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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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Player News
Padres' Yonder Alonso, Alexi Amarista get second day off in last three
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:12 pm ET) For the second time in three games, the Padres are keeping both first baseman Yonder Alonso and shortstop Alexi Amarista out of the starting lineup. 

Just as in Saturday's contest, Yangervis Solarte gets the start at first and Clint Barmes will start at shortstop.

It's Solarte's fifth start of the year at first, and Barmes eighth at short. They're hitting fifth and eighth in the lineup respectively. 


Angels' Joyce, Giavotella swap places in batting order Monday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:53 pm ET) Angels manager Mike Scioscia swapped left fielder Matt Joyce and second baseman Johnny Giavotella in the batting order for Monday's game against the Mariners. Giavotella hit sixth, while Joyce, who has just one hit in 21 career at-bats against the M's starter Felix Hernandez, is now batting seventh.

Joyce is also struggling at the plate recently. He has just four hits in his last 10 games and only one RBI. Giavotella, meanwhile, has been a bit of a sparkplug for the Angels. He's hitting .250 (8 for 32) with three RBI over his last 10 games. 


Report: Tigers' Justin Verlander to undergo MRI Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:52 pm ET) Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander will undergo his latest MRI on his strained triceps muscle Tuesday, FOX Sports reports.

Verlander suffered the injury in his final spring training start and has yet to pitch in the regular season. He reported no discomfort after a light toss session Thursday but was still in line for an MRI this week.


Phillies P Chad Billingsley to make first start of season on Tuesday
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5:36 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Chad Billingsley is ready to make his return to the big leagues. 

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Billingsley will start in Tuesday's game against the Braves. This will be his first MLB game since April 15, 2013. The veteran right-hander is coming off of consecutive elbow surgeries, which have slowed his career. 

He holds a 3.65 ERA in his career. Billingsley's first nine seasons, including 2014, were spent with the Dodgers. 


Marlins' Dee Gordon has second-best homestand in baseball history
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:35 pm ET) Marlins infielder Dee Gordon went 20 for 31 on the nine-game homestand that ended on Sunday. His .645 average is the second highest in baseball history for a homestand that long.

Only Barry Bonds has ever had a better homestand. He went 13 for 19 (.684) over a 10-game stand in 2004. 

"Let's just be honest about it, I’m not going to be as good as Barry Bonds, ever," Gordon said, per the Miami Herald.

Seven of Gordon's eight games over the homestand were multi-hit games, including three 3-hit nights and a 4-hit outing. He scored five runs, drove in two and walked four times. 


Twins' Casey Fien to begin throwing program Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:33 pm ET) Twins pitcher Casey Fien is scheduled to begin his throwing program Thursday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Fien was placed on the disabled list the previous Thursday with a shoulder injury he suffered in his most recent appearance while allowing three earned runs on five hits in an inning of work. He owns a 4.35 ERA and 3:0 K:BB ratio in 10 1/3 innings.


Rockies closer Adam Ottavino facing Tommy John surgery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:27 pm ET) Rockies closer Adam Ottavino is likely to need Tommy John surgery to repair his injured right elbow, Ottavino said to the Denver Post on Monday. A further evaluation with team doctors revealed a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

"Baseball is my love. So I will do everything I can to come back," Ottavino said Monday. "I've accepted it. I'll take it head on."

Ottavino was placed on the 15-day DL last week with a right triceps injury. Ottavino posted a 1-0 record with three saves in 10 1/3 innings of work this season. John Axford will likely fill in as the closer.


Twins opt to leave Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton in minors
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:27 pm ET) With Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia (hip) going on the disabled list Monday, the team opted to promote outfield prospect Eddie Rosario from the minors to take his roster spot. Manager Paul Molitor said the team chose Rosario because it isn't going to be a long-term situation.

Molitor added the only other player considered for a promotion was Aaron Hicks. Molitor made it a point to say top prospect Byron Buxton was not in the conversation.

Hicks is batting .289 with two home runs, three triples, five doubles and 13 RBI in 21 games at Triple-A. He also has 15 runs, 12 walks and 15 strikeouts.

Buxton is batting .287 with two home runs, three doubles, five triples and 12 RBI in 22 games at Double-A.


Rays' Alex Cobb suffers setback in rehab
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:23 pm ET) Rays pitcher Alex Cobb suffered a setback in his injury rehab, manager Kevin Cash told the media on Monday.

Cobb is on the 15-day disabled list with a forearm injury. He had been throwing bullpen sessions and worked on offspeed pitches off of flat ground on Sunday. 

The setback means that Cobb will cease the throwing program and get reevaluated by medical staff. 


Angels recall catcher Carlos Perez from Triple-A, DFA Drew Butera
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:19 pm ET) The Angels have recalled catcher Carlos Perez from Triple-A Salt Lake and designated Drew Butera for assignment, the team announced Monday.

Perez appeared in 17 games for Salt Lake with a .361 average and 12 RBI in 72 at-bats. Butera is hitting .190 in 21 at-bats this season. 


 
 
 
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