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Shuffle Up: What's wrong with Cody Bellinger?

The sophomore year hasn’t been as much fun for Cody Bellinger. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Shuffle Up season rolls on. Today, we tackle the corner infielders.

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. Everyone listed here has first-base or third-base eligibility in the Yahoo game at the current time (and I trimmed the catchers, since any catcher who can hit won’t be used here). Players at the same cost are considered even. I’m not ranking the injured guys; it just becomes a silly game of “Who has the most injury optimism?”

And I’m not a doctor. (Somebody get me a doctor.)

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.

Everything to this point is an audition, that’s it. If you want a ranking of who’s been the best to this point, you can get that elsewhere.

Have a day.

$42 Nolan Arenado
$41 Jose Ramirez
$40 Freddie Freeman
$39 Manny Machado
$35 Joey Votto
$33 Jose Abreu
$32 Kris Bryant
$30 Anthony Rizzo
$30 Paul Goldschmidt
$29 Anthony Rendon
$28 Javier Baez
$25 Edwin Encarnacion
$25 Scooter Gennett

Ramirez has turned himself into a power hitter, and his approach has clearly changed. His pull rate has spiked two straight years, up to a majors-high 55.2 percent this year, and he pushed his hard-hit rate last year and maintained it this season. His strike-zone mastery is elite: his chase rate is dropping, walks have spiked, strikeout rate is a tiny 10 percent. This is an MVP candidate.

Goldschmidt’s OPS is 250 points higher on the road, though he finally hit a couple of Arizona homers in the past week. Maybe the humidor was in his head. Oddly, he’s walking like crazy at home, and swinging from the heels on the road. He can’t see seen as a first-rounder right now, but he’s still likely to be a cornerstone piece.

Although Rendon has a paltry .239 average since returning, he’s conked five homers and has a .489 slugging over 25 games. He’s close to a spike. It’s a good time to try to ask about him in trade. This is likely true of a lot of players, but Rendon’s best average, OBP, and slugging month, historically, has always been June.

$24 Nick Castellanos
$22 Alex Bregman
$21 Mike Moustakas
$19 Miguel Sano
$18 Justin Turner
$16 Eugenio Suarez
$15 Ryon Healy
$15 C.J. Cron
$15 Travis Shaw
$14 Jesus Aguilar
$14 Eric Hosmer
$14 Eduardo Escobar
$14 Yonder Alonso
$14 Carlos Santana
$14 Mitch Moreland
$14 Justin Smoak
$14 Kyle Seager
$14 Matt Carpenter
$13 Evan Longoria
$13 Joey Gallo
$13 Maikel Franco
$12 Miguel Cabrera
$12 Asdrubal Cabrera
$12 Yangervis Solarte
$12 Matt Olson
$12 Justin Bour
$12 Cody Bellinger

The Tigers are an ordinary team going nowhere, but Castellanos is a legitimate star. His line-drive rate is over 30 percent (he’s also a Top 5 guy in hard-hit rate), though a dip in ground balls has dinged his home runs. He’s turned himself into a very good off-speed hitter, one thing that differentiates average batters from good batters from elite batters. He should be Detroit’s All-Star representative, though I would have no problem if Miggy got a legacy invitation, too.

Belinger’s ground-ball rate has spiked and his hard contact is down 6.5 percent. He’s being attacked with off-speed stuff, often in the zone, and struggling to do anything with it. He didn’t have a major platoon shift last year and it’s the same this year — he’s not hitting righties or lefties. The Astros built a book on how to pitch Bellinger last fall, and it’s up to Bellinger to adjust forward. To this point, he obviously hasn’t done it, and I’m being careful the remainder of the year. This is obviously not an optimistic ranking.

A lot of people want Shaw higher, excited about the home-run pace and perhaps overrating the lineup. Oddly, the Brewers, despite the names in their lineup, are just 15th in runs and 14th in OPS. Shaw has the splits you’d expect, crushing righties and doing better at home. The average is neutral and he’s not a base-runner, like most of the majors right now.

$11 Miguel Andujar
$11 Ryan Braun
$11 Colin Moran
$11 Rafael Devers
$10 Adrian Beltre
$9 Matt Adams
$9 Jeimer Candelario
$9 Yulieski Gurriel
$9 Max Muncy
$9 Jose Martinez
$8 Zack Cozart
$7 Jedd Gyorko
$7 Daniel Descalso
$7 Christian Villanueva
$7 Ian Desmond
$7 Logan Morrison
$7 Josh Bell
$7 Hanley Ramirez
$7 Jake Lamb
$6 Yolmer Sanchez
$6 Isiah Kiner-Falefa
$6 Ronald Guzman
$6 Miguel Rojas
$6 Niko Goodrum
$6 Brad Miller

Even though Adams is no longer a defensive sinkhole, the Nats are crowded enough to push his value into single-digits. I’d love to see him get 600 at-bats for someone someday, he could easily be a plus-average guy who socks 25-30 homers . . . Descalso might turn himself into this year’s Marwin Gonzalez. If nothing else, he’s more valuable than the pumpkin version of Marwin that we’re seeing . . . Villanueva crushes the lefties but righties are exposing him. He’s especially useful as a DFS specialist play . . . If Goodrum had a dedicated position, category juice would chase him up to $9-10.

$5 Albert Pujols
$5 Daniel Robertson
$5 Eduardo Nunez
$5 Trey Mancini
$5 Josh Harrison
$5 Matt Chapman
$5 Matt Duffy
$4 Derek Dietrich
$4 Kendrys Morales
$4 Jay Bruce
$4 Mark Reynolds
$4 Neil Walker
$3 Brian Anderson
$3 Scott Kingery
$3 Johan Camargo
$3 Danny Valencia
$3 Adrian Gonzalez
$3 Greg Bird
$2 Hernan Perez
$2 Pablo Sandoval
$1 Daniel Palka
$1 Pedro Alvarez
$1 Tommy La Stella
$1 Luis Valbuena
$1 David Freese
$1 Tyler Austin
$1 Chris Davis
$0 Jace Peterson

No ranks on the injured

Brandon Belt
Cheslor Cuthbert
Eric Thames
Joe Mauer
Josh Donaldson
Lucas Duda
Matt Davidson
Ryan Zimmerman
Ryhs Hoskins
Tim Beckham
Todd Frazier
Tyler Saladino
Wil Myers

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