Corner Infield Shuffle Up: The last days of Votto?

How much does <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/7946/" data-ylk="slk:Joey Votto">Joey Votto</a> have left at age 35? (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
How much does Joey Votto have left at age 35? (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The calendar has hit May. Time to start the Shuffle Up series; how would we price players if the season were starting fresh tonight? The opening assignment is the corners, the players with first base or third base eligibility in Yahoo.

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You’ll have to season the prices to taste. The numbers don’t matter in a vacuum; what matters is how the player prices relate to one another. Assume a 5×5 scoring system, as always. Players at the same cost are considered even.

A few position-specific rules. I ignored anyone with catcher eligibility because you’d rarely use them at a corner. We’ll shuffle the catchers on a different day. And I’m not going to price injured players; I don’t see the point in that. Some fantasy owners are injury optimists, some are injury realists. You can choose whatever path you want.

Have some disagreements? Have some major disagreements? That’s good! That’s why we have a game. I welcome your respectful disagreement anytime: @scott_pianowski on Twitter.

Remember the golden rule: No player takes on extra (or less) value simply because you roster him.

Just the prices for now. Commentary later tonight.

The Top Shelf Corners

$40 Cody Bellinger

$40 Javier Baez

$40 Nolan Arenado

$34 Paul Goldschmidt

$34 Freddie Freeman

$34 Alex Bregman

$33 Whit Merrifield

$30 Manny Machado

Baez covers three positions and his aggressive process shouldn’t throw people any longer. He’s been able to maintain success despite the hacking, and it means you get more mileage from his batting average . . . Merrifield is a 4.5-category player (the RBIs might be light) and on a team that still values the stolen base. He’s the poster child for late-blooming candidates everywhere . . . Arenado’s numbers are okay, but a spike is likely. Colorado has played just 12-of-32 games at home, and the Colorado weather has been poor. That park is an obvious pinball machine when the temperature is warm.

Building blocks, but probably not your best hitter

$28 Rhys Hoskins

$26 Jose Abreu

$26 Pete Alonso

$25 Matt Carpenter

$25 Joey Gallo

$24 Yoan Moncada

$24 Matt Chapman

$24 Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

$24 Kris Bryant

$24 Jose Ramirez

$23 Daniel Murphy

After what Carpenter did at the front of 2018, I’m not going to fall for the rope-a-dope. He’s earned significant leash . . . I didn’t want Ramirez in March, and it’s still a case of not wanting what I haven’t got, even if the purchase price comes down. It’s one thing to brush off a 29-game slump (hey, at least he’s running), but remember he also slashed .218/366/.427 in last year’s second half, another 63 games. And the Cleveland lineup has plenty of potholes in it . . . Murphy can easily be a $30 bat when healthy, but I’m going to price in at least a little injury risk.

Familiar veterans not at their peak

$22 Anthony Rizzo

$19 Mike Moustakas

$17 Luke Voit

$17 Edwin Encarnacion

$15 Eduardo Escobar

$15 Justin Turner

$14 Joey Votto

$14 Josh Bell

$14 Josh Donaldson

$13 Ketel Marte

$13 Carlos Santana

The position switch doesn’t seem to be bothering Moose, and Milwaukee’s park is heaven for right-handed power . . . Rizzo is downshifting from “potential MVP guy” to “just another good not great option.” His career BABIP is .285, so the current hit rate deficit isn’t as unfair as you might think.

Votto’s isolated power has mildly rebounded, not that it’s where he was during his salad days. But what’s the cost here? He’s striking out 25.4 percent of the time, a nine-percent spike from last year. And he’s not even that helpful in OBP leagues any longer, settled in at .342. A .303 BABIP is actually unlucky given Votto’s .350 career baseline, but he’s also down nine percent on line-drive rate (though his hard-hit drop is much smaller). The Reds should probably leave Votto in the leadoff spot and give up on the power.

I own Votto in the Tout Wars mixed league, a league that uses OBP in place of average. I tried to cash out on Votto recently with two trade offers, offering him for Zack Greinke and some FAAB or Cole Hamels and some FAAB. Both offers were snap-rejected, and it’s not like the owners were trying to work me — neither owner made a counter offer.

Breakouts and boring vets

$12 Daniel Vogelbach

$12 Hunter Dozier

$11 Trey Mancini

$11 Wil Myers

$11 Eugenio Suarez

$11 Ryan Braun

$10 Robinson Cano

$10 Yandy Diaz

$10 Michael Chavis

$8 Christian Walker

$8 Miguel Cabrera

$8 Niko Goodrum

$9 Maikel Franco

$9 Kike Hernandez

$8 Rafael Devers

$8 *Nick Senzel

$8 Max Muncy

Vogelbach’s spot in the lineup is more secure with Mallex Smith going down (it’s a wheel play). Vogelbach’s minor-league resume always screamed big-league hitter, the Cubs just didn’t have room for him . . . Chavis is probably Boston’s best second baseman already, and he can also cover third or first if needed. The Red Sox lineup has perked up nicely since he landed, and his walks and strikeouts tell you he’s not overmatched . . . Franco’s walk rate is in a nice place, buoyed by the spot right in front of the pitcher. But unless several teammates get hurt, Franco won’t see the prime half of the order, where the OBP machines can pad his run production. The upside is still fairly mild for Franco.

At least you don’t want to cut them

$7 Ryon Healy

$7 Eric Thames

$7 Renato Nunez

$7 Jeff McNeil

$7 Nate Lowe

$7 Tim Beckham

$7 Eric Hosmer

$7 Chad Pinder

$6 Justin Smoak

$6 Jose Martinez

$6 Tommy La Stella

$6 Brian Anderson

$6 Yonder Alonso

$6 Marwin Gonzalez

$5 Asdrubal Cabrera

$5 Brandon Belt

$5 David Bote

$5 C.J. Cron

$5 Ryan McMahon

$5 Ian Desmond

The Angels are finally giving La Stella a deserved good spot in the lineup. I could easily see him being a full-season story . . . Thames has the platoon advantage over Aguilar, and Aguilar also ended 2018 in a gigantic, he’s-been-solved kind of slump . . . If Belt were traded out of San Francisco and into a fair park, and still maintained a regular gig, I’d instantly bump him to the $8-10 range . . . As we talked about earlier in the week, Alonso’s batted-ball profile is comically unlucky. He should go back to being a neutral-average hitter who can knock 20-25 home runs.

Discount Rack

$4 Jesus Aguilar

$4 Mitch Moreland

$4 Rowdy Tellez

$4 Jurickson Profar

$4 Matt Adams

$4 Jake Bauers

$4 Travis Shaw

$4 Jeimer Candelario

$3 Jay Bruce

$3 Logan Forsythe

$3 Ji-Man Choi

$3 Yuli Gurriel

$3 Wilmer Flores

$2 Evan Longoria

$2 Chris Davis

$1 Howie Kendrick

$1 Derek Dietrich

$1 Rio Ruiz

$0 Brandon Drury

$0 Albert Pujols

$0 Kendrys Morales

Profar’s yips in the field are likely affecting his offense, too, but at some point the A’s should probably give Chad Pinder a chance to run with the second-base job . . . Adams seems to flash every year but often doesn’t have staying power . . . Bruce might be caught up in a numbers game if the Seattle offense ever gets completely healthy . . . Kendrick has a $7-10 game and a $0 medical history.

Injured Players - Not Priced

Anthony Rendon

Miguel Andujar

Matt Olson

Jake Lamb

Joey Wendle

Scott Kingery

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