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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
Nate Jones nowhere near return to mound
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:59 pm ET) White Sox right-hander Nate Jones is not close to beginning a throwing program, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which further reported that he still looked uncomfortable walking Wednesday in the clubhouse.

Robin Ventura said there was no timetable for Jones to start throwing. He was placed on the disabled list on April 4, but will certainly not be back when eligible.


Jason Hammel outpitched in loss to Yankees
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:49 pm ET) Cubs starter Jason Hammel pitched well Wednesday, but not well enough to keep up with Yankees star Masahiro Tanaka.

Hammel surrendered three runs on five hits in seven innings, walking three and struck out five. He has been consistent to start the season, giving up three runs or less in each of his three starts. He also boasts a record of 2-1.


Carlos Beltran still sizzling in defeat of Cubs
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:45 pm ET) Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran slugged his fourth home run in the last six games and third in the last three games in a Wednesday win over the Cubs.

Beltran opened the scoring with a blast in the first inning and added a walk to sweeten his stat line to .311/.347/.622. He has four home runs and nine RBI on the season.


Brad Peacock named starter for Sunday game
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Astros pitcher Brad Peacock has been named the starter for Sunday's game in Oakland against the A's, MLB.com reports.

Peacock is replacing Lucas Harrell in the rotation after the latter was designated for assignment Wednesday. Peacock has pitched three games in relief this season, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits and eight walks in nine innings while striking out 10.


Craig Kimbrel declares shoulder good after side session
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:38 pm ET) Braves closer Craig Kimbrel threw a 15-pitch side session Wednesday and declared his shoulder good to go, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

While Kimbrel is ready to return to his regular role, manager Fredi Gonzalez may elect to keep him out of Wednesday's game due to the cold weather. The closer owns a 1.59 ERA and 12:1 K:BB ratio along with five saves in 5 2/3 innings.


Shawn Kelley collects fourth save Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:37 pm ET) The Yankees have not missed a beat from the closer role after losing David Robertson to injury thanks to Shawn Kelley, who nailed down his fourth save in four attempts Wednesday against the Cubs.

Kelley yielded only a single to Anthony Rizzo and fanned Nate Schierholtz to end it. He has pitched shutout ball in six of his seven appearances this season.


Masahiro Tanaka lights-out in domination of Cubs
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:31 pm ET) Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka went from fine to brilliant in his third start with the Yankees on Wednesday against the Cubs.

Tanaka yielded just two hits in eight shutout innings with two walks and 10 strikeouts in raising his record to 2-0 and lowering his ERA to 2.05.

The Japanese import has now given up just five earned runs on 15 hits in 22 innings. Most impressive is that he has walked just three and fanned 28.


Eric Chavez over jammed pinkie
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:30 pm ET) Diamondbacks infielder Eric Chavez jammed his right pinkie sliding into second base Sunday, and while he wasn't able to swing a bat Monday due to the swelling, he's good to go moving forward, MLB.com reports.

Chavez was able to pinch-hit in Tuesday's game but didn't reach base safely. He has hit .235/.278/.588 with one home run and two RBI in 17 at-bats.


Aramis Ramirez totals seventh multi-hit game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:29 pm ET) Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez collected his third three-hit game of the season during Wednesday's 5-1 win against the Cardinals. Gomez had three singles, one RBI and one run in the win.

Ramirez is batting .377 through 15 games. He has two home runs, two doubles and 13 RBI. He also has seven multi-hit games.


Denard Span to play rehab games Thursday and Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:27 pm ET) Nationals outfielder Denard Span is expected to get three at-bats in a rehab game Thursday and four at-bats in another rehab game Friday, the team announced.

Span was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list Saturday after a baserunning collision the previous day, but he was showing improvement Tuesday and looks on track to return this weekend. He has hit .222/.300/.361 in 36 at-bats.


 
 
 
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