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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
Padres 1B Yonder Alonso plays first rehab assignment game Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:54 pm ET) Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso went 1 for 3 at the plate in his first rehab game for Class A Elsinore on Wednesday. Alonso, who is currently on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury, also drew a walk.

Alonso hasn't played since May 8 when he suffered the injury and is hitting .333 with 10 RBI in 87 at-bats this season.


Cardinals 1B Matt Adams to miss 3-4 months with quad strain
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(8:50 pm ET) Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams has been diagnosed with a strained right quadriceps and will be out for the next three to four months, the club announced on Wednesday. 

He was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier Wednesday. 

According to MLB.com, the Cardinals and Adams are still deliberating whether the injury will require surgery. With or without surgery, the time frame of Adams' recovery period places some doubt on whether he will be able to return this season. 

Adams has been in a bit of a slump, batting just .159 in his last 20 games. He's batting .243 for the season. 

With Adams out of the lineup for quite some time, Mark Reynolds is the likely candidate to replace him. 


Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon plays in extended spring game
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:44 pm ET) Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon was able to play five innings of an extended spring training game on Wednesday, manager Matt Williams said per The Washington Post.

Rendon, who is working his way back from an oblqiue strain, took a couple of at-bats and played in the field for all of the innings after his second at-bat. 

"It's important. It helps you get your legs under you," Williams said. "…there's no way to simulate that other than to play. He felt good. His legs felt good."

Rendon is scheduled to get the day off on Thursday and the team will re-evaluate his health.


Orioles pitcher Bud Norris strikes out seven in rehab start Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:40 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris allowed four runs on six hits in five innings of work for Double-A Bowie on Wednesday. Norris, who is currently on the 15-day DL with bronchitis, struck out seven with no walks in his appearance. 

Norris was pleased with how his fastball and slider looked, but is still building his strength back after losing 14 pounds, according to MASN Sports.

Norris threw 92 pitches with 66 going for strikes. In his two rehab starts, Norris has allowed six runs in 7 2/3 innings of work.

"I do feel a lot better. If they want one more down here, that's fine," Norris said.


Astros DH Evan Gattis smashes 10th home run of 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:33 pm ET) Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis went 3 for 4 at the plate in Houston's 5-4 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday.

Gattis, who also doubled once, did the bulk of his damage in the seventh innning when he blasted a two-run home run off of Ubaldo Jimenez to tie the game at 4, his 10th of the season. Gattis is now hitting .218 with 30 RBI on the year.


Astros pitcher Collin McHugh allows nine hits in no-decision
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:30 pm ET) Astros pitcher Collin McHugh allowed four runs on nine hits in Houston's 5-4 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday, but did not factor into a decision.

McHugh was in cruise control through the first three innings of work. However, the fourth inning was not kind to him. McHugh allowed a leadoff double to Jimmy Paredes followed by a bunt single by Adam Jones. Then, Baltimore executed a double steal to perfection, plating a run when Paredes stole home. 

McHugh then surrendered back-to-back home runs to Chris Davis and Steve Pearce before finally being able to get out of the inning. McHugh, who remains 5-2, moved his ERA to 3.68 in his six innings of work. He will look to get back on track when he faces the Orioles again on Tuesday.


Orioles RF Steve Pearce connects for sixth home run of the year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:25 pm ET) Orioles right fielder Steve Pearce went 1 for 4 at the plate in Baltimore's 5-4 win over the Astros on Wednesday. 

Pearce got his damage done in the fourth inning when he blasted a Collin McHugh pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run, his sixth of the season. McHugh, who aslo struck out three times, is now hitting .190 with 18 RBI on the year.


Pirates' Pedro Alvarez ridding bad habits at the plate
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(8:24 pm ET) Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez has worked on becoming more than just a hitter that likes to pull pitches this season

Wanting to change this, Alvarez has been working before games to break the habit of trying to pull pitches on the outside corner of the plate, according to MLB.com. 

"The approach has always been the same," Alvarez said. "I just think it's a combination of seeing pitches out there and being able to put good swings on them and executing the swing to the pitch."

In Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Marlins, Alvarez was able to record an RBI opposite-field single in the seventh inning during his team's rally to win. 

"The work he is doing before the game and in the cage is transferring to the game. That's the biggest part," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Our guys have found a way to slow themselves down to a better pace, a much more workable pace, the last week or so. Pedro in particular."


Orioles 1B Chris Davis blasts two home runs in win
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:23 pm ET) Orioles first baseman Chris Davis went 2 for 4 at the plate in Baltimore's 5-4 win over the Astros on Wednesday.

Davis got things going in the fourth inning when he blasted a 3-2 pitch from Collin McHugh over the right field wall for a two-run home run. Then in the eighth, Davis did it again, this time off of Tony Sipp, to break a 4-4 tie, his 10th of the season.

Davis is now hitting .216 with 26 RBI on the year.


Orioles closer Zach Britton notches 12th save of the season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:19 pm ET) Orioles closer Zach Britton worked a nearly perfect ninth inning on Wednesday in Baltimore's 5-4 win over the Astros, earning his 12th save of the season.

Britton got the first two outs of the inning without any issue, but allowed a double down the line to Jose Altuve. Then, Preston Tucker hit a shot to left field, but Travis Snider made a fantastic catch to finish the game. Britton lowered his ERA to 2.45 in 18 1/3 innings of work this season.


 
 
 
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