Shuffle Up: The Ryan Zimmerman Problem

Today's assignment is to Shuffle Up all the corners, the first basemen and third basemen. The goal is to figure out how we'd draft in a fresh league starting right now. What's already happened counts as an audition, sure, but that's it.

The normal rules apply. I won't bother ranking anyone on the DL or currently in the minors; the worth on those players will widely fluctuate from format to format, and it's just about pointless to discuss them here. Plus we've established one common theme with injured players: their personal roto owners tend to expect miracles that no one else does.

I didn't bother with any of the catchers who also have corner tags; they'll stick in the catcher pool. Assume a 5x5 rotisserie and redraft league, as always. I encourage your respectful disagreement, but don't forget to construct a sound argument. Further the conversation, rotohead. Win the debate, win the rank. (And leave that "you'd never win my league" rubbish at home. I'm currently in first in both reader leagues. I'm just another educated opinion to go with yours, but I know what I'm doing. Your presence in my league wouldn't cause me to plummet 10 spots in the standings.)

Players at the same price are considered even, and don't stress over the actual dollar prices. What's important is how the players relate to one another.

Make the jump and let's figure this stuff out.

$31 Miguel Cabrera
$30 Joey Votto
$29 David Wright
$28 Paul Konerko
$27 Hanley Ramirez
$27 Albert Pujols
$26 Prince Fielder
$26 Jose Bautista
$26 *David Ortiz
$26 Adrian Beltre
$26 Edwin Encarnacion
$23 Mark Teixeira

I'm giving David Ortiz a pass here and ranking him, since DH-only players have no other home in the Shuffles. If nothing else, Ortiz is a reminder that not every "best shape of his life" story from February and March turns out to be meaningless. He's looked lean and mean from the opening pitch of the year, and he's crushing the ball. … Miguel Cabrera wasn't doing much of anything for a few weeks, but a 7-for-15 binge in Boston has him on the right track. And while you'll never mistake him for Graig Nettles at third base, he hasn't been a joke in the field. … Albert Pujols is back to using the entire field, and he's rebounded with a monster May. But I'm still a little wary of the low walk total, and I'm not going to put a first-round price on him. To be honest, I'm glad he hasn't been my problem this year. … Hanley Ramirez has the batting average up to .275, taking advantage of a home park that's been surprisingly friendly. And his counting stats have been fine all year, even when the BA wasn't up to snuff; he's on pace for 95 runs, 25 homers, 105 RBIs and 32 steals (some roto turnips say he doesn't run anymore - they're 100 percent false). Ramirez also gets an extra buck or so in this exercise for his shortstop eligibility.

$22 Alex Rodriguez
$22 Adrian Gonzalez
$20 Michael Cuddyer
$20 Billy Butler
$20 Adam Dunn
$20 Mark Trumbo
$19 Freddie Freeman
$18 Michael Young
$18 Corey Hart
$18 Martin Prado
$17 Brett Lawrie
$17 Nick Swisher
$16 Mike Moustakas
$15 Aramis Ramirez
$15 Eric Hosmer
$15 Bryan LaHair
$14 Howie Kendrick
$14 Mike Aviles
$14 Kendrys Morales
$14 Ryan Zimmerman

Flash back to Ryan Zimmerman's dynamite rookie year of 2006, stop and remember everything we expected from him at the time. He was just 21 for most of that season, a year removed from his draft class. I figured he'd be a superstar by now, one of the Top 10 players in the game. But maybe his body is going to stand in the way. It's such a shame how his shoulder problems have crushed his production.

Zimmerman's counting stats and efficiency stats took a dive last year and they're doing the same this season. A .246/.329/.352 slash line for this type of talent? He's clearly not healthy. I still kept Zimmerman in double digits based on back class and established talent level, but maybe I'm still too optimistic at this number. I'll be surprised if he manages to play the rest of the season without any down time.

I don't think there are any magical explanations with Adrian Gonzalez. His walk rate is down a bit, his strikeout numbers are up a bit, fine. He's still hitting line drives. His production numbers are okay, not great, tied to the deep Boston lineup. At the end of the day, I'm not convinced his shoulder is really healthy, no matter what he tells the media. Think about it for a second: what does a player ever gain by admitting he's playing through an injury? All it does is invite more questions. Better to just go about your business and keep that sort of story at bay, as much as you can. if you see a reason for Gonzalez optimism, I'm all ears: let's hear it.

$13 David Freese
$13 Jed Lowrie
$13 Kevin Youkilis
$13 Kyle Seager
$11 Adam LaRoche
$11 Chase Headley
$11 Lucas Duda
$10 Chris Davis
$10 Mitch Moreland
$9 Justin Morneau
$9 Carlos Lee
$8 Will Middlebrooks
$8 Luke Scott
$8 Chris Johnson

The injury risk is the first order of business when discussing Justin Morneau. It hasn't been one or two things with him, it's been a laundry list. And then there are two other splits that concern me: he's been overmatched against lefties this year (4-for-42, no walks, 13 strikeouts) and worthless at home (.182/.247/.348). If you can get someone to believe in the nine homers, sell Morneau right now. Go. Now. … Mitch Moreland is a fun player if you're in a daily league with lots of bench spots; you enjoy him at home and against righties, and you avoid him in other spots. Go where the fun is. (And yes, you could apply the same basic streamer's logic to Morneau, if you want. But I think you might be able to find a buyer for Morneau, and I'm not eager to tie myself to the Minnesota offense, anywhere, if I can avoid it). … Kevin Youkilis can still turn on an inside fastball. But look at the medical file here and the yearly at-bat total. There's no way you should expect four stress-free months with him. If Youkilis assembles any kind of a hot streak, Boston would be wise to immediately put him into trade talks.

$7 Yonder Alonso
$7 Ty Wigginton
$6 Logan Morrison
$6 Justin Smoak
$6 Sean Rodriguez
$5 Pedro Alvarez
$5 Todd Frazier
$4 Ike Davis
$4 Paul Goldschmidt
$4 Matt Adams
$4 Todd Helton
$4 Jordan Pacheco

I can't guarantee you that Yonder Alonso will ever hit 20 homers, especially if he stays in Petco Park. But I like that he's already pushed his walk rate over 10 percent, and I love that zesty 27.8 percent line-drive rate. He could win a batting title some day. Alonso also deserves props for hitting .308 against lefties and .298 at home. … Is Kirk Gibson ready to give Paul Goldschmidt a legitimate chance? The young slugger posted a snappy .314/.379/.535 line in May, with three homers. The problem comes with the platoon splits: Goldy has a .944 OPS against lefties, but it drops through the floor against righties (.689). … You have to wonder if Ike Davis is in a mental funk at home: he's hitting .105 at Citi Field (no homers, 29 strikeouts), compared to a .229 mark (and .446 slugging) on the road, and five homers. No, the road stats aren't good, but they're at least passable while he works out of his slump. But he's been a mess in Queens.

$3 Daniel Murphy
$3 Carlos Pena
$3 Ryan Roberts
$3 Wilson Betemit
$2 Mark Reynolds
$2 Brandon Belt
$2 James Loney
$2 Placido Polanco
$2 Lonnie Chisenhall
$2 Casey Kotchman
$2 Juan Francisco
$1 Robert Andino
$1 Maicer Izturis
$1 Brandon Inge
$1 Jamey Carroll
$1 Garrett Jones
$1 Ian Stewart
$1 Josh Harrison
$1 Jesus Guzman
$1 Alberto Callaspo
$1 Cody Ransom
$1 John McDonald
$1 Eduardo Nunez
$1 Kila Ka'aihue
$1 Jose Lopez
$1 Nick Johnson
$0 Shelley Duncan

I'm not someone who looks too far back with the shuffling exercise — any rank that's multiple weeks old is just about dead to me — but I know many of you want the look-back links, so here they are. I'll keep them parked at the bottom of future shuffles. And following the established cycle, we'll revisit the middle infielders next week. Go study Ian Desmond for a week and we'll tackle it on June 7.

Previous Shuffles: Starting Pitchers (5/24), Outfielders (5/17), Catchers (5/14), Middles (5/10).

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