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Shuffle Up: Jonathan Lucroy comes around

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Jonathan Lucroy, unmasked (USAT)

Today's Shuffle Up assignment is the catchers, the backstops, the men in the tools of ignorance. Everyone should play catcher (and goalie) at some point in their youth sports career. It builds character.

We're trying to rank players for future 5x5 value. What's happened to this point is an audition, nothing past that. Players listed at the same price are considered even.

Your respectful and intelligent disagreement is always welcome in the comments, but for the love of all things holy, give us a reason. Further the conversation, gamer. Win the debate, you may win the rank.

I reserve to tweak this list Monday; usual rules apply. Dig in, game on.

$24 Buster Posey
$22 Mike Napoli
$22 Carlos Santana
$22 Yadier Molina
$20 Joe Mauer

When you consider Santana's BB/K rate for his career and how regularly he squares the ball up, his .251 career average comes as a surprise. You'd like to see him strike out less, sure, but the current .273 number sounds like a baseline to me. He was the AL's top backstop in the second half of 2012, with some injuries out of the way and the pressure of a contract extension subsiding. He's someone I'd hold onto with two hands in a keeper league, a switch hitter who's not always asked to catch.

$18 Wilin Rosario
$17 Matt Wieters
$14 J.P. Arencibia
$14 Brian McCann
$12 Jonathan Lucroy

Lucroy's monster weekend stands as due justice, given the bad luck he ran into for the opening third of the year. Lucroy carried a .259 BABIP into games of June 2, despite a stable walk rate, a solid line-drive clip and a dip in his strikeout numbers. Lucroy is also hitting infield flies at the lowest rate of his career. He's a legitimate C1, a solid own in leagues that require just one starter.

$11 Victor Martinez
$11 Ryan Doumit
$10 Salvador Perez
$10 A.J. Pierzynski
$9 John Buck
$9 Jarrod Saltalamacchia
$9 Miguel Montero

We love Doumit as a catcher-eligible who isn't always burdened by the position (60 percent of his play has come away from catching). His efficiency numbers are still in an ugly place, but he was plenty productive in May (five homers, 19 RBIs) . . . While it's not really needle-moving stuff, it's interesting to note Buck has a couple of stolen bases (his first since 2009) and the highest catcher baserunning rating on Fangraphs. While Buck's HR/FB clip is in an unsustainable area, at least he's pushed his fly-ball rate back up to 44.9 percent (a career best) . . . There are all sorts of mysteries in the Montero profile. His walk, strikeout and line-drive numbers are all in reasonable areas. The .246 BABIP sticks out, in addition to a worrisome spike in his ground-ball numbers (48.2 percent). But given how productive he's been since hitting the majors in 2009, I'm inclined to trust a comeback on some level.

$8 Yasmani Grandal
$6 Jason Castro
$6 Russell Martin
$5 Evan Gattis
$5 Yan Gomes

I'd love to go a lot higher on Gattis, but he's a man without a position (there's nothing wrong with Brian McCann, and Gattis is a liability at first base or left field) . . . Gomes is another part-timer, but the Indians have incentive to use him (and his elegant defense) as much as possible, content to slot Santana at first base or DH.

$4 Alex Avila
$2 Chris Iannetta
$2 Welington Castillo
$2 John Jaso
$2 Jordan Pacheco
$1 Derek Norris
$1 Tyler Flowers
$1 Kurt Suzuki
$1 Rob Brantly
$0 Nick Hundley

Courtesy Injury Ranks - Not for debate

$8 Carlos Ruiz
$5 Wilson Ramos
$4 A.J. Ellis

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