UK markets closed

Middle Infield Shuffle Up: Trevor Story leads deepest-ever class of fantasy shortstops

We continue the Shuffle Up series; today’s assignment is the middle infielders, players who carry the 2B or SS tag.

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.

[Prep for MLB's return: Create or join a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball League]

The prices are more my gut feel on a player and not necessarily part of a formula or overall bankroll structure. As the great Gene McCaffrey might say, “They’re not bids, they’re bets.”

(It sounds better when Gene says it.)

The headers that separate the groupings? Don’t sweat those too much. I just like to keep the editors happy.

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.

This is the deepest shortstop class I’ve ever seen; you can do well at any price point. Second base isn’t as fruitful. Keep that in mind as you assemble your infields, and specifically, decide what you want to do with that Middle Utility spot.

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

The Top Shelf

$43 Trevor Story

$42 Francisco Lindor

$41 Trea Turner

$38 Alex Bregman

$36 Fernando Tatis Jr.

Everyone knows Story has elite power and the friendliest park, but he also has elite raw speed — which he utilizes on the bases — and improving batting-average skills. This isn’t just a first-round pick, this is someone you could take above the fold . . . Turner is part of a Washington lineup that looks weaker on paper this year, and he might slot into an area where running isn’t preferred . . . Bregman knew how to hit long before the Trashcan Sinatras took over the Astros, but the batted-ball metrics don’t buy his power spike last year. He’s still a second-rounder in good conscience, but probably not an MVP chaser.

Legitimate Building Blocks

$32 Javier Baez

$31 Xander Bogaerts

$28 Gleyber Torres

$26 Ozzie Albies

$26 Ketel Marte

$26 Adalberto Mondesi

$26 Keston Hiura

$25 Manny Machado

$25 Yoan Moncada

Baez is an unapologetic hacker, but that also means he piles up the ABs and gives us more bang for his average buck . . . Merrifield remains a boring vet on a boring team, which commonly can lead us to value. While his steals did take a drop, 20 is still a needle-mover. He carries two positions of eligibility and might be shopped to a contender, whenever the trade deadline happens to be . . . I’m thrilled about anyone in the top half of the Atlanta lineup, (and also include Dansby Swanson, currently in the second half). Albies in particular should be in the catbird seat, behind Acuna and ahead of Freeman . . . The Red Sox lost Mookie Betts of course, but Bogaerts is still buoyed by Fenway Park and a plus lineup. He’s been a mild discount in the early chunk of draft season . . . Machado already has his big paycheck and Petco got into his head last year. I suspect we’ve already seen his best season . . . Moncada’s hit rate is sure to regress, but it can have a fair chunk of giveback and still be in a dangerous area. This guy crushes the ball and runs well; why can’t he routinely beat the league BABIP average by 40-70 points? I can’t wait to watch this 2020 White Sox group in action.

Yoan Moncada is one of many intriguing fantasy assets on the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Some legitimate proactive picks

$23 Jose Altuve

$22 Whit Merrifield

$22 Bo Bichette

$21 Marcus Semien

$21 Tim Anderson

$20 Jonathan Villar

$20 Max Muncy

$19 DJ LeMahieu

$19 Mike Moustakas

$18 Jeff McNeil

Altuve plays an attrition position, he’s at an age where the steals are hard to bank on (they disappeared last year), and I’m not sure we can take last year’s power at face value. Altuve go for the equivalent of third-round money in most leagues, but not to me or my colleague Fred Zinkie . . . Anderson is another guy I can target because his approach is misunderstood and too much regression is likely to be baked into his ADP. He won’t win another batting title, but he can at least be average-neutral. Power-speed options, tied to their peak earning years, aren’t exactly falling out of trees.

More of a middle than static option

$17 Jorge Polanco

$16 Carlos Correa

$15 Eduardo Escobar

$13 Corey Seager

$13 Amed Rosario

$11 Elvis Andrus

$11 Cavan Biggio

$11 Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

$11 Dansby Swanson

$10 Danny Santana

I doubt you’ll have to pay that much for Swanson in any kind of mixed league. Look at his stats before the midseason injury; the breakout has already happened. There’s prospect pedigree to the moon. He just needs to stay healthy . . . On Biggio, the key is focusing on the OBP, not the average, and noting that he was a perfect 14-for-14 on the bases. The Toronto Legacy Lineup should be a nightly blast.

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio is an upside pick later in fantasy baseball drafts. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Plausible upside, depth grabs

$8 Jean Segura

$8 Tommy Edman

$8 Scott Kingery

$8 Cesar Hernandez

$7 Paul DeJong

$7 Brandon Lowe

$6 Didi Gregorius

$6 Starlin Castro

$5 Gavin Lux

$5 Kevin Newman

$5 Ryan McMahon

$5 Daniel Murphy

$5 Garrett Hampson

$5 Ian Happ

Cleveland usually takes a Bartleby approach to the offseason — add talent? they would prefer not to — but Hernandez was a sneaky under-the-radar signing, an OBP cog who can run and pop the occasional homer . . . Castro’s been ignored since he returned to the National League, but he’s a career .280 stick who now moves to a fairer offensive park . . . Lux is another pedigree kid, but the Dodgers will probably slot him in the bottom third and look for excuses to platoon him. Remember, Dave Roberts already has relationships with a bunch of veterans who offer 2B eligibility. It could happen for Lux this year, but at his ADP, you need him to be instantly great. I can’t make that bet, mostly because I’m specifically worried about his volume . . . Newman is screened on an anonymous Pittsburgh team, but he’s capable of a 15-homer, 20-steal season. He figures to bat leadoff all season, after wasting too much time in the 7-8 range last year.

[Yahoo Rankings: Overall | C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP]

Bargain Bin

$4 Kolten Wong

$4 Rougned Odor

$4 Luis Arraez

$4 Niko Goodrum

$3 Nick Senzel

$3 Michael Chavis

$3 Tommy La Stella

$3 Jonathan Schoop

$3 Andrelton Simmons

$3 Nick Madrigal

$3 Jon Berti

$3 Howie Kendrick

$2 Nick Solak

$2 Willy Adames

$2 Robinson Cano

$2 Nick Ahmed

$1 Dee Gordon

$1 Luis Urias

$1 Carter Kieboom

$1 Travis Shaw

$1 Jurickson Profar

$1 Mauricio Dubon

$1 Hanser Alberto

$1 Adam Frazier

$1 Freddy Galvis

$1 David Fletcher

$1 Asdrubal Cabrera

$1 Jose Peraza

$1 Shed Long

Previous Episodes

• Starting Pitcher Shuffle Up

• Corner Infield Shuffle Up

• Catcher Shuffle Up

Follow Scott Pianowski on Twitter

Listen to the Yahoo Fantasy Baseball Podcast