Shortstop Consensus Ranks for the Second Half

A commenter brought up a common refrain on a discussion of the first base ranks yesterday. That commenter asked if I would trade my Mark Teixeira straight up for Adrian Gonzalez, since I had ranked Mark Teixeira one spot ahead of Adrian Gonzalez. It was a simple question, but it brought into focus many of my feelings about these rankings.

First, there’s no such league that I’ve ever been in where I have offered or received an offer of one player at one position for another player at the same position. That doesn’t mean that it never happens, or shouldn’t happen, it just means that the hypothetical doesn’t really match up with reality in a useful way. Then again, if you felt strongly about those two players, perhaps you would make that trade.

But I tend to think of players in tiers, and think of my needs at this point in the season.

So my answer was: sure, if I needed batting average more than I needed power. Because as much as I think Adrian Gonzalez can turn it around, I have to admit that Mark Teixeira‘s power is more stable at this point. You have to think about your needs, especially now that you have a fully formed roster and only half a season left.

Do I think the two players are in the same tier? Absolutely. So if I could finagle a trade in which I give up my Mark Teixeira and a pitcher, for example, and get your Adrian Gonzalez and a better pitcher, and that fit my needs, well then I would do that trade. In a heartbeat. Would I look around at the response that Gonzalez ranking got and consider him a buy-low? Yes I would.

And, honestly, I believe most of you are using these rankings that way. We have four ranks at your disposal, and these four ranks represent four different well-informed opinions. By looking across the line, you can see how different people in your league might value a player. And you can get an idea of which players are in a class with each other and which aren’t — Jimmy Rollins might be right behind Elvis Andrus, but a quick look at the variance in his rankings suggests that he’s not nearly on as sure of footing and probably belongs in the next tier. We also provide tiered rankings from our positional correspondents so you can see what the tiers might look like.

If you like Trevor Plouffe or Emilio Bonifacio more than some, you know to try and buy low. If you have Jimmy Rollins on your team and you kind of want to get rid of him, you can see that some people still value him highly, and you might get a decent return. There’s a lot of information here.

Would I take your Jose Reyes for my Starlin Castro? For sure, if I needed stolen bases ahead of anything else. But Jeff Zimmerman and Zach Sanders might not. Now you know that a bigger deal, where you give up Starlin Castro for Jose Reyes, and perhaps improve a starting pitcher, is a reasonable deal.

And that has value.


FanGraphs Consensus Rankings:
Shortstop
New Last Player Name Eno Sarris Mike Podhorzer Jeff Zimmerman Zach Sanders
1 3 Hanley Ramirez 1 1 1 5
2 4 Starlin Castro 3 3 2 1
3 2 Jose Reyes 2 2 5 2
4 5 Asdrubal Cabrera 4 5 3 3
5 6 Elvis Andrus 5 6 4 4
6 8 Jimmy Rollins 6 4 6 12
7 18 Ian Desmond 7 8 7 6
8 7 Derek Jeter 9 7 9 7
9 11 Alexei Ramirez 10 12 8 11
10 12 J.J. Hardy 11 10 14 17
11 N/A Trevor Plouffe 12 16 21 8
12 N/A Kyle Seager 13 19 10 15
13 10 Emilio Bonifacio 8 20 23 10
14 22 Jed Lowrie 14 9 32 9
15 17 Mike Aviles 15 17 16 19
16 21 Rafael Furcal 18 11 22 18
17 9 Dee Gordon 22 18 18 13
18 14 Jhonny Peralta 20 13 17 23
19 13 Erick Aybar 25 21 13 14
20 16 Zack Cozart 16 15 15 28
21 20 Alcides Escobar 17 23 20 16
22 19 Marco Scutaro 21 22 12 22
23 15 Yunel Escobar 19 14 19 26
24 1 Troy Tulowitzki 23 24 11 32
25 30 Ruben Tejada 24 32 30 21
26 24 Stephen Drew 27 27 29 25
27 23 Cliff Pennington 26 25 25 33
28 27 Sean Rodriguez 28 30 28 30
29 32 Ryan Theriot 34 33 27 24
30 26 Alexi Casilla 29 29 34 27
31 N/A Everth Cabrera 31 26 33 31
32 29 Jamey Carroll 32 34 38 20
33 31 Clint Barmes 30 31 36 35
34 N/A Andrelton Simmons 37 36 24 36
35 N/A Willie Bloomquist 38 35 31 29
36 N/A Brian Dozier 35 38 26 38
37 28 Jason Bartlett 40 28 35 34
38 N/A Brendan Ryan 33 39 37 40
39 N/A Jonathan Herrera 36 40 40 37
40 N/A Brandon Crawford 39 37 39 39




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


65 Responses to “Shortstop Consensus Ranks for the Second Half”

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  1. JCA says:

    I don’t see Elliott Johnson rated. Do you expect Rodriguez to push him out of the SS job when Longoria is back? His first half was solidly middle of the pack or even a touch better (counting steals for fantasy purposes).

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  2. Scott Clarkson says:

    Wow, Lowrie would be ranked so much higher if Jeff Zimmerman didn’t have him ranked so much lower than the rest of the 4-man panel. As a Red Sox fan I am painfully aware that the kid has been injury prone but they’re doing a nice job of spelling him here and there in Houston and getting consistent PT was always his biggest problem in Boston. I see no reason he can’t continue to pop 10+ HR over the 2nd half w/ a 260ish BA plus getting a bit of a counting stat bump hitting around the middle of the order in Houston. #14 is not a terrible ranking but he’s fringe top 10 IMO.

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    • Scott Clarkson says:

      A follow up: who would rather have JJ Hardy or Alexei Ramirez than Lowrie? Especially if you play in an OBP league Hardy has been death this year and ditto for Alexei who is also killing you in SLG/OPS.

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      • nosferatu says:

        I know that my holding onto Peralta ahead of those two has been a bit about stubbornness and worry that he’ll get hot one of these days, but my league counts XBH, Ks, and BBs, and I just can’t convince myself to grab one of those guys for the way it might crush my weekly stats in certain areas. The upside just isn’t there unless Hardy gets on a hot streak.

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      • batpig says:

        I’d definitely rather have JJ Hardy than Lowrie. It’s the same skillset — mediocre AVG, no steals, but good power for the position — but JJ has a much longer track record of this type of production.

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    • kid says:

      No kidding – 32nd best fantasy SS going forward? He’d pretty much have to go hitless for the ROS or spend the balance of it on the DL.

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  3. DQ says:

    how is ma boi alcides ranked so low here? great average, great speed, plenty of runs…alcides….

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    • Ashman says:

      34 runs in 300 ab is considered plenty these days?

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    • Vinny says:

      Alcides is the uper middle class man’s Elvis Andrus

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      • JR Ewing says:

        Yes interesting that with Alcides having his best year so far he’s dropped in the rankings. Look like it’s more a matter of SS not being nearly as shallow this year as it appeared to be prior to the season. Guys like Aviles, Lowrie, Seager, Plouffe, and Desmond stepping up have really turned a shallow position into a reasonably deep position considering most leagues only start 1 SS per team.

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  4. AlecTrevelyan006 says:

    I like how Lowrie’s rankings are listed as 14, 9, 32, 9.

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  5. Oliver says:

    Not to rehash yesterday’s AGon debate, but I think there’s a difference between buying low and wondering if someone is broken.
    AGon’s ISOs
    2009: .274
    2010: .213
    2011: .210
    2012: .133
    (looks trendish)

    Buying low is trying to get someone who has underperformed for inexplicable reasons when underlying numbers suggest room for improvement. Adrian Gonzalez’s numbers are explicable (nagging problems with his shoulder) and don’t show much room for improvement, unless he suddenly heals.

    In June of 2011 AGon had a .303 ISO. Since June of 2011, his highest monthly ISO is .205. He’s broken.

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    • Peter says:

      Let’s keep this discussion on shortstops, please. Plenty of A-Gon discussion in 1B post.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        yeah and using ISO, which takes the longest of any stat to stabilize (other than BABIP), isn’t enough of an argument for me.

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      • Oliver says:

        Fair enough. But His HR/FB% this year has stabilized, and if we take July 2011-July of 2012 as a sample (arbitrary, obviously) he has well over the 550 PA for ISO to stabilize (371 in 2012, 303 in 20122).

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  6. lester bangs says:

    Jed Lowrie at 32 is obviously absurd.

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    • Mario Mendoza of commenters says:

      Zimmerman: Explain thyself!

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      • lester bangs says:

        I don’t know what’s under the hood of Zips, but if it’s sharply based on past production and playing time, any improving player who asserts himself into a job (or even just someone who *has* to play because his team isn’t good) will be misranked. This is the hole of 3-Year Averages, they don’t incorporate data that a non-stat married owner can diagnose. Playing time isn’t always easy to know in March, but it should be now in most instances.

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      • batpig says:

        It’s ridiculous to use ROS ZiPS as the sole basis for rankings without any adjustment for playing time. They might as well just have a “ZiPS” column and view it as the “automated” ranking as a counterweight to the more subjective human rankings, and keep it distinct so you don’t have crazy differentiations screwing up the rankings.

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      • Jeff Zimmerman says:

        Lester Bangs sums it up pretty good. That is why we decided to use different methods and people.

        I stated when this process started, I was basing my values off just the player’s projected values. When, I saw the rankings, Lowrie stood out like a sore thumb, but I am not going back to change the values.

        I am looking at adding another variable to see if a player has actually changed their talent level in some way (pitch speed, batted ball distance, etc.).

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      • batpig says:

        but why not make PT adjustments? you can still use ZiPS RoS values and then simply extrapolate when you have better information about PT issues (e.g. injured players like Tulo or players who have won greater playing time like Lowrie). This is exactly what I do in my personal rankings. Sometimes it’s reasonable for a human operator to manually override the automated system when he has better information.

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  7. kid says:

    Is there a consensus #1 player at a position that you feel less good about taking than Hanley Ramirez? Sure, the counting numbers look good, but the rate stats are a mess and he’s still a headcase. I’ve never owned him in fantasy, and never will.

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    • Ben G. says:

      I agree with this. I have him on my team and his inconsistency is giving me fits. When he’s going, he’s great, but the slumps he’s been getting into make me want to set stuff on fire.

      Thank god I have Jed Lowrie as well.

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  8. Mario Mendoza of commenters says:

    Lowrie has best OPS of all NL SS… by a LOT!

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  9. Grayne Wetsky says:

    Has anyone noticed how often Starlin has been Caught Stealing? Without looking, I think it’s up to 11? He makes enough bonehead plays in the field to give Sveum heart burn… does anyone else think Castro will be cutting down on SB attempts ROS? I certainly do. His value is tied to AVG and SBs, so I’m beginning to feel bearish. Thoughts…

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    • Vinny says:

      How many of those CS are him napping at 1B and getting picked off?

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    • mike says:

      I had no idea, I remember him swiping a bunch of bags at the beginning of the year, but it’s sort of remarkable how much he’s already dropped off in the sb department. He hasn’t stolen a base in a month. 0 for 4 in that time. He’s 1 for 5 in sbs since June 1 (admittedly an arbitrary cut-off).

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    • Jason says:

      I’ve certainly noticed, and it’s pissing me off. Dude needs to get his head in the game. I’m hoping it’s just bad luck.

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  10. supgreg says:

    Was this ranking made in 2010? How is Hanley on top of 3 of the lists?

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    • batpig says:

      because (1) Troy Tulowitzki is injured and (2) Hanley still represents an unmatched power/speed combo at SS that is fantasy gold. Even though he’s not a .300 hitter anymore, his production in the other four categories is the cream of the crop for the position. And, considering that his K% is stable with his career numbers but he has a .269 BABIP, it’s reasonable to expect him to hit better than his current .248 AVG going forward.

      Consider the other 4 categories: 46 R, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 12 SB. Who among SS can even come close to matching that?

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      • Sam Samson says:

        Ian Desmond and his 46 R, 17 HR, 51 RBI and 11 SB so far – with a .285 AVG – say hi.

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  11. Calogero says:

    I have a theory about Alexei Ramirez. No one ever actually pays attention to what he’s doing, but always just decides to stick him between tiers. He usually has stronger second halves, sure, but this is a dude who has NEVER posted an OBP over .333, is 30 years old, and has trended down in BB%, K% and almost everything else, despite having a better BABIP than last year. But since he has been decent some of the past few years, he’s safe to slot in before all the other guys that aren’t as “proven”, I guess?

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    • Mario Mendoza of commenters says:

      Bingo bango.

      The Nickname Effect: Anyone called “the Cuban Missile” has to be good, right?

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  12. Jay29 says:

    “First, there’s no such league that I’ve ever been in where I have offered or received an offer of one player at one position for another player at the same position.”

    Really?? I make those kinds of offers all the time, like trying to trade an OF with a high BABIP for one with a low BABIP. Trading within a position means you’re hoping your evaluation of a player is more accurate than your opponent’s, and nobody’s team ends up imbalanced.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I did say I know it happens, but I can’t remember the last time it happened in a league of mine. It’s just… obvious what you’re trying to do. These days, if you want to buy low, you gotta sneak in some side tactic. Add a player in, trade for a different position, make it look like a needs trade.

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      • hitbullwinsteak says:

        What is “sneaky” about a trade offer? If I offer you a trade, I’m basically telling you “I like your guy(s) more than my guy(s)”. Bottom line, if I’m sick of a guy like Desmond Jennings, and I’m willing to pay for your overachieving Angel Pagan, then that’s a reasonable offer. You might decide Pagan isn’t that fun and you prefer Jennings’ natural talent and potential. “I want your guy more than I want mine”. Heck, I’ll type it up in my next trade offer “I THINK YOUR GUY WILL BE BETTER THAN MY GUY THATS WHY IM OFFERING THIS.”

        In summary, I completely disagree, and I think that buying low is more about timing. Trading a guy who is HOT for a guy who is COLD, that is how you buy low. Trading is emotional, and plenty of owners use in-the-moment emotion or feelings about a player in their decision process.

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      • Peter says:

        Surprised you don’t ever try these top of trades, Eno. One tactic I use that seems to work well, especially with SP, is to simply come up with my ROS rankings, then offer my guy for the top 10 guys I have ranked directly above him. It takes only one owner to disagree about my rankings for a trade to go through.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        I dunno, if I got an offer of Rafael Furcal for my struggling Hanley Ramirez after the first month or six weeks or something, I’d be like, dude, I drafted my guy for a reason. I did just try to get Adrian Gonzalez with a buy-low, using Lucas Duda and a pitcher, but if I offered him Kevin Youkilis straight up I feel like I’d just get laughed at. I buy low all the time, but I usually add players together or go from one position to another position. Guess it’s just how I work. I haven’t seen a ton of ‘challenge trades’ in my league either.

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      • Peter says:

        Right, I understand not wanting to piss anyone off with stupid offers like Furcal for Hanley, but what is wrong with offering the SP you have ranked as #50 for the SPs you have ranked #49-40? Its an easy way to (hopefully) upgrade your roster, and it works more than you must think.

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      • jrogers says:

        I find these trades really tough to pull off in leagues with friends who know me as “the guy who knows all those stats” (Humblebrag!). I’ve even gotten the response, “If you think this deal is good for you, that makes me not want to do it!”

        It’s easier to talk someone into the possibility that a trade might be good for both teams; a same-position challenge deal doesn’t permit that.

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  13. SF 55 for life says:

    Probably a dumb question but I’ll ask anyway, are these rankings based off their first halves or based off what they will do in the second?

    Isn’t Tulowitzki due back in a few weeks? Seems strange to rank him so low especially because he tends to have incredible streaks towards the end of the season IIRC.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      rest-of-season projections. I guess we all had different ideas about when he might return!

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    • batpig says:

      Tulowitzki had his surgery on June 21 and isn’t expected back for 6-8 weeks. So that puts his return at best at the beginning of August, but probably closer to mid-August. So considering the loss of the next 3-5 weeks of games played, the ranking is pretty reasonable.

      I assume Zimmerman is simply using ROS ZiPS, which projects 259 AB, without adjusting the playing time for the injury news, thus his ranking being so out of line with the others.

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      • Jeff Zimmerman says:

        For Tulo. I assumed a 10 team league and would take the 10th best SS and sit Tulo on the bench for later. He is useless now, so use the best available until he returns.

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      • jrogers says:

        So then shouldn’t Tulo be ranked higher, like in the top 10? 6 weeks of Tulo plus 6 weeks of the 10th-best shortstop is better than taking only the 10th-best shortstop, no?

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  14. kid says:

    Position-for-position trades never made sense to me – essentially you’re saying that you think the player you’re asking for is going to be better than the one you’re giving up on a one-to-one basis. Unless it’s the case of a headache-for-headache (no more hyphens, I promise) trade, say Agon for Hoz, where maybe it’s simply a matter of you can’t stand the guy on your roster any longer and anybody else seems better.

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  15. Adam says:

    I just want to clarify one thing… Not trying to re hash yesterdays argument about A Gon, but the point of Tex for A Gon wasn’t using Tex specifically and turning it into analyzing the categorical needs. He was just the easiest example because he was the next guy ranked on your list. I acknowledged in my comment that it was an “impossible hypothetical situation.” Not to mention Tex isn’t having such a great season himself.

    The point was more just questioning whether or not you truly would rather have, in a vacuum where you can’t cop out with the categorical needs qualifier (say for example you have a league where its starting from scratch, everyone has zero in every category and you are redrafting. Again, impossible hypothetical, I know) A Gon over some of those guys behind him. And that goes for any of the ranks as well, I just feel like the purpose of rankings is trying to identify in that impossible hypothetical situation who you would take. And I just disagree strongly with anyone who, in that hypothetical situation, would select Adrain Gonzalez over many of the guys ranked behind him.

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  16. cs3 says:

    very interesting that Eric Hahmann, the guy who posts all the monthly shortstop updates, is not even one of the guys who has a vote in this.

    why is that?

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      He’s responsible for the tiered rankings and keeping you up to date on the news for the position. We tried to get a few guys with extra time on their hands to run these rankings.

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    • nosferatu says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s the same four guys who do the consensus ranks for every position. Not any tricky business.

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    • cs3 says:

      reasonable explanation, but still just seems weird

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    • batpig says:

      I think it’s most likely that the four guys recognize Eric’s continued incompetence and don’t want to let him have a say. Remember this is the guy who had Jed Lowrie ahead of Hanley Ramirez in a fantasy ranking.

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  17. lester bangs says:

    In other words, Lowrie is a Top 10-20 shortstop (at minimum) just by showing up.

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  18. nosferatu says:

    I’ve been tempted pretty frequently (whenever he hits the waiver wire in my 10 team league) to drop Peralta for Seager, but looking at his home/road splits, I just can’t pull the trigger–it feels like, for basically half the games he plays, I’ll have an utter black hole at SS (OPS of .525 at home!) and my bench isn’t deep enough to keep around a platoon guy.

    With a lineup that, as of now, I’m pretty pleased with, isn’t there something to be said for some mild consistency to hold down the fort at a position like SS?

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    • majnun says:

      If it’s not a head to head league splits even out no? I like platoony types. When I happen to have an bench spot I can actually platoon. Worst case I get the averaged out numbers.

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  19. TheTinDoor says:

    What would you do at MI with this situation?

    For 2B, SS, and MI, I have 4 dudes:
    Alexei Ramirez
    Derek Jeter
    Kelly johnson
    Em. Bonifacio

    My OF & Util are clogged up so there’s no room to move Bonifacio there…worst OF is probably Coco Crisp, is that the move?

    These rankings seem to put Kelly Johnson on the outside looking in, but his HR/speed/team context combo makes that a tough move for me. Thoughts?

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    • nosferatu says:

      I like KJ’s upside more than Ramirez’s, but I guess it depends on league context. If it’s an OPB or walks league, I think KJ’s definitely got a head up on Ramirez.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      find someone who still loves Jeter?

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      • IronyMan says:

        Don’t think that Jeter’s mom is playing in their league.

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      • TheTinDoor says:

        trust me, I tried selling Jeter in early May. No buyers then, so can’t imagine I’ll get much bite now…
        Some type of trade is probably the right call if I can move quickly before E-Bones comes off the DL

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        I guess any of them really. Try Sexei and then Bonifacio. Not quite bad enough to drop. One of them has to have trade value.

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  20. Razor says:

    Can someone please explain to me what the color coding means?

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Dark green and dark red are big moves. light green and light red are small moves. That changes as you go further down the list. Basically a move of 1 in the first ten is small, two in the second ten, three in the third ten and so on.

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