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Treating Fantasy like the game it is

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Welcome back, everyone, to your favorite game show: Unnecessary Game Show Themed Column! Today, we have our 12-time defending champion, Sheila, facing you, the Reader. It's very meta, which adds to the fun. Sheila, it says here you own a bakery in Schenectady, New York.

"That's right, Jack. And muffin's going to hold me back from winning this show!" [crowd groans]

Sheila, your puns are insufferable. But let's move on. As you know, this show takes pretty much every game you've ever known, steals their formats, and mashes it all together into one fun time. Today's topic: Fantasy Baseball. Sheila, you look surprised.

"I...er...don't know much about that topic."

Such is life. Onwards and upwards! Let's get to the game!

"I'll take 'Who Am I' for 200 points."

I am a rookie pitcher who played in Japan for five seasons before joining an American League team. I currently have a 3-0 record with a 2.68 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 28 strikeouts in 37 innings. Who am I?

"I know this! Yu Darvish!"

Sorry, Sheila, that is wrong. Reader?

Wei-Yin Chen?

That's correct! Chen spent five years in Japan's Pacific League, never having an ERA above 3.00. And 100 bonus points to Reader if you can guess his ERA in 2009.

1.54?

Correct again! Impressive in any league! For an additional 500 points, Reader, can you tell me how many leagues Chen is owned in?

34 percent?

Right again! This is exciting. Chen's ERA is slightly higher than Darvish's 2.54, but his WHIP is markedly lower than Darvish's 1.46. Darvish almost doubles up Chen's strikeout total and has more wins, but Chen has flown under the radar, making him a far better Fantasy option than some players owned in more leagues: Francisco Liriano (40 percent), Bronson Arroyo (41), Phil Hughes (41), Clay Buchholz (65) ...

"Wait ... so why are people ignoring him?"

Sheila, I just ask the questions, I don't answer them. But hey, you're up again. Roll those huge styrofoam dice in front of you in a comically inept manner ... and oh! Three and five make eight!

Here's a list of players owned in eight percent of leagues. Tell me which one doesn't belong: Archie Bradley, Matt Adams, Mike Montgomery, Jason Bartlett, Travis Snider.

"Mike Montgomery -- his name is the only one whose first and last names begin with the same letter?"

Judges? Oh, sorry, Sheila. Good guess, but not the answer we were looking for. Reader?

Jason Bartlett is the only player in that group currently in the major leagues.

Correct again! Bartlett's star hasn't shone very brightly in a while, but he has averaged 21 steals over the last three years with a .272 average. This year, however, he has taken a step back, hitting just .135 with no steals. He has been playing rather sporadically, and, with Everth Cabrera hitting .328 and leading the PCL in steals with 14, it could be time for a desperate owner in a deeper league to maybe stash Cabrera on the chance that Bartlett doesn't see the end of May.

"What's an Everth?"

Susan, I can't help you there. But it's your turn to play PLINKO!

"I get to guess prices of household products and then drop discs down a board to win money?"

No. You get to rank these pitchers for the rest of the season: Paulino, Lincecum, Isringhausen, Niese, Kuroda, Ogando.

"Pass."

Reader?

Lincecum, Niese, Kuroda, Paulino, Ogando, Isringhausen

Right you are, Reader. You're giving Lincecum the benefit of the doubt, even in light of whispers about his health and decreased velocity. You're then recognizing Niese's 1.22 WHIP and the fact that he really had just one bad start, against Houston on May 1. Kuroda should eventually return to something close to the pitcher he was in Los Angeles -- in his last three starts, he's quietly begun that turnaround, giving up just five total runs. Paulino can get your team a ton of strikeouts, but he's got an erratic ERA and WHIP history. Ogando has been pitching brilliantly in relief for the Rangers, and there's always a chance he could contribute with an occasional save or possible start at any point. And Isringhausen, although he hasn't gotten into the mix just yet, is always capable of closing a game here or there.

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"Can we maybe mix in some 19th Century Art?"

I'm sorry, Sheila. Not today. But you do get to guess owned and start percentages of some players in our leagues. Ready?

"Maybe...?"

Great. Let's start with Juan Pierre. .340 average, five steals, 12 runs scored in 88 at-bats. Over or under 20 percent?

"Over!"

Oooooh, I'm sorry, Sheila. He's only owned in 17 percent of leagues. And started in just 10. Let's try again. Michael Pineda. No stats. Out for the season with a shoulder injury. Over or under ownership in 30 percent of leagues?

"...under?"

I'm sorry, Sheila, this just isn't your lucky day. Pineda is owned in 34 percent of leagues. The judges tell me they're assuming most of these are keeper leagues.

"What's a keeper league?"

I'm sorry, Sheila, I'm not allowed to tell you that. But let's try to make it a little easier for you. Who is owned in more leagues? Danny Duffy or Andy Pettitte?

"You want me to say the guy with the same letters for first and last name again, so I'm going to say Pettitte."

I'm sorry, Sheil--oh wait. You said Pettitte. You're right. The man who hasn't pitched yet this season for the Yankees -- but will have by this weekend -- is owned in 45 percent of leagues. Duffy, meanwhile, a fellow lefty, is owned in 34 percent of leagues. But while Pettitte and Duffy could conceivably end up with a similar ERA (the judges are saying we have to give the nod to Pettitte for WHIP), Duffy is good for a strikeout per inning, while Pettitte likely won't end up anywhere near that.

I agree.

Reader, I almost forgot about you! It's your turn to select a category.

I like 'Who Am I'...maybe for 600?

I am ranked 12th in the majors with seven steals, even though I've only had 50 at-bats.

Tony Campana?

You are correct, Reader. Campana has more steals than Maicer Izturis, Hanley Ramirez, Elvis Andrus or Alejandro De Aza. For 1000 bonus points, can you name the player tied for 12th with Campana, who has had just 31 at-bats?

Brent Lillibridge?

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Correct again! Although he had six steals in April and hasn't stolen a base since May 4, the White Sox outfielder has as many steals as Campana. Sheila, what percentage of leagues is he owned in, for 2500 points?

"Two?"

Is that a guess?

"I meant to say 'who?'"

Brent Lillibridge.

"...Two?"

You're actually correct, Sheila. Huzzah to you. Let's move to the speed round. Rickie and Jemile Weeks or Rafael and Alfonso Soriano. Which two have more combined ownership percentage?

Rickie and Jemile

You are correct again. Alfonso (48 percent) and Rafael (47) lose to Rickie (96) and Jemile (76). Although those numbers may change if Jemile continues to slump and Rafael works his way into some saves in the Yankees bullpen. Next question: Roy Halladay or Matt Holliday: who has more Fantasy points so far this season?

Halladay?

Yes. But it's closer than you might think. Halladay has 122 points, Holliday has 95 in standard scoring. Bonus question, Reader: Who has more points, Halladay or James Shields?

Shields?

Correct. By one point.

"You guys are nerds."

Thank you, Sheila. You have lost.

"Cupcakes."

Reader, for our final round, you'll be asked a series of questions. For each one you get right, I give you 500 points. Ready?

Yes.

I am fifth in the majors in doubles. Also, I am not Mike Moustakas.

Yonder Alonso

Correct. Alonso has 11 doubles and is hitting .292 for the Padres. He is owned in 44 percent of leagues.

In four minor league seasons, I hit .324 with two-double-digit home run campaigns and three seasons of 24 or more steals. I am currently hitting .333 with two home runs and five steals.

Jose Altuve ?

Yes. Altuve had an ADP of 286. Can you name the players taken at 268, 278, and 281?

Scott Baker, Ben Revere, and Jonathan Sanchez.

Correct. You're on an amazing run here, Reader. Are you ready for one last question? For 10,000 points?

Yes I am!

How many strikeouts did Matt Moore have in 497 minor league innings pitched, and how many innings will he be limited to this season?

700 strikeouts, giving him a K/9 rate of 12.67. And the second part is a trick question. Moore is not on an innings limit.

Right and right! Amazing work here. You're our big winner! And I have to ask -- how did you know all these answers?

I looked them all up as you asked them. I'm the Reader, dude.

Oh ... well that doesn't seem fair. But rules are rules. You win a collection of Fantasy Baseball 360 cups. In blue and red! Congratulations!

Thank you so much.

Anytime, Reader! See you all next time! [blows a kiss to the crowd as Reader excitedly plays with his new set of cups]

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Report: Matt Adams (quad) to undergo surgery Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:21 am ET) Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams will undergo surgery to repair a torn quad on Friday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The team announced on Wednesday that Adams had been diagnosed with a strained left quad, which was expected to sideline the first baseman for three-to-four months. The timetable could mean that Adams won't play again this season. He has hit .243/.281/.375 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 144 at-bats.

The Cardinals' most-likely internal option to replace Adams is Mark Reynolds, though the team could explore other options outside the organization.


Nationals IF Danny Espinosa hits homer in win
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:15 am ET) Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa hit his sixth home run of the year in Wednesday night's 3-0 win over the Cubs. 

The homer, which came in a pinch-hit situation, was an insurance run for the Nationals in the top of the ninth inning. Espinosa is now hitting .256/.357/.463 for the season. 

Espinosa is on pace to have the best hitting season of his career. He's never ended a year with a batting average over .247. 


Nationals OF Bryce Harper blasts 13th HR in month of May
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:05 am ET) Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper continued his hot streak in the month of May. 

In Wednesday night's 3-0 win over the Cubs, Harper hit his 17th home run of the season in the sixth inning. Harper hit the homer off of Jon Lester nad blasted it into deep left center field. 

For Harper, that's his 13th homer in the month of May. He finished the game 1 for 3 with two walks, giving him 42 walks for the year. Harper is now hitting .331/.470/.745 for the year. 


Cubs P Jon Lester allows 1 earned run in loss to Nationals
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Cubs pitcher Jon Lester gave up two runs — one earned — in Wednesday evening's 3-0 loss to the Nationals. 

Lester pitched a solid game, though gave up a home run to Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in the sixth inning. Then again, most pitchers have found it difficult throwing to Harper of late. Lester was still able to strike out 10 batters.

Lester has allowed only four earned runs over his past three starts and now holds a 3.30 ERA. 

His next start is projected for June 2 against the Marlins. 


Nationals P Drew Storen earns save No. 16 against Cubs
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Nationals closer Drew Storen recorded his 16th save of the season in Wednesday night's 3-0 win over the Cubs. 

Storen allowed just one hit and once again didn't allow an earned run. He hasn't given up a run since April 21 and has only given up two runs in 20 1/3 innings pitched. Storen was able to record a strikeout as well. 

Storen's ERA is now at 0.84 for the season. 

The Nationals have won 21 of their past 27 games and haven't lost back-to-back games since April 26 and 27. 


Giants' Jake Peavy allows six runs in rehab start Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Giants pitcher Jake Peavy (back) surrendered six earned runs on nine hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings while striking out two in his rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday.

Peavy was able to toss 3 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit in his previous rehab outing, which came with Class A San Jose, but he didn't find anywhere near the same success on Wednesday while throwing 76 pitches. Out since April 17, Peavy is set to be re-evaluated by the Giants before his next step is determined.


Angels' Mike Morin getting better, recovery measured in weeks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Angels pitcher Mike Morin is getting better after being placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique, but manager Mike Scioscia said the pitcher's recovery is a matter of "weeks, not days," MLB.com reports.

Morin was removed from Saturday's game with the injury, and it appears he'll be in for an extended stay on the disabled list. He owns a 6.00 ERA and 13:5 K:BB ratio in 15 innings.


Nationals P Max Scherzer strikes out 13 in win over Cubs
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer dominated yet another game this season, throwing 13 strikeouts in Wednesday night's 3-0 win over the Cubs. 

Scherzer kept the Cubs at bay during the seven innings he was in, only allowing five hits and one walk. The 13 strikeouts marked a season-high for Scherzer. He's only allowed two earned runs in his last four starts. 

Scherzer's ERA is now down to 1.51. His record is now 6-3 for the year. 

Scherzer's next start is projected for June 2 against the Blue Jays. 


Astros' Tony Sipp takes loss vs. Orioles Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Astros pitcher Tony Sipp was stuck with a loss on Wednesday, giving up the go-ahead run on a solo homer by Chris Davis in his team's 5-4 defeat against the Orioles.

"He's been there for us so much this year," manager A.J. Hinch said, per MLB.com. "A couple of pitches got him and he got burned a little bit. It's difficult for him, and certainly not the way and indicative of how he's pitched this season. I feel bad for our team. We fight back like that and don't get the win."

Sipp (2-2) struck out two on the day but gave up a home run for his second consecutive appearance. He owns a 1.53 ERA and 20:3 K:BB ratio in 17 2/3 innings.


Twins closer Glen Perkins records 18th save of the year Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Twins closer Glen Perkins worked a perfect ninth inning on Wednesday in Minnesota's 6-4 win over the Red Sox, earning his 18th save of the season.

Perkins forced two fly outs and one ground out without allowing a man to reach base in the inning. Perkins now boasts a 1.19 ERA in 22 2/3 innings of work. Perkins has thrown three of the last five days and is looking forward to a bit of rest, according to the Star Tribune.

"[Thursday] is an off-day, so that's good timing," Perkins said. "I have been good this year. I have felt good. Ever since I took the last two weeks of the season off last year, I have felt good. So no worries, and I'm glad that I get a lot of opportunities to pitch."


 
 
 
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