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Di Fino: What's in a name?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Recently on Fantasy Baseball 360, Scott White and I were discussing a Twitter question from a viewer, in which he asked if he should work a trade for "Soriano." I had assumed the Tweeter meant Rafael; Scott read it as Alfonso. It totally changed the dynamic of the question.

This year, it seems, more than any other, there are players with similar names causing head-scratching dilemmas throughout Fantasy Baseball. Which Weeks do you want (Rickie)? Which Montero (Jesus, by a hair)? What's the value of J. Johnson (Jim is somehow safer than Josh right now, but Josh has more upside)? It's awesomely confusing, which makes it all the more necessary to help sort them all out now. We present ...

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The Name Game

Jansen Versus Janssen: Does One 's' Make A Difference?

In short, yes. Kenley Jansen is the closer for the Dodgers; Casey Janssen is the closer for the Blue Jays. Both men got their jobs because the closer in front of them fell apart. But that's pretty much where the comparisons end. Jansen has been the closer-in-waiting since the middle of last season -- he strikes out over a batter per inning (he has a 15.0 K/9 rate in the major leagues) and could hold on to the job for the entire season. Janssen, meanwhile, while striking out almost a batter per inning, is likely only holding the job until Sergio Santos returns from a shoulder injury. While he could be very effective in the role, it will likely be just a temporary (perhaps until mid-June?) promotion. Fun fact!: Kenley Jansen's middle name is Geronimo.

Is A Healthy Bailey Better Than An Injured One?

According to players on CBSSports.com, the answer is a resounding "no." Andrew Bailey, the would-be closer for the Red Sox, whose early-season injury started the dominos dropping on this disaster of a 2012 for Boston, is owned in 50 percent of leagues. Homer Bailey, the former first-round pick of the Reds, currently sports a 4.35 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, with a 1-3 record. He is owned in 24 percent of leagues. Homer has 41 1/3 innings pitched this year; Andrew just had his cast removed last week and was cleared to begin throwing on Wednesday. Homer tends to be tantalizingly maddening for Fantasy players, mixing in promising stretches with injuries and strings of poor performances. Andrew, even though he isn't expected back until after the All-Star Game, is a borderline-elite closer who could solidify the back of Boston's bullpen. What's the saying? A Bailey in the bush is worth twice as much as one in the hand? Fun fact!: Andrew Bailey follows injured Yankees reliever David Robertson on Twitter.

Which Chen Is Right For Me?

There's a chance that both are. Bruce Chen is owned in 15 percent of leagues, despite a 1.15 WHIP so far this season, which follows a 3.77 ERA in 2011. Hurting him a bit is the fact that he hasn't managed a season of 100 strikeouts since 2005, when he threw 133 in 197 1/3 innings -- a rate that isn't exciting by even 2005 standards. Also hurting him? In the years before the 2011 quasi-breakout, he was not very good. Wei-Yin Chen, meanwhile, is eight years younger than Bruce and has a 2.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP through 44 innings this season. His ratios from Japan's Pacific League are stellar (he posted a 1.54 ERA in 2009), and, while he isn't known for his overpowering strikeout numbers, he does manage a healthy seven or so per nine innings. Wei-Yin's ownership levels have made an impressive leap over the past few weeks, jumping from 22 percent in Week 2 to 54 percent (and counting) for Week 8. Fun fact!: Bruce Chen has nightmares based on the movie Speed .

The Dodgers Have Reached Their Ellis Limit

Mark Ellis and A.J. Ellis start at second base and catcher, respectively, for the Dodgers. A.J. has three home runs, Mark has two. A.J. has five doubles, Mark has four. A.J. is currently batting .322, Mark is at .276. But Mark has three steals to A.J.'s zero, and 26 runs to A.J.'s 11 (thanks mostly to about 30 more at-bats this season). A.J. is owned in 42 percent of leagues, while Mark is owned in 31 percent. Both are usable in NL-only leagues, and both are turning it on so far in May: Mark has a .326 average with a .926 OPS. Both of his homers have come in May, and the month is just at its halfway point. A.J. is hitting .371 so far this month, with a 1.133 OPS. He, too, has hit two home runs in May, along with two doubles and a triple. Among catchers with 90 at-bats or more, Ellis is first in OBP, third in batting average, and is in the top 15 of all catchers in doubles and RBI. A.J. is currently a deeper mixed-league add, and Mark is a very deep mixed-league consideration. Fun fact!: A.J. Ellis has Tweeted an It's a Wonderful Life reference.

Escobar and Weeks: Two Surnames, Four Middle Infielders

Just for the sake of clarity, here's a quick guide to sorting out Yunel, Alcides, Rickie, and Jemile:

Rankings By Power: 1. Rickie 2. Yunel 3. Jemile 4. Alcides

Rankings By Speed: 1. Alcides 2. Jemile 3. Rickie 4. Yunel

Overall Rankings: 1. Rickie 2. Jemile 3. Yunel 4. Alcides

Fun fact!: Jemile Weeks was drafted by his brother's team, the Milwaukee Brewers, in 2005, but never signed.

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It's Not Easy Being Greene

Tyler Greene is one of many players in the seemingly-endless stream of 2B-eligible players on the St. Louis Cardinals. He is owned in six percent of leagues. Taylor Green is also 2B-eligible, but is on the Brewers; he is owned in three percent of leagues. Green had spent 2012 playing first and third base for Nashville, Milwaukee's Triple-A affiliate, and has made a small impact for the Brewers in the wake of Mat Gamel's season-ending injury, filling in at first base, and batting .263 with two doubles through 19 at-bats. If Travis Ishikawa falls out of favor, Green -- who hit 24 home runs last year in the minors -- could grab some playing time and be a decent source of deeper mixed-league power. Greene, a first-round pick of the Cardinals, has averaged a little over 100 at-bats in three seasons with St. Louis. He stole 11 bases last year, but has a .221 batting average for his career. He has four seasons of double-digit home runs in the minors, despite spending significant time with the parent club the last two years. Given regular playing time, Greene could prove to be a decent power/speed combo -- a feat that, sadly, seems distant, considering the glut the team has with second base options. Fun fact!: Tyler Greene has an Internet fan club lobbying for his freedom from the bench.

The Strange Case Of Matt Harrison And Tommy Hunter

We're going to flip the theme here -- we looked at players with similar names but different values; but there are two pitchers in baseball who might be the same person, just sporting different names.

Matt Harrison is owned in 73 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com. Tommy Hunter is owned in eight percent of leagues. But a closer look at the two pitchers makes it pretty obvious that there is no real reason for this discrepancy. Observe:

First, the tale of the tape:

Matt Harrison: LHP, 6'4", 240 pounds, 26 years old, Third-round draft pick

Tommy Hunter: RHP, 6'3", 250 pounds, 25 years old, First-round draft pick

Their numbers so far this year:

Hunter: 2-2 with a 4.78 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. He has four quality starts
Harrison: 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He has four quality starts.

But this isn't about Hunter being a better pitcher so far this year. It's about the two men being strikingly similar to one another -- and, in some cases, like WHIP, with Hunter being clearly better -- in every category outside of ownership. Digging deeper, we find:

Tommy Hunter five-year MLB career: 4.48 ERA, 1.33 WHIP (Hunter)
Matt Harrison five-year MLB career: 4.55 ERA, 1.44 WHIP (Harrison)

Tommy Hunter three-year MLB average: 108 1/3 IP, 4.071 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 59 K
Matt Harrison three-year MLB average: 109 IP, 4.21 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 69 K

Even in the minors, the two were somewhat similar:

Hunter minors: 3.75 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
Harrison minors: 3.45 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

Want to go deeper into the stats? Courtesy of Baseball Reference:

Hunter: BB/9 of 2.3
Harrison: BB/9 of 3.2

Hunter: K/9 of 5.0
Harrison: K/9 of 5.4

Hunter's career ERA+: 99
Harrison's career ERA+: 98

Hunter's BABIP in last 365 days: .296
Harrison's BABIP in last 365 days: .300

So there you have it. If you need to throw someone in a trade, and you own Harrison, feel free to dangle him at will, because Hunter -- who looks to be the same, if not better, pitcher -- is almost definitely available on your waiver wire as a replacement.

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
David Peralta returns to lineup Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:39 pm ET) Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta is back in the starting lineup Saturday.

Peralta hasn't started since Sept. 5 due to a back injury, but he was able to pinch hit Friday. He has hit .292/.325/.459 with seven home runs, 34 RBI and six stolen bases in 305 at-bats during his rookie campaign.


Josh Hamilton day-to-day with inflammation
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:37 pm ET) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton underwent a CT scan on the front and back of his ribcage, and the diagnosis is that he's dealing with inflammation, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Hamilton is day-to-day while recovering from the injury. He has hit .263/.331/.414 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 338 at-bats.


Hyun-Jin Ryu begins throwing Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:10 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu began a throwing program Saturday by playing catch before his team's game against the Cubs, the Orange County Register reports.

Ryu will likely miss the remainder of the regular season, but he's hoping his shoulder injury will recover enough to allow him to pitch in the playoffs. He owns a 3.38 ERA and 139:29 K:BB ratio in 152 innings.


Danny Duffy throws bullpen session Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Royals pitcher Danny Duffy threw a bullpen session late Friday and will be held out of action Saturday and Sunday, the Kansas City Star reports.

Duffy hasn't pitched since Sept. 6 due to a shoulder issue, but he's listed as the team's probable starter for Monday's game in Cleveland. As long as he doesn't suffer a setback over the weekend, he should return to action Monday. Duffy owns a 2.42 ERA and 108:50 K:BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.


Robinson Cano delivers three-hit performance Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:33 am ET) Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano went 3 for 5 with an RBI in his team's 10-5 win over the Astros Friday.

While his power is down from his recent seasons in New York, Cano continues to get it done at the plate. If he can finish the season with his current .321 batting average or better, it'll represent his best mark since his second major-league season in 2006. Cano has hit .321/.387/.465 with 14 home runs, 78 RBI and a career-high 10 stolen bases in 564 at-bats.


Juan Uribe out Saturday with tightness in side
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:29 am ET) Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe is not in the starting lineup due to tightness in his side, MLB.com reports.

The injury is minor, and Uribe is expected to return to the starting lineup Sunday. He has hit .309/.336/.440 nine home runs and 48 RBI in 366 at-bats.


Ben Zobrist struggling to produce in September
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:26 am ET) Rays infielder Ben Zobrist has struggled at the plate in September, hitting just .236/.313/.292 with one home run and three RBI in 72 at-bats.

Zobrist posted a .927 OPS in July and delivered solid production in August despite failing to record a home run during the month. His production has fallen off this month, with only two of his 11 hits going for extra bases. For the season, Zobrist has hit .268/.352/.393 with 10 home runs, 47 RBI and nine stolen bases in 545 at-bats.


Jedd Gyorko extends hit streak to 10 games
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:21 am ET) Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko went 1 for 4 and scored two runs in Friday's 5-0 win over the Giants.

Gyorko has recorded at least one hit in 10 straight games, extending what's been a very good second half after struggling early in the season and missing an extended period of time on the disabled list. He has hit .272/.346/.426 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 169 at-bats since the All-Star break after hitting .162/.213/.270 in the first half.


Ryan Rua delivers four-hit performance Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:14 am ET) Rangers outfielder Ryan Rua went 4 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored in his team's 12-3 win over the Angels Friday.

Rua initially struggled at the plate upon his promotion in late August, but he's collected six multi-hit performances in his last 11 games, including a 9-for-18 stretch with two doubles and six runs scored in his last four games. He has hit .320/.338/.387 in 75 at-bats.


Jake Marisnick delivering over last 10 days
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:10 am ET) Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick has enjoyed a spike in production over the last 10 days, going 11 for 25 at the plate and stealing four bases in eight games.

Marisnick has boosted his OPS by 58 points during the hot streak, though his only extra-base hit over the stretch was a double in Friday's loss to the Mariners. He has hit .246/.283/.293 with one home run, 13 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 191 at-bats.


 
 
 
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