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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
Justin Wilson takes loss vs. Giants
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:23 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Justin Wilson was charged with a loss Wednesday, surrendering two earned runs on two hits and one walk in one inning and striking out one in his team's 7-5 defeat against the Giants.

Wilson (3-2) gave up an RBI single in the seventh inning to tie the game before watching the go-ahead run come home on a passed ball. He owns a 4.95 ERA and 41:23 K:BB ratio in 40 innings.


Charlie Morton surrenders four runs vs. Giants
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:13 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton didn't factor into Wednesday's decision, giving up four earned runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings and striking out two in his team's 7-5 loss to the Giants.

Morton was touched up for three runs in the bottom of the first inning, but his offense was able to dig him out of the hole, even with the starter allowing another run in the third. The bullpen later gave away the lead to deny him his first win since July 2. Morton owns a 3.54 ERA and 108:47 K:BB ratio in 137 1/3 innings. He is scheduled to take on the Marlins Tuesday.


Tim Lincecum chased in fourth inning vs. Pirates
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:13 pm ET) Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum wasn't a factor in the decision Wednesday after giving up five earned runs on five hits and three walks in just 3 1/3 innings and striking out two in his team's 7-5 win over the Pirates.

Lincecum has now turned in back-to-back poor outings after a nice five-start run, and his rough stretch comes right after he was used to pick up a save in a game last week. He surrendered two-run home runs in the third and fourth inning Wednesday after serving up two home runs in his last nine starts combined. Lincecum owns a 4.21 ERA and 116:50 K:BB ratio in 128 1/3 innings. He's scheduled to face the Brewers Tuesday.


Dan Haren to start Friday, Hyun-Jin Ryu moved to Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:12 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren is in line to make Friday's start against the Cubs, with Hyun-Jin Ryu being given an extra day of rest, MLB.com reports.

Haren had his regular turn in the rotation skipped, and he hasn't pitched since July 23. He did throw a bullpen session Wednesday, putting him in line for Friday's outing. Haren owns a 4.49 ERA and 92:26 K:BB ratio in 122 1/3 innings.


Jonny Venters set to throw off mound Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:05 pm ET) Braves pitcher Jonny Venters has felt good with his long toss exercises and will begin throwing off a mound Saturday, MLB.com reports.

Venters hasn't pitched since 2012 after facing a long recovery from his second Tommy John surgery. Saturday's mound work will be a big test.


Mike Pelfrey begins throwing program
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:52 pm ET) Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey began a throwing program Wednesday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Pelfrey underwent surgery on his elbow in June to alleviate the pressure on his ulnar nerve. He said earlier in July that the numbness was finally gone from his hand, and it appears he's ready to start working his way back toward a return. Pelfrey hasn't pitched for the Twins since May 1.


Rockies tab Pedro Hernandez to start Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:49 pm ET) The Rockies will call up pitcher Pedro Hernandez to start Thursday's game against the Cubs, MLB.com reports.

Hernandez has been uneven at the minor-league level this season, going 6-6 with a 6.14 ERA and 52:29 K:BB ratio in 85 innings, giving up a whopping 115 hits during his 18 appearances. He compiled a 6.83 ERA in 56 2/3 innings with the Twins last season.


Jason Heyward remains out of lineup Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:36 pm ET) Braves outfielder Jason Heyward is not in the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Dodgers.

Heyward wasn't able to play Tuesday after coming out of Monday's game with a back injury. He was expected to return to the lineup either Wednesday or Thursday, so it's likely he'll be ready to come back tomorrow. Heyward has hit .260/.350/.379 with nine home runs, 42 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 396 at-bats.


Report: Royals out on Jonny Gomes
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:33 pm ET) The Royals are out on an attempt to acquire Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, ESPNBoston.com reports.

A report surfaced a few weeks ago that Gomes was on the Royals' list of potential trade targets in a search for a right-handed bat. He has hit .239/.335/.361 with six home runs and 32 RBI in 205 at-bats.


Orioles, Rangers discussing Neal Cotts
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:30 pm ET) The Orioles and Rangers are discussing a potential trade to send pitcher Neal Cotts to Baltimore, MLB.com reports.

The Orioles are on the lookout for a relief pitcher who has success against batters on both sides of the plate. The Rangers have been considering keeping Cotts through the deadline and attempting to resign him for next season. He has posted a 3.52 ERA and 50:18 K:BB ratio in 46 innings.


 
 
 
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