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Shuffle Up: Michael Cuddyer gets his groove back

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Power of the Purple (USAT)

Today's ranking assignment takes us down on the corner, the first basemen and the third basemen. Settle in, settlers.

What you'll see below are prices for most of the Yahoo-eligible cornermen going forward. There are a few rules here: if you're in the minors or on the DL, you don't make this list. Too variable in worth, league to league. If you're catcher-eligible, you don't make the list – everyone's probably going to use you at catcher anyway. Don't obsess over the actual dollar amounts – what matters is how the players relate to one another. When players are at the same number, they're considered even.

The games to this point are merely an audition. We're trying to figure out who's worth the most going forward. Assume a 5x5 rotisserie format, as always.

I welcome your respectful disagreement but you have to include a reason. Respect the room; back up your disagreement with facts, stats, logic. Win the debate, win the rank. And remember the golden rule: a player doesn't spike in value by 15-20 percent merely because he's on your roster. Keep both cleats on the ground.

I reserve the right to tweak this list as the day goes along, and I'll add extensive commentary as well.

$35 Miguel Cabrera
$33 Prince Fielder
$31 Joey Votto
$29 Albert Pujols
$28 Adrian Beltre
$28 David Wright
$26 Evan Longoria
$26 Paul Goldschmidt

Fielder might have been the last of the floor picks in the first round, the players you could take and feel like you weren't bringing in a ton of downside. I can't remember a Top 25 that had as much quicksand as this year's did. … Longoria is obviously a terrific player, but he's been overrated in a lot of fantasy circles for years – and usually by otherwise-smart players. His team-friendly contract and continual status as perhaps the most valuable "commodity" in baseball (again, tied to his reasonable deal) often pushes the needle further than it should go. Too many people keep betting on the come with Longoria, paying for the MVP season that might be in the future. I'd like to see him put it all together once.

$24 Edwin Encarnacion
$23 Adrian Gonzalez
$23 Billy Butler
$22 Pablo Sandoval
$22 Ryan Zimmerman
$21 Allen Craig
$21 Paul Konerko
$20 Martin Prado
$19 Mark Trumbo
$19 Anthony Rizzo
$18 Chris Davis
$18 Chase Headley
$17 Todd Frazier
$17 Nick Swisher
$16 Michael Cuddyer

I regret not having Cuddyer on more teams this year. Looking back, the setup wasn't particularly tricky. He had a productive half-year in Colorado last season (.264-44-12-50-8), then washed away the second half with injuries. The air is still thin in Denver, and Cuddyer still holds a run-producing spot in the lineup. Dual eligibility is always a selling point. Cuddyer didn't go outside the Top 200 in my drafts (his Yahoo! ADP was 209), but I know I had my chances here. Welcome to the Ibanez All-Stars, Cuddy. … The Dodgers took a lot of criticism for the August liquidation of Boston's unwanted stars, but to this point, the production of Gonzalez and Carl Crawford is looking pretty, pretty good. And what's a boatload of cash to a team like the Dodgers, an organization that has a license to print money through its lucrative television package. Gonzalez's BABIP is through the roof right now, but it's also being driven by a 33.3 percent line-drive rate; he's making his own luck. … Sandoval swings outside the strike zone more than anyone in baseball, but it's never seemed to bother him much. He's like a left-handed Vladimir Guerrero in that sense. And as my friend Gene McCaffrey often points out, Panda isn't a mistake hitter: he's capable of hitting tough pitches from elite hurlers. I'd love to see this guy get 160 games some year, just to see what numbers would go on the board.

$15 Brett Lawrie
$14 Will Middlebrooks
$14 Justin Morneau
$13 David Freese
$13 Eric Hosmer
$13 Adam LaRoche
$13 Mike Moustakas
$12 Manny Machado
$12 Ike Davis
$12 Adam Dunn
$12 Kendrys Morales
$11 Matt Carpenter
$11 Ryan Howard
$11 Brandon Moss
$10 Daniel Murphy
$10 Trevor Plouffe
$10 Michael Young
$10 Lance Berkman
$10 Chris Carter

The three true outcomes, that's what you're getting with Carter. All of his homers have come at home thus far, but he'll eventually start dropping souvenirs into the Crawford Boxes. You might get an average under .250 and he could strike out close to 200 times, but 30 homers and 90-100 RBIs are also within reach. … I'm not going to totally flip out on Ike Davis yet, considering how things went for him last year. He was well worth owning in the final four months of the year. Obviously he needs to figure out hitting at Citi Field, and you want to see improvement against lefties. And there's no Valley Fever excuse to fall back on, I get it. But let's try not to collapse the expectations too far, this early in the season.

$9 Kevin Youkilis
$9 Kyle Seager
$9 Garrett Jones
$8 Mark Reynolds
$8 Pedro Alvarez
$8 Dustin Ackley
$7 Marco Scutaro
$7 Chris Johnson
$6 Jedd Gyorko
$6 Brandon Belt

Brandon Belt is the football, Bruce Bochy is Lucy, and the believers (I'll take the hit, too) are all Charlie Brown. This is a recording. … Alvarez has the worst swinging-strike numbers through two weeks, in part because he's chasing outside the zone almost 40 percent of the time now (it was 31.3 percent last year).

$4 Matt Adams
$4 Yonder Alonso
$4 Juan Francisco
$4 Justin Smoak
$4 Carlos Pena
$3 Jeff Keppinger
$3 Josh Donaldson
$3 Lonnie Chisenhall
$3 Mitch Moreland
$3 John Mayberry
$2 Chris Parmelee
$2 Placido Polanco
$1 Jordan Pacheco
$1 Adam Lind
$1 Donovan Solano
$1 Greg Dobbs
$1 Matt Dominguez
$1 Todd Helton

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