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Shuffle Up: Freddie Freeman, blue chip

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Fab Five Freddie (USAT)

Now these people, they want ranks.

My first go-round with 2014 prices are below. Today's assignment is the corner infield, the first basemen and third basemen. Don't ask me where Alex Rios or Clayton Kershaw are, they don't qualify.

I've taken the catchers out of this exercise - they'll have their own day in the sun. Players at the same price are considered even. Assume a 5x5 scoring system, which is (still) the best way to play.

The ranks are unscientific, my gut feel if you will. I'm not looking to push alphabet soup on you. I don't draft by acronym. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it, that just isn't my thing.

I reserve the right to tweak this list over the first 24 hours. Add your respectful disagreement in the comments; win the debate, win the rank. Welcome back, Kotteras.

$42 Miguel Cabrera
$40 Paul Goldschmidt
$38 Prince Fielder
$37 Chris Davis
$37 Joey Votto
$36 Edwin Encarnacion
$35 Adrian Beltre
$34 Freddie Freeman
$32 David Wright
$29 Evan Longoria
$29 Albert Pujols

I haven't buried Davis in the rankings, but it's probably low enough not to get him. The .245 run in the second half (.216 in September) concerns me, and 50-homer seasons simply don't repeat in today's game and environment. Sure, you'll get 30-35 homers here, maybe a few more - but batting average risk is attached and he won't run much. I'd like more from my first-round pick . . . I'm not going to worry about Freeman's lofty BABIP, not when his line-drive rate jumps off the page (last three years: 26.7, 26.0 and 23.0 percent). He hasn't shown a ton of pop against lefties but he did bat .287 against them last year, and he absolutely crushed against the righties (.334/.409/.549). You're investing in four very safe categories here, and eventually he'll be clubbing 30-plus homers a year.

$27 Matt Carpenter
$26 Allen Craig
$26 Adrian Gonzalez
$25 Josh Donaldson
$24 Ryan Zimmerman
$23 David Ortiz
$22 Eric Hosmer
$20 Mark Trumbo
$20 Anthony Rizzo
$20 Pedro Alvarez
$20 Jedd Gyorko
$19 Manny Machado
$19 Pablo Sandoval
$18 Brandon Belt
$17 Michael Cuddyer
$17 Brett Lawrie
$16 Martin Prado
$16 Kyle Seager
$15 Billy Butler
$15 Mike Napoli
$15 Victor Martinez
$14 Nolan Arenado
$14 Jurickson Profar
$14 Matt Adams
$14 Jose Abreu
$13 Aramis Ramirez
$13 Nick Swisher
$13 Brandon Moss

I have two primary Abreu concerns, both of them raised from my friend Gene McCaffrey. First and foremost, can Abreu stay healthy? He was hit by pitches at an alarming rate in Cuba. And how will Abreu adjust to the early-season weather in Chicago? This wasn't an issue for Yoenis Cespedes (Oakland) and Yasiel Puig (LA). I tend to avoid the shiny new toy players anyway, which means I probably won't have Abreu on any teams . . . Forget about Profar's debut - he was jerked in and out of the lineup and didn't have a dedicated fielding spot. The latter thing is actually a good thing going forward - Profar qualifies at second, third and shortstop in Yahoo leagues. Trust the park, the lineup, and the pedigree . . . How soon do the Machado doubles turn into homers? My price here is optimisitc, I'll grant you that. He seems like a sure bet to be playing in April, and Opening Day hasn't been ruled out yet. Machado reminds me of a young Alex Rodriguez, and I only mean that in the complimentary ways . . . Swisher's stats took a tumble in his Age-32 year, after four seasons that were just about identical. I'll grant you the trade off with ballparks - New York was a terrific fit, Cleveland isn't - but I'm also willing to take the applied discount and saddle up with an Ibanez All-Star. It's possible to roster Swisher as one of your weakest mixed-league bats, and I can sign off on that. The world needs ditchdiggers, too.


$12 Chris Johnson
$12 Daniel Murphy
$12 Ryan Howard
$11 Xander Bogaerts
$10 Mike Moustakas
$10 Kelly Johnson
$9 Chase Headley
$9 Kendry Morales
$9 Adam Lind
$8 Will Middlebrooks
$8 Chris Carter
$7 David Freese
$7 Todd Frazier
$7 Anthony Rendon
$6 Justin Morneau
$6 Trevor Plouffe
$5 Ike Davis
$5 James Loney
$4 Adam Dunn
$4 Corey Hart
$4 Mark Teixeira
$4 Adam LaRoche
$3 Matt Dominguez
$3 Justin Smoak
$2 Juan Uribe
$1 Mark Reynolds

Morneau is getting some late-round love in a few spots, given that he's in Colorado and generally mashes right-handed pitching. But his ordinary 2012-2013 resume (and concussion history before that) discourages me, not to mention the completely worthless month he gave the Pirates (.312 slugging). Prove me wrong, Morneau . . . I'd have Smoak in the $7-10 range in a different ballpark . . . Loney won't give you much pop, but his solid average gives him at least platoon value in aggressive daily leagues. 

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