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Shuffle Up: Carlos Gomez, the real deal

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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Affordable CarGo makes the leap (USAT)

When it comes to fake baseball, the outfield is where the fun is. The first couple of rounds will always include some of these stat-grabbing giants, and yet the waiver wire in an average mixer consistently offers something for the discerning shopper. Add it all up and there's a lot to digest.

The prices you see in this piece are roughly how I rank the roto-eligible outfielders going forward. What we've seen to this point is merely an audition; if you want a list of the top players to this point, there are plenty of places you can access that.

Don't obsess over the prices in a vacuum: what really matters is how the players relate to one another. Assume a 5x5 scoring format, as always, and players at the same price are considered even. I'll add comments as the evening goes along, and I reserve the right to edit this list in that period. Your intelligent and respectful disagreement is forever welcome in the comments; win the debate, win the rank. (Before you start your audit, remember the golden rule: a player doesn't gain 15-20 percent of bonus value simply because you roster him.)

As for the injured players, they're on this list but at the bottom - those are the courtesy rankings that we've added to the Shuffle Up series this year. I'm not going to debate the prices on hurt guys - if you feel it's all sunshine and lollipops for someone's injury rehab, that's fine. I'm generally more pessimistic when it comes to long-term injuries, but hey, it's a game of opinions.

Make the jump, see what you think.

$32 Ryan Braun
$31 Mike Trout
$30 Justin Upton
$30 Carlos Gonzalez
$29 Bryce Harper
$28 Andrew McCutchen
$27 Adam Jones
$24 Jacoby Ellsbury
$24 Matt Kemp

If there's a reason to feel good about Kemp right now, it's completely escaping me. He was a mild disappointment in the second half of 2012 (.280/.331/.461, 11 homers, seven steals), in part due to hamstring and shoulder problems. He had shoulder surgery in the offseason. Every indicator through the opening six weeks is pointing in the wrong direction: walks down, strikeouts up, slugging percentage nonexistent, contact down. And it's not like the lineup around Kemp is pushing the counting stats: the Dodgers are 28th in the majors in runs. If I were a Kemp owner (and I'm glad I'm not), I'd look to shop him the moment consumer confidence began to rebound.

Trout's current pace is headed for this: .281-95-24-105-24. I don't want to hear anything from the Regression Police; Trout's come down from 2012 (to this point) but those are terrific numbers. And I'll be stunned if Trout doesn't eventually kick up the running game again. The upside can be debated here, but the floor was always very safe.

$23 Allen Craig
$23 Yoenis Cespedes
$23 Jose Bautista
$22 Carlos Gomez
$22 Shin-Soo Choo
$22 Alex Rios
$22 Matt Holliday
$21 Josh Hamilton
$21 Chris Davis
$21 Jay Bruce
$20 Alex Gordon
$20 Mark Trumbo
$20 Austin Jackson
$20 Ben Zobrist
$20 Starling Marte
$18 Hunter Pence
$18 Dexter Fowler
$18 Carl Crawford
$18 Martin Prado
$18 Nelson Cruz

The Gomez breakout really began in the middle of 2012. He was one of fantasy's stars in the second half of the year, totaling 14 homers and 26 steals (on 29 attempts) over his last 75 games. He graded out as the No. 4 roto outfielder in the second half, trailing only Trout, Braun and Cespedes. You can say "arbitrary endpoints" all you like, but it's amazing what a player can do when he hits the (theoretical) peak age and his team stops jerking him around.

I recognize Gomez doesn't walk much and no one thinks he'll stay for a plus average going forward, let alone that shiny .386 number. The insane .447 BABIP is obviously unsustainable. That said, Gomez's category juice is very real and his dynamite fielding will keep him on the field no matter what. When I see Affordable Cargo ranked behind Nick Swisher or Josh Willingham on some other ranking lists, I want to start chucking things at the computer screen. This is what player growth looks like. Forget the player who drove you crazy a few years back.

$17 Michael Cuddyer
$17 Carlos Beltran
$17 Desmond Jennings
$17 Todd Frazier
$17 Michael Morse
$16 Josh Willingham
$16 Adrian Gonzalez
$16 B.J. Upton
$15 Torii Hunter
$14 Angel Pagan
$14 Matt Carpenter
$14 Michael Saunders

All you can really do with Bossman Upton is hold, hope he goes on one of his notorious hot streaks. I can't imagine he's sellable now unless you take a monumental loss. If you have traded for (or away from) Upton in the last week, share your story in the comments.

$13 Nate McLouth
$13 Shane Victorino
$13 Alejandro De Aza
$13 Norichika Aoki
$13 Nick Swisher
$13 Melky Cabrera
$12 Kelly Johnson
$12 Brett Gardner
$12 Garrett Jones
$12 Alfonso Soriano
$11 Brandon Moss
$11 Lorenzo Cain
$11 Domonic Brown
$11 Ichiro Suzuki
$10 Denard Span
$10 Vernon Wells
$10 Justin Ruggiano
$10 Nick Markakis

Markakis put a bounce in everyone's step a few years back, but he's flatlined for a while now. The pop never grew into anything special, he's no longer running, and a good-not-great average and regular playing time only carry you so far. I've become an Orioles Sympathizer in 2013 (my scouting team loves them), but Markakis isn't part of the admiration. You need to shoot higher. … No one's going to pay for Kelly Johnson's .282 average but we've seen the rest of the profile before: patience at the dish, some pop, some speed (albeit 4-for-7 is a messy percentage). Nice bargain shopping from the Rays, who love this kind of player.

$9 Jayson Werth
$9 Lucas Duda
$9 Jason Kubel
$9 Adam Dunn
$9 Andre Ethier
$9 Marcell Ozuna
$8 Trevor Plouffe
$8 Ben Revere
$6 Daniel Nava
$6 Chris Carter
$6 Jon Jay
$6 Juan Pierre
$6 Colby Rasmus
$6 Rajai Davis
$6 Cody Ross
$5 Oswaldo Arcia
$5 Gerardo Parra
$5 A.J. Pollock
$5 Michael Brantley

Brantley's scan looks a little like the Markakis profile, only with the power and speed contributions flipped. A .297 average certainly has worth in today's hacktastic game, but one homer (and a .381 slugging) is a concern, especially when it's attached to just two steals. Brantley's solid OBP makes him qualified for the leadoff spot, but you'd like to see more numbers coming along for the ride. … I'd like to go higher on Pollock and especially Rico Suave, but with Adam Eaton on the mend, there's a playing-time issue to worry about.

$4 Nate Schierholtz
$4 Will Venable
$4 David DeJesus
$4 Seth Smith
$4 Matt Joyce
$4 Drew Stubbs
$4 Carlos Quentin
$4 David Murphy
$3 Ryan Raburn
$3 Andy Dirks
$2 Chris Denorfia
$2 Jordany Valdespin
$2 Eric Young
$2 Nolan Reimold
$2 Jeff Francoeur
$2 Chris Parmelee
$2 Emilio Bonifacio

Francoeur isn't the worst short-term rental if you know a left-hander is pitching that day. Unfortunately for Frenchy, we live in a right-handed world. At least James Shields is removing much of the potential sting out of the Wil Myers deal. … While defense is never a big concern for us in the numbers racket, it matters with respect to playing time. Bonifacio's wheels could come to life at any time, but the Jays don't want to live with his horrendous glove.

$1 Jordan Schafer
$1 Brandon Barnes
$1 Marlon Byrd
$1 Jason Bay
$1 Delmon Young

Your courtesy injury ranks are below. I am not a doctor (save for some amateur experimentation) and these are not for debate.

$20 Jason Heyward
$20 Giancarlo Stanton
$18 Curtis Granderson
$16 Michael Bourn
$15 Coco Crisp
$14 Corey Hart
$12 Josh Reddick
$10 Adam Eaton
$10 Chris Young
$8 Cameron Maybin
$8 Dayan Viciedo
$5 Peter Bourjos

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