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Shuffle Up and Deal: Men on the Mound

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Game of Shadows (US Presswire)

Okay, game on. Let's get this party started. The first Shuffle of the 2012 baseball season is below, tackling starting pitchers.

Assume a 5x5 scoring system, no innings cap. Players at the same price are considered even. The prices themselves are merely used as a tool to compare; don't obsess about the bottom-line number - what matters is how the players relate to one another.

Intelligent and respectful disagreement is always welcome, but for the love of all things holy, defend your arguments. Give us how you'd change the list, and the reasoning behind your ideas. Further the conversation, gamer. Respect the room.

Comments will be added later tonight, and I might make some slight ranking adjustments.

Two final notes before liftoff:

1. I included Matt Moore and Chris Sale here, even though they aren't SP eligible yet, and I ignored Brett Myers - he'll be ranked with the relievers. See someone I missed? Mention him in the comments.

2. When I do these rankings, it's a total "from scratch" operation. I don't work off any previous list I've done, and I don't try to justify any opinion I've written earlier in the year. With that in mind, what you see below might contradict something I wrote, said, or intimated earlier. That's part of the game. I'm always looking forward. I'm not trying to cover my tracks, I'm trying to keep learning, keep gaining a better understanding of what the players are worth. Hopefully the final product is useful to you. And if we disagree, that's fine - that's why the game is fun in the first place.

$34 Clayton Kershaw
$34 Roy Halladay
$33 Justin Verlander
$32 Cliff Lee
$30 Tim Lincecum
$29 Felix Hernandez
$28 CC Sabathia
$27 Cole Hamels
$27 Jered Weaver
$26 Dan Haren
$25 Zack Greinke
$23 David Price
$23 Matt Cain
$23 Stephen Strasburg
$22 Madison Bumgarner

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Kershaw's monstrous upside against Halladay's established floor: go ahead and break that tie if you feel obligated. There's no right and wrong answer as I see it. … I tried to get some Bumgarner props going at my hometown draft, but the room was not eager to prop against him. … Haren's been the most underrated elite arm for a few seasons now. … Greinke's been untouchable this spring and we all know he was unlucky last year, but sometimes I wonder if he makes some of his own bad luck. There's a bit of a profile developing here. But we've already seen what happens when he puts it together: hardware on the mantle.

$21 Jon Lester
$21 Yovani Gallardo
$21 Ian Kennedy
$20 James Shields
$20 C.J. Wilson
$20 Josh Johnson
$20 Adam Wainwright
$19 Matt Garza
$18 Tommy Hanson
$18 Daniel Hudson
$18 Mat Latos
$17 Matt Moore
$16 Brandon Beachy
$16 Gio Gonzalez
$16 Jordan Zimmermann
$16 Anibal Sanchez
$15 Michael Pineda
$15 Yu Darvish
$15 Ricky Romero
$15 Brandon Morrow
$14 Shaun Marcum
$14 Ubaldo Jimenez
$14 Cory Luebke

I'm not going to own Darvish this year, and probably not Moore either. I don't assume any pitcher can jump into this league and be lights-out right away. The game is more about the marketplace and relative values than it is about judging talent anyway. When a scout and an economist line up to race, always bet on the economist. … The advancements with Tommy John surgery have me bullish on Wainwright's comeback season. … Morrow would be a $20 arm if he moved to the National League.

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Spring Training Hero (US Presswire)

$13 Josh Beckett
$12 Johnny Cueto
$12 Ervin Santana
$12 Jaime Garcia
$12 Jeremy Hellickson
$11 Max Scherzer
$10 Derek Holland
$10 Justin Masterson
$10 Francisco Liriano
$9 Ryan Dempster
$8 Doug Fister
$8 Wandy Rodriguez
$8 Bud Norris
$8 Colby Lewis
$8 Jhoulys Chacin
$8 Ted Lilly
$7 Chris Sale
$7 Hiroki Kuroda
$7 Clay Buchholz
$7 Edinson Volquez

Strikeouts and walks are still the best way to get the quick and dirty story, and this is Liriano's tale from the spring: 23 whiffs, three walks. Throw in the big Minnesota park and a defense that can't possibly be worse than it was last year and I'm a believer. … If you're in a draft with Mike Salfino, cross Sale off your list. You're not getting him. He's expecting a big year. … I'd chase Fister into double digits if he weren't burdened by Detroit's horrible infield defense. … Don't be tripped up by Cueto's pretty ERA: he's been injury-prone his entire career, and he has trouble going deep into games (and that costs him wins). He's going to let a lot of people down in 2012.

$6 Johan Santana
$5 Edwin Jackson
$5 Vance Worley
$5 Trevor Cahill
$5 Matt Harrison
$5 Erik Bedard
$5 Mike Minor
$5 Jonathon Niese
$4 Brandon McCarthy
$4 Tim Hudson
$4 John Danks
$4 Ivan Nova
$4 R.A. Dickey
$4 Tim Stauffer
$3 Lance Lynn
$3 Alexi Ogando
$3 Ryan Vogelsong
$3 Mark Buehrle
$3 Mike Leake
$3 Henderson Alvarez
$3 Chris Capuano
$3 Jeff Niemann

You love Stauffer in the big park, but he's got a modest upside for strikeouts. … The same story goes for McCarthy in Oakland, a pitcher who was so underrated for a few months, he's now overrated. The ESPN Magazine piece had me wondering if I'd missed a couple of All-Star appearances from McCarthy. … Hudson should be solid when he returns, but again, there's not much strikeout upside there. … Niese is definitely on my sleeper list: great secondary skills, new nose. Sure, the fences are coming in, but it's still going to be a park that favors pitchers.

$2 Jair Jurrjens
$2 James McDonald
$2 Chad Billingsley
$2 Scott Baker
$2 Neftali Feliz
$2 Gavin Floyd
$2 Ricky Nolasco
$2 Carlos Zambrano
$2 Josh Collmenter
$2 Phil Hughes
$2 Alfredo Aceves
$2 Jake Peavy
$2 Brian Matusz
$2 Rick Porcello
$2 Aaron Harang
$2 Julio Teheran
$2 Chris Carpenter
$2 Randy Wolf
$2 Homer Bailey
$2 Roy Oswalt
$2 A.J. Burnett
$1 Jake Westbrook
$1 Jonathan Sanchez
$1 Drew Pomeranz

I knew at the end of last season that I'd be panning Feliz this year. Strikeout stuff is disappearing, and he often has trouble throwing strikes. … If I'm worried about Fister and the Detroit defense, you can say I'm petrified of what it might do to Porcello. … Baker's elbow injury is the obvious reason he's buried down here. … Hey righty, didn't you used to be Chad Billingsley? What the heck happened?

I've had my say. Time for you to paint the black in the comments.

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