Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Updated rest-of-season corner infield values broken down by tiers

Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Updated rest-of-season corner infield values broken down by tiers

Austin Riley and Matt Olson are just two of the big names with corner infield eligibility who have struggled to deliver for fantasy baseball managers. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)

The Shuffle Up series rolls on with the corner infielders. This is how I would rank the player pool if I were entering a fantasy baseball draft today. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. Assume a 5×5 scoring system, as always.

The salaries are tied to data and observation but unscientific in nature. This isn't a formulaic exercise. The goal is to show where the pockets of value cluster. Players at the same salary are considered even.

After examining rest-of-season outfield rankings last week (with a slight tweak today), we now rank everyone with corner infield eligibility in Yahoo, other than the catchers who also pick up the corner tag. Catchers will get their own day down the road.

Respectful disagreements? That's good. That's why we play. Catch me on Twitter/X: @scott_pianowski.

And away we go.

One of the stunning things about this player pool is how many top players are disappointing. I did a rough survey of the Top 30 corners drafted in the spring, and 13 of them come down as significant disappointments to this point. Perhaps this is reflective of all offense in baseball right now — go look at the median average in your league, it's probably a depressing number — but it still feels like the corner position is getting stung more than other areas. Perhaps it's the collective age of the position, though the problems are obviously a lot more complicated than that.

Ramírez has the most banked value to this point, which underscores a couple of things. First, a .266 average is actually an asset in today's environment, and players who fill every category (he has those quiet eight steals) are always target players for us. I was worried Cleveland's lineup would be a drain on Ramírez, but the Guardians are third in runs per game.

De La Cruz can get a lot better, which is scary news for MLB. He's still swinging and missing an awful lot, and his slash is .225/.345/.310 against lefties. But he's capable of stealing 90 or more bases, he'll conk 25-30 homers, and after starting the year in the bottom half of the order, he's been parked in the No. 2 slot for the last month. He'll be on some magazine covers next spring.

It speaks to how great Freeman is that a season ticketed for 91 runs and 88 RBI can be seen as a major disappointment. Mind you, no one saw his power shrinking, and he's lost interest in stealing bases. Freeman's been neutral on luck, as his Savant page suggests a .277 average and .454 slugging, in line with the actual numbers. I don't want to think Freeman is in a major decline, but he's also in his age-34 season. It's about when the air starts quietly hissing out of the balloon.

"Draft all the Atlanta hitters" was a dream back in March, today it's a nightmare. Marcell Ozuna is the only destination bat who's lived up to expectations, and Travis d'Arnaud has been a handy replacement catcher. Riley's numbers were depressed by two weeks of day-to-day inactivity, but his OPS+ is still a puny 95. Olson is known for extended slumps given his strikeout and fly-ball profile, but he's also capable of hitting 10 homers in a month at any time. At least the bad luck sign is flashing with Olson, as his slugging percentage is 68 points below what the batted-ball profile suggests.

  • $23 Manny Machado

  • $22 Peter Alonso

  • $22 Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

  • $21 Christian Walker

  • $20 Alec Bohm

  • $20 Maikel Garcia

  • $19 Ryan McMahon

  • $17 Cody Bellinger

  • $17 Jordan Westburg

  • $15 Josh Naylor

  • $15 Spencer Steer

  • $15 Paul Goldschmidt

Maybe this is just what Alonso is, a three-category guy who will always hurt you in average and ding you with a limited amount of steals. Somehow the Mets rank 17th in runs per game; I would have guessed they were in the 20s somewhere. Alonso's pull and hard-hit rates are down, but just slightly. He can still make a push for 40 homers and the run production should come around. Just understand he's dragging you in two columns.

Garcia is another case of a balanced player who's banked more value than expected, given that his average is a plus and he has stolen 13 bases. Garcia is never going to have special power, but he's already topped last year's home-run total and he's bumped his slugging percentage by 61 points. He's an underrated player. Heck, I suspect some of his managers underrate him; this is the type of broad producer I like to target in trades.

Goldschmidt's BB/K ratio is still a mess, but he does have five homers over his last 13 games, along with a tidy .304/.350/.625 slash. I already viewed him as mostly in the Hall of Fame already, and I hope he can post the 1-2 more credible seasons likely needed to seal the deal. Don't look at Goldy's hard-hit page, it will only depress you.

It's the saddest Colorado lineup I can ever remember, but McMahon's in the midst of a career year, sporting a 137 OPS+ that's far past anything he's posted before. He's cut his strikeout rate significantly, mostly because he's making much better contact in the strike zone. And shocker of shockers, his slash is actually much better on the road (OPS bump of 100 points). This breakout feels legit.

  • $14 Jake Cronenworth

  • $14 Isaac Paredes

  • $13 Luis Rengifo

  • $13 Ha-seong Kim

  • $13 Nolan Arenado

  • $12 Matt Chapman

  • $12 Alex Bregman

  • $11 Luis Arráez

  • $10 Willi Castro

  • $9 Connor Joe

  • $9 Christopher Morel

  • $9 Nolan Gorman

I grant you it's a little depressing to look at that Angels lineup with Ohtani gone, Trout hurt and Rendon perhaps irrelevant for good, but there are some usable pieces here. Rengifo has taken control of the No. 2 slot in the lineup, has occasional pop and runs aggressively per the ethos of manager Ron Washington. There's no handedness issues here; Rengifo is a switch-hitter. And he's a super-utility hero in Yahoo, qualifying at four different positions. These are the glue guys who help you win.

Bregman still has elite pitch-recognition skills, he just doesn't hit the ball hard enough when he does make contact. All of his hard-hit sliders are pushed to the left side, the depressing side. To this point, he's earned a .216 average and .335 slugging. Bregman's career has always had a second-half tilt, which may or may not be predictive. I'm not ready to accept he's done at age 30.

  • $8 Ryan Mountcastle

  • $8 Vinnie Pasquantino

  • $8 Yandy Díaz

  • $7 David Fry

  • $7 Abraham Toro

  • $7 Anthony Santander

  • $7 Alec Burleson

  • $7 Jake Burger

  • $7 Dylan Moore

  • $6 Anthony Rizzo

  • $6 Mark Canha

  • $6 Ryan O'Hearn

  • $6 Luke Raley

  • $6 Spencer Torkelson

  • $6 Nathaniel Lowe

  • $6 Ke'Bryan Hayes

  • $5 Michael Busch

  • $5 Joey Ortiz

  • $5 Nolan Schanuel

  • $4 Tyler Freeman

  • $4 Matt Vierling

  • $4 Ty France

  • $4 Edmundo Sosa

  • $4 Isiah Kiner-Falefa

  • $4 Jeimer Candelario

  • $4 Justin Turner

Look past Moore's average and enjoy the category juice (six homers, eight steals, good lineup real estate too). He's a boon in OBP leagues, and that 143 OPS+ should mark his territory in the order. He's also capable of playing almost anywhere on the field.

Pasquantino is one of my favorite trade targets, as the Royals have been better than expected on offense and their first baseman has been comically unlucky. Pasquantino should be batting .274 and slugging .493 per his Statcast metrics, and his run production has been reasonable (on pace for 99 RBI). Tell your opponent you want to "trade for a corner" and see if you can sneakily work your way into a Pasquantino deal.

  • $3 Josh Smith

  • $3 Josh Bell

  • $3 Brendan Donovan

  • $3 Oswaldo Cabrera

  • $3 Eugenio Suarez

  • $3 Colt Keith

  • $3 Andrew Vaughn

  • $2 Jake Bauers

  • $2 Carlos Santana

  • $2 Josh Rojas

  • $2 Alex Kirilloff

  • $2 Brett Baty

  • $2 Whit Merrifield

  • $1 José Miranda

  • $1 Jon Singleton

  • $1 Gavin Sheets

  • $1 Kevin Newman

  • $1 Seth Brown

  • $1 Joey Meneses

  • $1 Elehuris Montero

  • $0 Kris Bryant

  • $0 José Abreu

  • $10 Royce Lewis

  • $9 Josh Jung

  • $8 Nolan Jones

  • $7 Rhys Hoskins

  • $7 Max Muncy

  • $5 Triston Casas

  • $5 Brandon Drury

  • $4 Jorge Polanco

  • $3 LaMonte Wade Jr.

  • $3 Christian Encarnacion-Strand


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