have him at the top of this list. If you want to rank him No. 1, I won't argue with you. … Reyes started running over the last week or so, which saves his slot for now. … Okay, maybe that Andrus-Aviles deal wasn't in my best interest. But if I can't have Andrus, I'm glad my good friend Andy Behrens gets to enjoy him.

$19 Howie Kendrick
$19 Brandon Phillips
$18 Dan Uggla
$17 Jimmy Rollins
$16 Allen Craig
$15 Mike Aviles
$15 Jose Altuve
$14 Rafael Furcal
$13 Jed Lowrie
$13 Rickie Weeks
$12 Kyle Seager
$12 J.J. Hardy
$12 Omar Infante
$12 Emilio Bonifacio
$12 Dee Gordon
$12 Aaron Hill

I've been thinking all week about the Rickie Weeks ranking, and I'm not going to make any adjustment to it. This is where I'm comfortable pricing him. Yes, I would deal him for Lowrie or Furcal or Altuve (or anyone above him on this list), in a second. If you disagree, that's fine: that's why we have a game in the first place.

Sure, some of the bad-luck stats defend Weeks: that .216 BABIP jumps out at you. But Weeks isn't helping matters with his puny 11.7 line-drive rate (that's terrible) and a mild push in his fly-ball rate (balls in the air are less likely to be hits). And his strikeout rate is completely out of control, swelling to 28 percent.

But there's a second part to my Weeks pessimism: I started to ask myself, "Why is this guy so coveted in the first place?" He's always had decent pop, so that's part of the attraction, fine. But a career .252 average doesn't help, you, and he's become less and less of a factor on the bases in recent years (nine steals last year, 11 the previous season, just two in an abbreviated 2009). And then there's the injury risk you take on with Weeks: he's managed one full season since he made it to the majors for good in the middle of 2005. I'm not going to argue that every injury is something you can blame on Weeks, but I know two things: he plays a position that's all about collisions, and he gets hit by a lot of pitches every season because he crowds the plate. Some guys have a way of finding bad luck.

As for Gordon, he isn't doing much other than stealing bases in 2012 (12 swipes in 17 attempts); this is a one-trick pony all the way. A modest 14 runs won't move the needle, he's never going to be a power guy, and his spotty defense (nine errors) might eventually force the Dodgers to consider a change at the position. I do expect the club to try to be patient with Baby Flash, but when you carry a .218/.258/.282 batting line and you're not a plus defender, you're not working with an infinite leash. His high-strikeout, low-walk profile also presents a problem in the leadoff spot.

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Kid at Play (USP)

$11 Alcides Escobar
$11 Dustin Ackley
$11 Neil Walker
$10 Ian Desmond
$9 Jemile Weeks
$8 Jhonny Peralta
$7 Zack Cozart
$7 Erick Aybar
$6 Daniel Murphy
$6 Alexei Ramirez
$4 Yunel Escobar
$3 Robert Andino
$3 Tyler Greene

Say this for the A's, they've been patient with Kid Weeks: he's batted leadoff in every start this year. And at least he's still walking (11 free passes) and running (seven bags in nine attempts), with a couple of homers thrown in. Don't blame the home park: the OPS drops 191 points on the road through the first 20 percent of the year. A lot of the secondary numbers for Weeks are similar to what he showed last year: no major change in his contact rate, walk rate or line-drive rate. Mash it all together and there's a possible buy-low angle here.

It's nice that Cozart is hitting first or second nightly, but it hasn't padded his running totals (just one steal). Right now he's just a three-category player at best. … I'd bump Peralta a dollar or two if he'd spell his first name right. … Ramirez has never been a category juice guy, but he was chased in a lot of my mono or deep mixers this year, for reasons I haven't figured out. … Murphy is another player who gives you solid average, but little category juice.

$2 Mark Ellis
$2 Danny Espinosa
$2 Ryan Roberts
$2 Alexi Casilla
$2 Ruben Tejada
$2 Chris Getz
$2 Marco Scutaro
$2 Cliff Pennington
$2 Sean Rodriguez
$2 Maicer Izturis
$2 Gordon Beckham
$2 Eduardo Nunez
$1 Cody Ransom
$1 Tyler Pastornicky
$1 Darwin Barney
$1 Ryan Raburn
$1 Jeff Keppinger
$1 Brandon Inge
$1 Willie Bloomquist
$1 Skip Schumaker
$0 Brendan Ryan
$0 Juan Uribe
$0 Clint Barmes
$0 Ryan Theriot

Mmmm, burrito. I will return in a couple of hours. The floor is yours.

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