Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Roto Arcade

Shuffle Up, Outfield: Spinning for a Tampa DJ

View gallery


Glorified G (US Presswire)

You're going to want some outfielders this year, so let's load up the sticker gun and price them up. (I was the worst grocery clerk of all time, at 15. They should have made me a bagger and cut their losses.)

The usual Shuffle Up disclaimers apply. I construct these lists from scratch; I'm not trying to justify last week's draft pick or something I wrote two weeks ago. It's an ever-evolving process. Assume a 5x5 scoring system, because only the blindest of the blind still play 4x4 (runs scored don't count? Oh, you Pagans). Don't obsess over the dollar amount; what matters is how the players relate to one another. Commodities at the same price are considered even. The aim is to get everyone who should be owned in a standard (or slightly deeper) mixed league.

I reserve the right to tweak this list as the night goes along, and I'll be adding comments for all tiers shortly. Your respectful disagreement is most welcome and appreciated; just make sure you're respecting the room as you do it. Further the conversation, gamer. Show us the sharp angle that we're missing. If I really like your analysis, you might find yourself in the FOP auction next week (yes, it's happening; details to come Friday).

Now, let's go grazing in the green grass.

$39 Matt Kemp
$38 Ryan Braun
$37 Jacoby Ellsbury
$36 Justin Upton
$36 Carlos Gonzalez
$36 Jose Bautista
$33 Curtis Granderson
$31 Andrew McCutchen
$30 Mike Stanton
$29 Josh Hamilton
$27 Matt Holliday
$26 Hunter Pence
$24 Desmond Jennings

I don't have any Kemp shares and I'm fine with that; his batting average from 2010 still leaves a mark. But his power-speed upside can't be denied, and he showed last year that he can be an overlord even with no help around him. … Stanton would absolutely be a few bucks higher if I knew he were completely healthy. I'd also like to see how the new park is going to play in Miami, not that Stanton is going to be held down by any stadium. He'll hit 50 homers someday. … I have to live with myself for the fact that I took B.J. Upton over Desmond Jennings in the Friends & Family League last week. A late slump hurt the percentage stats on the rookie in 2011, but what's not to like about 10 homers and 20 steals over 63 games? Joe Maddon lets his players run freely, and Jennings is already 25 - this isn't some naive, wide-eyed kid. He's ready to be a star right away. Maybe he was ready a year ago.

$23 Nelson Cruz
$22 Jay Bruce
$22 Alex Gordon
$21 Shane Victorino
$21 Ben Zobrist
$20 Shin-Soo Choo
$18 Lance Berkman
$18 Andre Ethier
$18 Howard Kendrick
$18 Michael Cuddyer
$17 Michael Bourn
$17 B.J. Upton
$17 Ichiro Suzuki
$16 Adam Jones
$16 Jason Heyward
$16 Jayson Werth

I realize everyone likes Bruce more than I do, and I'm fine with that. Just remember you're betting on the come if you take him where roto nation does. He's shown two categories of dominance so far, with the possibility of three. Batting average is no sure thing here, and he's not a smart base stealer (despite having decent wheels). … Across-the-board consistency is forever underrated, which is why Victorino usually goes a round or two later than he should. I'm worried about the other puzzle pieces in that lineup, however. … Cuddyer probably gets an extra buck or value just from the positon grab (outfield, first, second). I wouldn't be surprised if he snuck in third-base eligibility as well. … There's never a clear answer on the injured players, so don't run me down on the highway just because you don't like my price on Upton or Morse. I tend to be risk-averse on anyone coming back from an injury, although these guys should be returning shortly after opening day. Upton is also playing for his next contract; while that's not a universal motivator to all players, he's the type of player who might respond to the carrot.

Call me crazy, but I'm expecting a major batting-average rebound from Ichiro this year. Last season's .272 mark doesn't pass the sniff test. He raised his line-drive rate last season and he improved his contact rate, and yet his BABIP finished 57 points below his career mark. If this were a normal player, you'd be worried about his wheels eroding and the BABIP baseline moving down, but Ichiro isn't a normal player — and he doesn't look any slower to me. He's been a nice value through the drafting season. The shift to the No. 3 spot in the order is also a perk, for as long as that happens to last. … Two reasons why I'm not in on Bourn: his .271 average doesn't move the needle, so he's really just a two-category grab (and deadweight in the power cats), and when you select him early, you essentially lock yourself out of any potential rabbits later in the draft. It all comes down to margin analysis. … Aren't you sick of hearing that "Kendrick will win a batting title someday" mumbo-jumbo? Let's focus in on what we know: Kendrick is a sneaky source of category juice (power and speed), and he's probably headed for a career-best in runs scored now that Albert Pujols is in town. Add in two positions of position coverage and I'm willing to wrestle on this one a bit.

View gallery


Turned to my nemesis (US Presswire)

$15 Michael Morse
$15 Brett Gardner
$15 Corey Hart
$15 Drew Stubbs
$15 Carlos Beltran
$15 Cameron Maybin
$15 Chris Young
$14 Nick Markakis
$14 Carl Crawford
$14 Jeff Francoeur
$14 Nick Swisher
$13 Logan Morrison
$13 Melky Cabrera

One reason why I love my job: I get paid to rant about Carl Crawford (if you're sick of this story, you might want to move down to the next tier). He's never hit 20 homers in a season. He's always struggled against left-handed pitching, bottoming out with last year's horror show (.195/.249/.317). He doesn't want to move out of left field, despite the fact that right field is the challenging corner in Fenway Park. (There's a ton of real estate in right field, along with the ever-present sun; meanwhile, a beach towel could cover left field adequately.) Forget batting Crawford first — he doesn't like the leadoff position, and he's never been an OBP maven anyway. Seems backwards, doesn't it? For $142 million, you should have a player ready to do whatever you want. Crawford's also expected to miss the opening few weeks of the year, as the club wants him to get 50 at-bats or so on a rehab assignment.

He's all yours — I'm not drafting him, I'm not purchasing him, I'm not trading for him. Ninety-nine percent of the time it's all about the prices, not the players themselves; there's a point where almost anyone is rosterable. But we all have our exceptions to the rule, and Crawford is mine.

I wish I knew more about the Morrison situation: his health, the park's playability. But eventually he's going to be a four-category stud, it's just a matter of when. It would help if the team would leave him alone; his slap-on-the-wrist demotion last year (for Morrison speaking his mind) wasn't necessary. … Forget all the noise about "paying for Francoeur's career year" - his ADP is a downright-affordable 181. Isn't that a good price for someone who just showed you a 20-22 season? Even with a moderate amount of regression, you can win at that price tag. … You can never be sure that you'll land your pet players in the middle and late rounds (all it takes is one meddling kid to ruin it), but Maybin sure looks like an acceptable Gardner substitute for a much cheaper price (the San Diego outfielder is 33 picks cheaper). If Gardner were batting leadoff in New York, that would be one thing — but he's not. Maybin's stolen-base upside is just as high as Gardner's, too (look at how Maybin was dominating the basepaths in the second half).

View gallery


In Detroit, off he goes (US Presswire)

$12 Emilio Bonifacio
$11 Coco Crisp
$10 Torii Hunter
$10 Martin Prado
$10 Delmon Young
$10 Mookie Blaylock
$10 Kendrys Morales
$10 Austin Jackson
$10 Lorenzo Cain
$9 Peter Bourjos
$9 Brennan Boesch
$9 Matt Joyce
$9 Carlos Lee
$8 Colby Rasmus
$8 Yoenis Cespedes
$7  Angel Pagan
$7  Alex Rios
$7  Lucas Duda
$6 Josh Willingham
$6 Mark Trumbo
$6 Dexter Fowler

Prado's never going to be a sexy pick, but he covers two positions and he's priced nicely after a down season. There's a clear setup for profit here. … Delmon Young hacks away at the plate and his fielding is consistently awful, but nifty things happen when he makes contact. He knocked 13 homers in 202 Detroit at-bats last year (including the playoffs), and the Tigers lineup is stacked, A-to-Z. Go where the runs are. … Cain didn't have to earn his starting spot in Spring Training, but a monster month has probably secured him the No. 2 spot in the batting order. The Royals were tenth in the majors in runs last year, an underrated group, and there's room for growth here when you consider the tender ages of most of the key players.

Lots of buying opportunities on the South Side of Chicago, where most of the lineup suffered through a disappointing season last year. Adam Dunn and Alex Rios are the positive-regression twins, both well-slotted for big profits. The Dunn price has started to bounce back, as the market reacts to his strong camp, but Rios is still available for curbside pickup in many pools. Power-speed players make for good targets, obviously, and Rios isn't likely to repeat last year's .237 BABIP. … I'm partially in on Fowler, but not all-the-way invested. The career arc and age are in line, and I like his second half from 2011, but he's never been a plus basestealer by the percentages and there's a modest power upside here. … Here's the key to understanding Target Field: it crushes left-handed power (a 32-percent drag over the last three years) but it's not as bad to the righties (a 17-percent cut, and it actually was a plus-power spot for RHBs last year). Sure, we'd like to see Willingham in a different park. But the yard would hurt him more if he were a left-handed hitter.

View gallery


Twenty (US Presswire)

$5 Jose Tabata
$5 Alejandro De Aza
$4 Brandon Belt
$4 J.D. Martinez
$4 Vernon Wells
$4 Jason Bay
$3 Jason Kubel
$3 Yonder Alonso
$3 Dayan Viciedo
$3 Chris Heisey
$3 Michael Brantley
$3 Mitch Moreland
$3 Allen Craig
$2 Carlos Quentin
$2 Alfonso Soriano
$2 Bryce Harper
$2 Mike Carp
$2 Alex Presley
$2 Bryan LaHair
$2 Nyjer Morgan
$2 Denard Span
$2 Ryan Raburn
$2 John Mayberry
$2 Jon Jay
$2 Nolan Reimold
$2 Brian Bogusevic
$2 Mike Trout
$1 Ben Revere
$1 Seth Smith
$1 Rajai Davis
$1 Juan Pierre
$1 Marlon Byrd
$1 David DeJesus
$1 David Murphy
$1 Eric Thames
$1 Andres Torres
$1 Aubrey Huff
$1 Jordan Schafer
$1 Will Venable
$0 Bobby Abreu
$0 Grady Sizemore

With Abreu expected to leave (and no, I don't care for him on the Indians; the bat speed is gone and the wheels are diminished), Trout's gridlock is a little easier to manage. But it's still the OC, home of the slow ride: the Angels remain overstocked with outfielders and DH candidates, and Trout is battling a bum shoulder besides. He's unlikely to be a factor in the first half unless a host of things fall poorly for the Angels. … If you're mining the bargain bin in a deeper mixed league, I'd consider a play on any of the Houston outfielders. Martinez is the buzzy name, but Bogusevic has 15-15 potential and Schafer should run plenty. … If I knew Belt had a place to play, I'd push him into double digits. Same goes for Craig. They both seem ready to produce, but we can't make out the lineup card for those clubs. … I'm not sure which way to go on Moreland: I'm dying to see what he could do with a full-time gig (especially with the Arlington backdrop), but the Rangers are always sniffing around for a caddy. Perhaps a quick start from Moreland will put the job-share theme to rest for a while. Late rounds picks are all about plausible upside. … Don't waste any time looking for Manny Ramirez. The dissident isn't here.

View Comments (115)