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Shuffle Up: Brett Gardner goes off

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees
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Surprising pinstripe power (Elsa/Getty Images)

We did the starting pitchers a couple of weeks ago, so today let's take a big hack from the batter's box. Marinate over the list, see what you make of it. 

Remember the prices are a way to compare the players. Focus on how the players relate to one another, not the costs in a vacuum. Players at the same prices are considered even.

What's happened to this point is an audition, only. We're trying to figure out how to rank the players going forward. Assume a 5x5 scoring system.

And remember the golden rule – a player doesn't gain 15-20 percent of bonus value simply because he's on your roster.

Anyone on the DL is ignored for this exercise (if I missed someone, let me know). Ditto anyone percolating in the minors, though I did add Javier Baez since he was recalled Monday. More words on Baez in a separate blog

Go get 'em.

$31 Mike Trout
$30 Jose Abreu
$29 Miguel Cabrera
$25 Anthony Rizzo
$25 Jose Altuve
$25 Adam Jones
$25 Michael Brantley
$24 Adrian Beltre
$24 Billy Hamilton
$24 Robinson Cano
$24 Giancarlo Stanton
$23 Todd Frazier
$22 Anthony Rendon
$21 Jose Reyes
$21 Dee Gordon
$21 Brett Gardner
$20 Carlos Santana
$20 Victor Martinez
$20 Carlos Gomez
$20 Yasiel Puig

First things first with Gardner - there's no eureka moment with his increased HR/FB rate. It's 6.8 percent for his career and it's 15.3 percent for this year, I get it, but how else do you produce a homer spike? This isn't Little League.

Let's appreciate some of the other things Gardner is doing well. He's nudged his walk rate forward while keeping the same strikeout clip, and he's squaring the ball regularly (24.3 percent line-drive rate). Most of his pop has come with the platoon advantage, but he's still batting .292 against lefties. Yankee Stadium is the preferred place to be (.311/.375/.495), though he's hit eight homers on the road, along with an acceptable .797 OPS. I bet you can get him under market in some places; this is a Top 10 outfielder who isn't being ranked as such in most cases. 

Puig is a tricky guy to rank, a ridiculous athlete who's still learning the craft of baseball. Consider his act on the bases: he's 7-for-14 on steals this year, 18-for-33 for his career. His last swipe came on June 10, perhaps tied to a lingering hamstring issue.

Mind you, a .319 average plays for us, and he has good run-production stats. It's not like I'm insulting the guy - look at the names he's ranked around. But a 13-homer return to this point is mildly disappointing, and I don't know if he'll run much down the stretch. Bottom line, Puig is a buzzy name and a fun guy to own - I'm confident you can find a few interested (perhaps overzealous) trading partners if you go down that path. 

$19 Kyle Seager
$19 Jacoby Ellsbury
$19 Corey Dickerson
$18 Carlos Gonzalez
$18 Buster Posey
$18 Jonathan Lucroy
$18 Ryan Braun
$18 Hunter Pence
$18 Ian Kinsler
$18 Matt Kemp
$17 Yoenis Cespedes
$17 Freddie Freeman 
$17 Jose Bautista 
$17 Matt Adams 
$17 Nelson Cruz 
$17 Aramis Ramirez 
$17 Brian Dozier 
$17 Hanley Ramirez 
$17 Justin Upton 
$16 J.D. Martinez 
$16 Josh Harrison 
$16 Marlon Byrd 
$16 David Ortiz 
$16 Evan Longoria 
$16 Ian Desmond 
$16 Manny Machado 
$16 Charlie Blackmon 
$16 Josh Donaldson 
$16 Lucas Duda 
$16 Albert Pujols

Braun's having a good season, but obviously not a first-round one. Perhaps the thumb issue that he disclosed back in April is still bothering him (or it could be new concerns; oblique, back and ankle problems have crept up). He clubbed six homers in April; he has just eight since. But he's still contributing in all five categories, and Milwaukee has the second-best offense in the National League (I give the Brewers a fair chance to overhaul Colorado before the season is done). He used to be an upside and floor pick; in 2014, he's just a floor guy . . . Duda is lost against southpaws, but it's a right-handed world and he's a .284/.383/.572 weapon when holding the advantage. His slugging percentage is just about even, home and away, no small feat when you consider Citi Field's playability . . . Blackmon's monster April got him on the radar, but let's be fair here: he's kept it up more than a lot of pundits want to accept. He's carrying a .274-33-9-38-13 line since the beginning of May, making him the 33rd outfielder in 5x5 scoring. He's right behind Werth and (the good) Upton over that span, just ahead of Holliday and Kemp. Most of Blackmon's numbers are coming at home, sure, but that's never held against the stars of Colorado - why hold it against Blackmon? He's a solid, useful player. 

$15 Jimmy Rollins 
$15 Melky Cabrera 
$15 Jayson Werth 
$15 Gregory Polanco 
$15 Daniel Murphy 
$15 Brandon Moss 
$15 Alexei Ramirez 
$15 Alex Gordon 
$14 Kole Calhoun 
$14 Ben Zobrist 
$14 Devin Mesoraco 
$14 Chase Utley 
$14 Evan Gattis 
$14 Adrian Gonzalez 
$14 David Wright 
$14 Alex Rios 
$14 Rajai Davis 
$14 Justin Morneau 
$14 Nolan Arenado 
$14 Mike Napoli 
$14 Bryce Harper 
$14 Matt Carpenter
$13 Matt Holliday 
$13 Curtis Granderson 
$13 Salvador Perez 
$13 Starlin Castro 
$13 Denard Span 
$13 Chris Carter 
$13 Jason Heyward 
$13 Yan Gomes 
$13 Jason Kipnis 
$13 Marcell Ozuna 
$13 Ben Revere 
$13 Christian Yelich 
$13 Danny Santana

Rollins is having one of the most under-appreciated fantasy seasons, an Ibanez All-Star campaign. His .243 average is a negative, of course, though it's close to what he produced the two previous seasons. You knew that was coming up front. But he's a 57-15-49-22 man otherwise, delicious category juice and strong RBI numbers for someone who bats first or second most of the time. He's currently the No. 10 middle infielder in 5x5 value, and surely a profit guy off his 206 ADP . . . The Indians pitching staff still has to contend with a mediocre defense behind it, but at least Gomes can be trusted behind the plate. Only LuCroy has a higher WAR this year among backstops, and only Perez has a higher defensive grade. Gomes isn't particularly choosy at the plate, but it hasn't hurt him much: .283-15-48, with a zippy 23.4 line-drive rate. He deserves lower-end MVP consideration (not that I expect him to get it). 

Carpenter's had a mild dip from last year's breakout, but it hasn't been a significant fall. He's still on pace to score over 100 runs (despite mediocre production behind him this far), and his .284 average and .380 OBP mark the leadoff position nicely . . . Nothing in Santana's minor-league profile would have predicted his crazy run in Minnesota, but now that we're 52 games in, let's just sit back and enjoy it. If you rank all the shortstops from May 5 to the present, Santana comes in at No. 8 - and that's despite a short time on the disabled list. The Twins had him buried in the lineup for a while, too. Yahooligans can enjoy Santana at three positions, of course: second, short, and the outfield. And he figures to bat leadoff the rest of the season. 

$12 Mark Trumbo 
$12 Jay Bruce 
$12 Josh Hamilton 
$12 Dustin Pedroia 
$12 Miguel Montero 
$12 Kolten Wong 
$12 Chris Davis 
$11 Chris Coghlan 
$11 Adam Eaton 
$11 Brock Holt 
$11 Stephen Vogt 
$10 Torii Hunter 
$10 Pablo Sandoval

Most of the attention on the North Side of Chicago is on the kids, but Coghlan's worth a point and click, too. He's coming off a blistering July (.376-18-3-13-2), and he already has a homer and a steal this month. He's getting on base more often at Wrigley, but otherwise his production shows no home/road bias . . . There's no easy answer with Baltimore's Davis. The way he's hitting, you wouldn't be wrong to drop him. But based on what he did last year, we can't completely abandon hope. I feel lucky he's not on any of my teams, because I would have strongly considered him in the second round . . . Vogt gets a modest kick up as a catcher-eligible who usually doesn't catch. Being tied to Oakland's excellent lineup also helps . . . Boston's lineup card is gridlocked now, but Holt's ability to play every position should keep him in the lineup . . . Wong still strikes out too much, but we can't ignore the category juice. Here's what he's done since he returned 22 games ago: .272/.302/.556 slash, with a 15-6-12-7 line. When he wants a base, he takes it: Wong is 16-for-18 on steal attempts for his career. 

$9 Oscar Taveras 
$9 Scooter Gennett 
$9 Coco Crisp 
$9 Erick Aybar 
$9 Mark Teixeira 
$9 Lonnie Chisenhall 
$9 Neil Walker 
$9 Carlos Beltran 
$9 David Peralta 
$9 Omar Infante 
$9 Elvis Andrus 
$9 Everth Cabrera 
$9 Jhonny Peralta 
$9 Wilin Rosario 
$8 Drew Stubbs 
$8 Austin Jackson 
$8 Brian McCann 
$8 Casey McGehee 
$8 Howie Kendrick 
$8 Javier Baez 
$8 Brandon Belt
$7 Chris Johnson 
$7 Nick Markakis 
$7 Conor Gillaspie 
$7 Nick Castellanos 
$7 Desmond Jennings 
$7 Billy Butler 
$6 Kevin Kiermaier 
$6 Josh Willingham 
$6 Lorenzo Cain 
$6 Jedd Gyorko 
$5 Steve Pearce 
$5 James Loney 
$5 Alcides Escobar 
$5 Matt Joyce 
$5 DJ LeMahieu 
$5 Chase Headley 
$5 J.J. Hardy 
$5 Shin-Soo Choo 
$5 Allen Craig 
$5 Josh Rutledge 
$5 Mike Zunino 
$5 Jed Lowrie 
$5 Jason Castro 
$5 Nick Swisher 
$5 Michael Morse 
$5 Wilson Ramos 
$5 Will Venable

Choo's OPS by month: .907, .837, .520, .602, .292 (not that four games means anything). He hasn't stolen a base since May 5. This is clearly a player who isn't healthy, and with the Rangers out of contention, we also have to worry about an early shutdown. Heck, maybe five bucks is too much . . . If Craig is healthy next year and still in Fenway, he could be a $17-20 bat again. But he hasn't looked right this year, no matter that there's been no public disclosure of physical problems . . . Is Venable going to make it up to us after his horrendous first half? He's been sharp over the last three weeks: .356, three homers, three steals. A handful of his teammates have started to hit, too . . . Rutledge is probably three bucks too high or three bucks too low, but we don't know when Troy Tulowitzki is coming back.

$4 Jordy Mercer 
$4 Khris Davis 
$4 Adam Dunn 
$4 Aaron Hill 
$4 John Jaso 
$4 Martin Prado 
$4 Asdrubal Cabrera 
$4 Russell Martin 
$4 Adam LaRoche 
$4 Derek Norris 
$4 Seth Smith 
$4 Josh Reddick 
$4 Juan Uribe 
$4 Yangervis Solarte 
$3 Derek Jeter 
$3 Alejandro de Aza 
$3 Ender Inciarte 
$3 Dioner Navarro 
$3 Domonic Brown 
$3 Sam Fuld 
$3 Jon Singleton 
$3 B.J. Upton 
$3 Luis Valbuena 
$3 Leonys Martin 
$3 Brandon Crawford 
$3 Kurt Suzuki 
$2 Pedro Alvarez 
$2 David Freese 
$2 Jarrod Dyson 
$2 Daniel Nava 
$2 Juan Francisco 
$2 Mookie Betts
$2 Travis d'Arnaud 
$2 Trevor Plouffe 
$2 David Murphy 
$2 Jean Segura 
$2 Emilio Bonifacio 
$2 Stephen Drew 
$2 Carlos Ruiz 
$1 Mike Moustakas 
$1 Justin Turner 
$1 Justin Ruggiano 
$1 Didi Gregorius 
$1 Dustin Ackley 
$1 Tommy La Stella 
$1 Matt Dominguez 
$1 Andrelton Simmons 
$1 Tommy Medica 
$1 Robinson Chirinos 
$1 Alexi Amarista 
$1 Eugenio Suarez 
$1 Logan Forsythe 
$1 Brad Miller 
$1 Chris Parmelee 
$1 Colby Rasmus 
$1 Adeiny Hechavarria 
$1 Garrett Jones 
$1 Gerardo Parra 
$1 Ryan Ludwick 
$1 Anthony Gose 
$1 Arismendy Alcantara 
$1 Kendrys Morales 
$1 Jarrod Saltalamacchia 
$1 Xander Bogaerts 
$1 Andre Ethier 
$1 Jordany Valdespin 
$1 Cody Asche 
$1 Yunel Escobar 
$1 Norichika Aoki 
$1 Mike Aviles 
$0 Mark Reynolds 
$0 C.J. Cron 
$0 Ryan Howard 
$0 Dayan Viciedo 
$0 Travis Snider 
$0 Craig Gentry 
$0 Brandon Guyer 
$0 Jon Jay 
$0 Alex Avila 
$0 Endy Chavez 
$0 Marwin Gonzalez 
$0 Rene Rivera 
$0 Gordon Beckham 
$0 JP Arencibia 
$0 Rougned Odor 
$0 Tyler Flowers 
$0 Zack Cozart 
$0 Eric Young 
$0 Ike Davis 
$0 Yasmani Grandal

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