2019 middle infield values: Trevor Story with the big kids in draft Shuffle Up

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/colorado/" data-ylk="slk:Colorado Rockies">Colorado Rockies</a> shortstop <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9571/" data-ylk="slk:Trevor Story">Trevor Story</a> was a five-category stud in 2018. (AP Photo/John Leyba)
Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story was a five-category stud in 2018. (AP Photo/John Leyba)

To some in the fantasy community, rankings are a dirty concept. Some people don’t like tiers so much, either. I’m not dug in here, I just think you need some rough sketch of how you feel about a player pool. Just understand this is a sketch, in pencil. And I’m always going to be ready to pivot in the middle of a draft or auction — and later drafts and auctions this spring will help me determine just how I feel about the player pool.

The prices are unscientific, and meant to illustrate how I feel about the pockets of value and the differences between players. Players at the same price are considered even. I might tweak this list within the first day or so of publishing. Assuming a 5×5 scoring format, as usual.

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[Positional Rankings: Top 300 Overall | C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | P ]

I welcome your intelligent and respectful disagreement. It’s a game of opinions. And if I missed a middle-eligible asset who is draft-worthy, let me know that, too. Yahoo has the easiest positional tags earned, which I view as a feature, not a bug.

I did not rank Didi Gregorius (extended injury) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (no idea when he’s up). Price them however you want.

The Elite Options

$43 Trea Turner
$41 Jose Ramirez
$39 Jose Altuve
$39 Trevor Story
$38 Javier Baez
$38 Alex Bregman
$37 Manny Machado
$35 *Francisco Lindor

Story has become a misunderstood stock of sorts. His BABIP isn’t something to fear, because he’s set a .340 baseline for himself. And last year he decided he wanted to run aggressively — steals are usually more about wanting to do it than being capable of doing it. A strikeout reduction by about nine percent was critical, too. And while Colorado bats usually have jagged road numbers, the 81-game thin-air experience is worth it. Pay up for Story’s age-26 season . . . I’m not going to be the injury optimist in the room with respect to Lindor; I know that price won’t win him and I’m fine with that . . . As for Bregman’s elbow scope, the procedure was considered minor and he’s already back at full throttle. He’s a lovely second-round pick, and defensible in the first round.

The Run of Running Royals

$32 Whit Merrifield
$29 Adalberto Mondesi
$26 Carlos Correa
$25 Matt Carpenter
$25 Xander Bogaerts
$23 Jonathan Villar
$22 Daniel Murphy
$22 Gleyber Torres
$22 Corey Seager
$22 Scooter Gennett

Mondesi’s hacking ways will scare some bidders away, but his defense should protect his spot in the lineup, and Kansas City wants to have a running identity. The pop last year probably isn’t real, but Mondesi isn’t a punchless Billy Hamilton type. I can sign off with a third-round pick . . . Carpenter is less fun in batting average as he goes for the fences, but he covers three positions and now has Paul Goldschmidt to run parallel to . . . Murphy finally is off second base in real life, but he’s grandfathered into the position. You might be stuck around 500 at-bats, given the health history, but he could win a batting title in Colorado . . . It’s been two years in a row for late bloomers Merrifield and Gennett; now they’re floor stocks you can pay up for . . . Seager is one of the dairy-free Dodgers aiming for a comeback season.

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Pricy but not Without Warts

$20 Jean Segura
$20 Jose Peraza
$18 Ozzie Albies
$17 Dee Gordon
$15 Robinson Cano
$15 Rougned Odor
$15 Tim Anderson
$14 Jurickson Profar
$13 Elvis Andrus
$12 Yoan Moncada
$12 Marcus Semien

Marcus Semien was a Top 20 or Top 25 middle last year, depending on your valuation system. This year at Yahoo, he’s being drafted after Pedroia, Crawford, Zobrist, several ordinary others. Giveaway . . . Like most NL rabbits, the batting slot is critical for Albies. If he lands in the bottom third, I’d cut this price by 2-4 bucks . . . Gordon had a nagging foot injury in the second half of the year and basically stopped running. He’s only two years removed from a 60-steal season . . . I should have priced Profar higher in the corner shuffle. He has all four infield tags but the Athletics will probably leave him alone at second base; that’s the best of both worlds. There’s still untapped upside here . . . Anderson’s plate discipline will turn off some seamheads, but he did improve his walk and strikeout rates last year. And his career .258 average is just fine in the current shape of MLB. How many 20-20 offensive players do you see on the board? Here’s the Anderson paradox — the smarter your room is, the more likely he’ll be underpriced for the wrong reasons.

At Least There’s Plausible Upside

$11 Brian Dozier
$11 Amed Rosario
$11 Cesar Hernandez
$9 Eduardo Escobar
$8 Jonathan Schoop
$8 Chris Taylor
$8 Jorge Polanco
$7 Paul DeJong
$7 Willy Adames
$7 Andrelton Simmons

Taylor needs to make more consistent contact, but he’s a broad-skills player who covers multiple positions. If you can get him as a bench filler, bully for you . . . Adames could go either way on the bases; he’s been winning to attempt steals, but last year’s 6-for-11 won’t fly. In two seasons, he’ll probably be swiping 15 bases a year, or hardly any at all. He’s willing to take a walk, but the strikeout rate needs a little more improvement if he’s going to be a special player . . . There’s nothing special to half-by-half splits, but when a younger player ends the season on a binge, you wonder if it’s the growth talking. Rosario stole 18 bases over his final 64 games, and jumped his average 22 points. I wish he were in a different park, and his wonky OBP might cost him a spot near the top of the order (then again, these are the Mets).

The Discount Rack

$5 Joey Wendle
$5 Ketel Marte
$5 Asdrubal Cabrera
$5 DJ LeMahieu
$5 Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
$5 Starlin Castro
$4 Adam Frazier
$4 Jason Kipnis
$4 Dansby Swanson
$4 Brandon Crawford
$4 Zack Cozart
$4 Nick Ahmed
$4 Josh Harrison
$4 Kolten Wong
$4 Neil Walker
$4 Jed Lowrie
$3 Garrett Hampson
$3 Niko Goodrum
$3 Ian Kinsler
$3 Orlando Arcia
$3 Tim Beckham
$2 Jeff McNeil
$2 Scott Kingery
$2 Luis Urias
$2 Ben Zobrist
$2 Troy Tulowitzki
$2 Addison Russell
$1 Yairo Munoz
$1 Yangervis Solarte
$1 Freddy Galvis
$1 Yolmer Sanchez
$1 Dustin Pedroia
$1 Joe Panik

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