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Shuffle Up: The Unstoppable Mike Trout

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Running into the MVP race (USP)

Today's ranking assignment is the outfield. Big position, important position, tricky position.

What you'll see below are prices for most of the Yahoo-eligible outfielders 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. 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 10-20 percent merely because he's on your roster. Keep both cleats on the ground.

Make the jump, wander through the green grass:

$31 Carlos Gonzalez
$30 Ryan Braun
$29 Josh Hamilton
$28 Andrew McCutchen
$27 Mike Trout
$27 Jose Bautista
$26 Curtis Granderson
$24 Adam Jones
$24 Giancarlo Stanton
$23 Mark Trumbo
$23 Melky Cabrera
$23 Carlos Beltran

I offered up Mike Trout as a potential MVP candidate 10 days ago, and surprisingly I didn't get much pushback from anyone. I wish I had a stake in this guy, somewhere, anywhere. He's 19-for-22 on the bases and he hasn't even learned how to read moves yet. His lofty BABIP might worry some, but he's making most of that luck with his line-drive rate (24.7) and his wheels. He's crushing lefties and righties, home and away. What's not to like? … Mark Trumbo only drew 25 walks all of last season; he's already up to 19 this year. That gives me reason to believe much of the batting-average gain is significant. We don't need him to hit .324, though we'd certainly like it. A .270 or better average with this much pop, that's a special player.

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Five-category star? (USP)

$22 Michael Bourn
$21 Nelson Cruz
$20 Michael Cuddyer
$20 Hunter Pence
$20 Matt Holliday
$20 Justin Upton
$20 Allen Craig
$19 Alex Rios
$19 Shin-Soo Choo
$19 Jay Bruce
$19 B.J. Upton
$18 Jason Heyward
$18 Shane Victorino
$18 Andre Ethier
$18 Adrian Gonzalez
$18 Bryce Harper
$17 Ben Zobrist
$17 Yoenis Cespedes

While these ranks are not a listing of what players have done to this point — it's all about value to come — I'd like to mention that Jay Bruce is merely the No. 19 outfielder in the Yahoo! game. It's nice to see him 4-for-4 on steals this year (though he's 24-for-44 for his career, a mediocre rate) and a .251 average doesn't move the needle. He's scored a modest 164 runs the last two years; not a bad total, but it keeps him below the top-shelf contributors. Takeaway: hitters who's main value comes from homers and RBIs tend to be overvalued. This was true in 1992, it was true in 2002, and it's true today. … Michael Bourn is only on pace to steal 42 bases this year (and he's been caught too often for a player with his wheels), but no one will mind if he hits his other on-pace targets: 108 runs, 14 homers. He's turned himself into a star player, and he's also magnificent in the field. I'm sure I didn't rank him appropriately in the spring.

At first Shin-Soo Choo seems like an odd leadoff candidate, given how much he strikes out, but he's taken to the role. Over 34 games in the No. 1 spot, he has 30 runs, five homers, four steals, and a .306/.371/.514 slash. That works. … It's all about the thumb for Justin Upton. Maybe it's healthy, maybe it's not. If you want to take the optimistic tack and trade for him, go ahead. I'm very comfortable with him at this price. … Yoenis Cespedes has been better right out of the box than I expected, and he's improved his contact rate since returning to active duty. He's not Rickey Henderson on the bases but he can easily get to 15-20 bags a year, perhaps more.

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On like Donkey Kong (USP)

$16 Alejandro De Aza
$16 Dexter Fowler
$16 Corey Hart
$16 Austin Jackson
$16 Adam Dunn
$15 Colby Rasmus
$15 Jason Kubel
$15 Lucas Duda
$15 Josh Willingham
$15 Carlos Quentin
$15 Angel Pagan
$15 Martin Prado
$15 Josh Reddick
$14 Nick Swisher
$14 Matt Joyce
$14 Cameron Maybin
$13 Trevor Plouffe
$13 Carlos Lee
$13 Desmond Jennings
$12 Michael Morse
$12 Chris Young
$11 Dayan Viciedo
$11 Kendrys Morales
$11 Alex Gordon
$11 Ichiro Suzuki
$11 Bryan LaHair

I'm all for the Adam Dunn revival — welcome back, big guy — but considering his lack of speed and massive batting-average risk, there's no way I'm chasing him into the high teens or the 20s. … Trevor Plouffe is a tricky call; while it might seem this run came out of nowhere, he was a first-round pick who showed power in the minors. And Target Field is not a big deal for right-handed power hitters; it's the lefties who get absolutely crushed there. Plouffe also carries four positions of position eligibility, which pushes him up a buck or two.

If the Cubs were in contention, Bryan LaHair would probably be a full platoon player: he's 3-for-31 against southpaws this year. It will be interesting to see if the challenge of playing the outfield full-time affects LaHair's production. We can all see that Anthony Rizzo's callup is imminent. LaHair's 31-percent strikeout rate is a flashing red light; he's unlikely to keep his current .290 batting average. … Is Dexter Fowler ever going to learn how to hit on the road? And is Jim Tracy ever going to stop jerking him around? Tracy looks like the next manager to be fired, so that problem should be rectified soon enough. But maybe the Coors Field problem is here to stay; breaking balls don't move nearly as much in the thin air, and often times that produces an adjustment effect for the Colorado hitters when they hit the road.

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Howie the K (USP)

$10 Coco Crisp
$10 Howie Kendrick
$10 Jeff Francoeur
$9 Michael Saunders
$9 Ben Revere
$9 Rajai Davis
$9 Brandon Belt
$8 Alfonso Soriano
$8 Michael Brantley
$8 Chris Davis
$7 Torii Hunter
$7 Logan Morrison
$6 Kirk Nieuwenhuis
$6 Seth Smith
$6 David Murphy
$6 Ty Wigginton
$5 Gregor Blanco
$5 Alex Presley
$5 John Mayberry
$5 J.D. Martinez
$5 Brennan Boesch
$5 Jordan Schafer

Left-handers haven't been the career-long problem for Brennan Boesch: he carries a .302/.360/.421 slash against them in the majors, better than what he does against the righties (.250/.305/.420). But it's puzzling to see Boesch struggling at Comerica Park this year (.457 OPS); that wasn't a problem in his first two seasons. I'd like to see Jim Leyland give Boesch a batting slot, whatever it is, and leave the kid alone. … Coco Crisp is capable of being a $18-20 player when he's healthy, but an eventual DL stint is just about guaranteed with this guy. It's also possible the Athletics will trade him to a contending club, and a team better than Oakland might not have a dedicated lineup spot for the breakfast cereal. … Howie Kendrick has lifted his batting average and OBP this month, but where's the power? No homers in June, just four doubles. And he's not smoothing it over on the bases, just 4-for-8 there. When does a bad start become a bad season? Kendrick no longer has the cushy No. 2 batting slot to break his fall; he's been batting fifth, sixth and seventh since the beginning of May.

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Bubble about to burst (USP)

$4 Brandon Moss
$4 Norichika Aoki
$4 Cody Ross
$4 Yonder Alonso
$3 Scott Hairston
$3 Juan Pierre
$3 Garrett Jones
$3 Tony Campana
$3 Craig Gentry
$3 Will Venable
$3 Delmon Young
$3 Chris Heisey
$3 Bobby Abreu
$3 Raul Ibanez
$2 Quintin Berry
$2 Denard Span
$2 Daniel Nava
$2 Ryan Ludwick
$2 Elian Herrera
$2 Gerardo Parra
$2 Nyjer Morgan
$2 Tyler Colvin
$2 Willie Bloomquist
$2 Casper Wells
$2 Mitch Moreland
$2 Jose Tabata
$1 Tony Gwynn Jr.
$1 Johnny Damon
$1 Collin Cowgill
$1 Tyler Moore
$1 Chris Denorfia
$1 Carlos Gomez
$1 Jerry Hairston Jr.
$1 Reed Johnson
$1 David DeJesus
$1 Brian Bixler
$1 Jarrod Dyson
$1 Josh Harrison

Cody Ross seems like a swell guy, but he's just a lefty-killer, not someone you want in your lineup every day. When the varsity outfielders return to the Red Sox, Ross will probably downshift to a part-time role. … Nyjer Morgan has 164 at-bats, two homers, and three RBIs. Count them, 1-2-3. That's awfully hard to do. … I still think Gerardo Parra could be a double-digit player if he went to a team that let him play every day. He's a heck of a defender, too. … Name your first-born son after you, just to increase the odds that he'll play for the Dodgers someday.

Previous Shuffles: Catchers (6/14), Middles (6/8), Corners (5/31), Starting Pitchers (5/24), Brady Bunch (4/10).

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