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Fantasy Baseball infield rest-of-season rankings tiers

It’s the last month for our fantasy Shuffle Up series, so we’re going to blow things out. Today’s assignment is the full infield, anyone with 1B, 2B, SS or 3B eligibility in the Yahoo game. What’s happened to this point is an audition, but we’re trying to figure out where these stocks are headed.

Anyone currently on the injured list is not ranked; I’ll lump most of those guys at the bottom. Everyone has to decide how much injury optimism they want in their lives.

Working through this exercise, I realize how much the Atlanta and Texas offenses have dominated fantasy baseball in 2023. All four Braves infielders are headed to the All-Star Game, while three Rangers infielders are headed to Seattle. If you land on the right destination offenses in fantasy, things become a lot easier.

Players with the same salary are considered even. And the salaries themselves are unscientific in nature; the tags are used as a way to compare players and to illustrate where the clusters of talent are.

The Big Tickets

$41 Freddie Freeman

$40 Matt Olson

$37 Marcus Semien

$36 Ozzie Albies

$34 Wander Franco

$33 Bo Bichette

$33 Elly De La Cruz

$32 José Ramírez

Freeman is no longer a shiny new toy, but his quiet consistency earns first-round value just about every year. The .318 average quietly earns keep in the most underrated offensive category, and he’s even mixed 11 steals into his five-category profile. The Dodgers lineup isn’t as deep as it’s been in recent years, but the top half remains full of buoyancy. . . Olson is a neutral average source and won’t run much, but he’s dominating three categories and that pushes him to this ticket. He’s capable of hitting 60 homers, and he’s also on pace to top 130 runs scored and RBI. . . Semien’s quiet consistency was a round underrated in the spring; he’s a delightful volume play at the front of the Texas offense, capable of doing a little bit of everything. He’s also remarkably durable. . . Franco always had the look of a future batting champion, but this year he’s bumped up the power and taken an aggressive stance on the bases. Tampa Bay’s lineup feels like a new card every day, but Franco and Randy Arozarena are going to be in there every night Franco also just turned 22; it’s scary to think he can get a lot better. . .

The on-pace game can often be a fool’s errand, but let’s have some fun with De La Cruz, who just made it to 26 games, basically one-sixth of a full season. If you project his production to a full season, we’re looking at a .318-100-24-56-44 line. We’d like to see a reduction in strikeouts, and we’ll see how De La Cruz reacts to the inevitable adjustments teams are going to make on him. But I see him as a potential fantasy overbuy next spring, someone who might even sneak into the first round. Wheels up for this kid, and this Reds offense.

Legitimate Building Blocks

$29 Rafael Devers

$28 Jonathan India

$27 Ketel Marte

$26 Austin Riley

$26 Pete Alonso

$26 Trea Turner

$25 Christian Walker

$25 Bobby Witt Jr.

$25 Francisco Lindor

$25 Vladimir Guerrero

$24 Paul Goldschmidt

$24 Nolan Arenado

$24 Corey Seager

$23 Josh Jung

$21 Spencer Steer

$21 Luis Arráez

Witt still struggles with the OBP part of the game, but the pop always plays, and it feels like he tries to steal every time he reaches first base. And there’s also some potential growth for his average. It was a little over the skis to take him in the first round back in March, but he still has a chance to meet those lofty expectations. . . India has been a better fantasy producer than a real-life one (his OPS+ is merely 102, but he’s offering category juice and the Reds have a deep lineup working in a giveaway home park . . . At least Turner is still dominating the bases, a perfect 18-for-18. He’ll probably chase over 100 runs by season’s end, too. But a .248/.302/.387 slash is shockingly mediocre for a player this good, and it’s another case of a big- name free agent struggling after he fetched a big contract and headed to a new city . . .

Toronto was supposed to be an offensive giveaway this year, in part to new dimensions, but it’s actually played as an extreme pitcher’s park. The shape of Guerrero’s season fits that narrative — he’s slashing .247/.324/.373 at home, but it bumps to .304/.372/.526 on the road. I’ve priced Guerrero where a second-half comeback is possible, but I am not going to hold onto the MVP push I was expecting in March.

Talk them Up, Talk them Down

$19 Nico Hoerner

$19 Alex Bregman

$18 Yandy Díaz

$17 Manny Machado

$16 Josh Naylor

$15 Nathaniel Lowe

$15 Xander Bogaerts

$14 Bryson Stott

$14 José Altuve

$13 Isaac Paredes

$13 Alec Bohm

$13 Ha-seong Kim

$13 Gleyber Torres

$13 Matt Chapman

$13 Whit Merrifield

$13 Jeremy Peña

$12 Ryan McMahon

$12 Max Muncy

$12 Nolan Gorman

$12 Ty France

$12 Dansby Swanson

$12 Matt McLain

$12 José Abreu

Paredes would push to $16-18 if the Rays would make an everyday commitment to him. . . Bogaerts shouldn’t be embarrassed with a 111 OPS+, even if it’s his worst output in six years. The bags have kept his fantasy value in a respectable area, but he’s never been a dominant power source and he’s batting 30 points below his career average. . . The Cubs landed Swanson after his career year; his OPS+ has dropped a modest nine points, but his fantasy value takes a bigger hit from his reluctance to run. . .

Torres probably won’t ever become the superstar we called for 5-6 years ago, but his OPS+ is in the positive and he offers pop and volume-driven stolen bases. That said, the Yankees offense without Aaron Judge is a ghost town; looking at this lineup is like staring at the sun.

Some Plausible Upside

$11 Jeimer Candelario

$11 JD Davis

$11 Andrew Vaughn

$11 Ezequiel Tovar

$11 Anthony Rizzo

$11 LaMonte Wade

$11 Orlando Arcia

$11 Willy Adames

$10 Cody Bellinger

$10 Carlos Correa

$9 Anthony Volpe

$9 Brendan Donovan

$8 Carlos Santana

$8 Jorge Mateo

$8 Gunnar Henderson

$7 Geraldo Perdomo

$7 Jake Burger

$7 Adam Frazier

$7 CJ Abrams

$7 Owen Miller

$7 Tim Anderson

$6 Spencer Torkelson

$6 Mauricio Dubón

$6 Eugenio Suarez

$5 Luis García

$5 Taylor Walls

$5 Andrés Giménez

$5 Ryan Noda

$5 Michael Garcia

$5 Brandon Lowe

Lane Thomas is the Washington star, but Candelario isn’t too far behind, settling into the No. 3 spot and putting up decent run production. He might get a fair amount of attention at the trade deadline. . . Donovan is never going to be a big category juice star, but the Cardinals love that .378 OBP at the top of the lineup, and he qualifies at five different positions for Yahoo managers. . . If you were patient with Henderson, he repaid you in June: .320/.354/.640, with six homers. He’s taken a step back in July but five games don’t matter much to me. He’s an obvious future star. . .

Adames is taking more walks this year but perhaps it also means he’s passing on good pitches to hit. He’s far too good a stick to be sitting on a .208/.292/.384 line, although he does have 13 homers and reasonable run production. Christian Yelich has been a quiet star again for the Brewers, but this is not a deep lineup.

Bargain Bin

$4 JP Crawford

$4 Amed Rosario

$4 Garrett Cooper

$4 Paul DeJong

$4 Jeff McNeil

$4 Ryan O’Hearn

$4 CJ Cron

$4 Anthony Rendon

$3 Jake Cronenworth

$3 Kevin Newman

$3 Wilmer Flores

$3 Brett Baty

$3 Alex Kirilloff

$3 Casey Schmitt

$2 Javier Baez

$2 Patrick Wisdom

$2 Nick Senzel

$2 Jonathon Berti

$2 Joey Gallo

$2 Miguel Vargas

$2 Triston Casas

$2 Dominic Smith

$2 Ramón Urías

$2 Donovan Solano

$2 Yuli Gurriel

$2 Kyle Farmer

$2 Eduardo Escobar

$2 Brandon Crawford

$2 Andy Ibañez

$2 Harold Castro

$2 Mike Ford

$2 Joey Votto

$1 Kiké Hernandez

$1 Evan Longoria

$1 Jose Caballero

$1 Emmanuel Rivera

$1 Luis Rengifo

$1 DJ LeMahieu

$1 Mike Moustakas

$1 Jace Peterson

$1 Josh Rojas

$1 Rodolfo Castro

$1 Tony Kemp

$1 Cavan Biggio

$1 Edmundo Sosa

$1 Christian Arroyo

$1 Rougned Odor

$1 Brice Turang

$1 Joseph Wendle

$1 Garrett Hampson

$1 Josh Donaldson

$1 Elvis Andrus

$1 Zack Short

$1 Zach Remillard

Currently Injured — Not For Debate

$0 Thairo Estrada

$0 Brandon Drury

$0 Ryan Mountcastle

$0 Ke’Bryan Hayes

$0 Chris Taylor

$0 Rowdy Tellez

$0 Gio Urshela

$0 Zach Neto

$0 Vinnie Pasquantino

$0 Nick Madrigal

$0 Royce Lewis

$0 Jorge Polanco

$0 Yoán Moncada

Previous Shuffles

Corner Infielders (May 16)

Middle Infielders (May 23)

Outfielders (May 30)

Starting Pitchers (June 6)