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Pitcher Shuffle Up: Don't you wish you had all the Astros?

All of my aces live in Southeast Texas (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)ƒcas

Here’s the big one, the starting pitcher Shuffle Up. It’s going to look absurd in a day or a week because that’s how pitching is. This position is erratic, fickle, humbling, especially in the homer-friendly world of 2018.

What’s happened to this point is merely an audition. We’re trying to calibrate 5×5 value from here on out. Players at the same price are considered even. And if two guys are a buck apart, it’s not that big a difference, kids.

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I will not debate the injured pitchers. Assume a 5×5 scoring format, as always.

Game on.

$35 Justin Verlander
$35 Max Scherzer
$35 Corey Kluber
$34 Chris Sale
$33 Gerrit Cole
$30 Luis Severino
$28 Jacob deGrom
$27 Carlos Carrasco
$27 Noah Syndergaard
$26 Aaron Nola
$26 James Paxton
$26 Stephen Strasburg
$24 Zack Greinke
$23 Patrick Corbin
$23 Charlie Morton
$22 Rick Porcello
$22 Lance McCullers
$19 Jose Berrios
$18 Blake Snell
$18 Shohei Ohtani

Was leaving Pittsburgh the tonic for Cole? Pow-wows with Verlander and Keuchel? Getting a better feel for his breaking stuff, and how to use his fastball to set up his breaking stuff? If nothing else, appreciate that Houston, despite its look on television, is a pitcher’s park.

And this deep into the season, we have to be inclined that Cole’s growth is real. Anyone can have a lucky start or two. He’s whiffing 41 percent of his batters, while switching from a sinker profile to a fly-ball profile. See, fly-ball biases don’t have to be a bad thing. As Gene McCaffrey told us a million years ago, so long as a pitcher is exerting a significant tilt to the shape of the at-bats he pitches, he’s doing a good thing. (Meanwhile, Keuchel, Morton, and McCullers are all among the leaders in ground-ball rate. Whatever gets you through the night, and through the ninth.)

I’m still a full believer in Berrios. He’s made inroads with control while keeping his strikeout rate the same, and he’s getting a lot of chases out of the zone — there’s upside for even more strikeouts. He’s also nudged his ground-ball rate a little bit. If he can get anything out of his changeup, he’s going to be an ace.

With Paxton and Strasburg (and hell, Ohtani), the big question is, how many innings are you getting? Strasburg’s mean is less prohibitive given the shape of today’s game, but given the upside someone generally wants to chase on draft day, I rarely have shares of him.

$17 Sean Manaea
$17 Trevor Bauer
$17 Miles Mikolas
$17 Jon Lester
$17 Gio Gonzalez
$16 Sean Newcomb
$15 Dallas Keuchel
$15 Jake Arrieta
$14 J.A. Happ
$14 Mike Clevinger
$13 Alex Wood
$12 Kyle Hendricks
$12 Jack Flaherty
$11 Jose Quintana
$11 Luke Weaver
$11 Zack Godley

I probably held Mikolas’s earlier MLB resume against him, but given how long ago that was, it was an obvious mistake . . . Happ’s ERA should be lower if you accept the unluckiness of his homer rate. His K/BB numbers are moving in the right direction. The Regression Police was so taken aback at Happ’s 2016 season, he’s been underrated ever since . . . I don’t know why the entire National League doesn’t abuse Lester for his base-throwing mental block, but apparently they’re not going to do it.

$10 Tanner Roark
$10 Nick Pivetta
$10 Walker Buehler
$10 Jameson Taillon
$10 Masahiro Tanaka
$10 Fernando Romero
$10 Tyson Ross
$10 Julio Teheran
$10 David Price
$10 Garrett Richards
$9 Tyler Skaggs
$9 Eduardo Rodriguez
$9 Chris Archer
$9 Yu Darvish

$8 Zach Eflin
$8 Kyle Freeland
$8 Trevor Cahill
$8 Daniel Mengden
$8 Andrew Heaney
$8 Jake Odorizzi
$8 Kevin Gausman
$8 Kenta Maeda
$8 Michael Wacha
$8 Mike Foltynewicz
$8 Luis Castillo
$7 Jake Junis
$7 C.C. Sabathia
$7 Ross Stripling
$7 Junior Guerra
$7 Jaime Barria
$7 Vincent Velasquez
$6 Jeremy Hellickson
$6 Jordan Lyles
$6 Matt Boyd
$6 Trevor Williams
$6 Chase Anderson
$6 Caleb Smith
$5 Reynaldo Lopez
$5 Chad Bettis
$5 Cole Hamels

Kudos to Sabathia for reinventing himself, the Frank Tanana path to late-career relevance. He’s also made strides in his personal life, beating some demons; a very easy story to root for . . . Stripling could easily become a $10+ arm if the Dodgers commit to him . . . Folty is a 5-6 inning guy, but the strikeout stuff plays, especially in IP/capped leagues. I bet he’d be a knockout reliever if the team ever wanted to go that route . . . Hitting Cahill’s sinker is like hitting a brick. He’s in the right park, too. You could say this about the entire list, but he just needs health. Everything else is in place.

$4 Matthew Andriese
$4 Matt Koch
$4 Francisco Liriano
$4 Michael Fulmer
$4 Jordan Montgomery
$4 Tyler Chatwood
$4 Aaron Sanchez
$4 Jeff Samardzija
$4 Sonny Gray
$4 Brandon McCarthy
$3 *Nick Kingham
$3 Bartolo Colon
$3 Ryan Yarbrough
$3 Mike Fiers
$3 *Freddy Peralta
$3 Jacob Faria
$3 Jonathan Gray
$3 Dylan Bundy
$3 Felix Hernandez
$3 Drew Pomeranz
$2 Jarlin Garcia
$2 Wade LeBlanc
$2 Jhoulys Chacin
$2 Steven Matz
$2 Kyle Gibson
$2 Max Fried
$2 Tyler Mahle
$2 Marco Estrada
$2 Chad Kuhl
$2 Dan Straily
$2 Marco Gonzales
$2 German Marquez
$1 Brent Suter
$1 James Shields
$1 Jordan Zimmermann
$1 Chris Stratton
$1 Andrew Cashner
$1 Ian Kennedy
$1 Ty Blach
$1 Sal Romano
$1 Mike Leake
$1 Zack Wheeler
$0 Lucas Giolito

I’m not going to price any of the hurt guys. Do you have better medical intel? Are you more or less optimistic? That’s all it turns into.

xxx Clayton Kershaw
xxx Carlos Martinez
xxx Robbie Ray
xxx Johnny Cueto
xxx Rich Hill
xxx Joey Lucchesi
xxx Marcus Stroman
xxx Matt Shoemaker
xxx Hyun-Jin Ryu
xxx Mike Soroka
xxx Yonny Chirinos
xxx Zach Davies
xxx Matt Moore
xxx Wade Miley
xxx Adam Wainwright
xxx Ben Lively
xxx Brett Anderson
xxx Chris Tillman
xxx Martin Perez
xxx Miguel Gonzalez