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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
Athletics' Sean Doolittle to return from disabled list Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:11 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Sean Doolittle (shoulder) will be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Doolittle won't be inserted into the closer role immediately upon his return, manager Bob Melvin said this weekend, but the reliever is expected to fill that role long-term. He posted a 2.73 ERA and 89:8 K:BB ratio in 62 2/3 innings while racking up 22 saves last season.


Blue Jays activate Jose Reyes, option Munenori Kawasaki
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:06 pm ET) The Blue Jays activated shortstop Jose Reyes from the 15-day disabled list on Monday, optioning infielder Munenori Kawasaki to Triple-A Buffalo in a corresponding move.

Reyes, who has been sidelined since April 27 while recovering from a fractured rib, played three games with Buffalo this weekend before making his return on Monday. He has hit .250/.266/.300 with three stolen bases in 60 at-bats.

Kawasaki went 1 for 5 in three appearances with the Blue Jays. He returns to a .222/.349/.278 line in 72 at-bats with Buffalo.


GM: Mets 3B David Wright seeing spine specialist
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:00 pm ET) The trip to the Watkins Spine Clinic in California does not mean that Mets third baseman David Wright is destined for surgery, according to general manager Sandy Alderson.

Wright, who was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, will be evaluated by therapists and participate in a three-phase rehab program. There are no plans for him to go under the knife. But that doesn't mean it has been ruled out for good.

"There comes a time when we have to," Alderson told the New York Daily News. "We should know more in two, three or four more days. Get some more input from Dr. (Robert) Watkins. And his office.

"Until three or four days ago I thought this would be a more temporary situation. But as he has had setbacks, we have to address how to go forward. We are a few days away from knowing what we have to do and hopefully have a more concrete idea of when he will be back."

Wright played in just eight games this season before landing on the disabled list.


Rangers place Neftali Feliz on 15-day disabled list
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:53 pm ET) The Rangers placed pitcher Neftali Feliz on the 15-day disabled list on Monday, retroactive to May 20, with an abscess on his right side under his arm, the team announced.

Feliz's roster spot is going to Josh Hamilton, who is set to make his season debut on Monday. Feliz owns a 5.09 ERA and 15:9 K:BB ratio in 17 2/3 innings. He was recently removed from the closer role and may return to a setup role when healthy.


Twins not ready to recall Milone despite great Triple-A numbers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:47 pm ET) Twins pitcher Tommy Milone is 4-0 with a 0.28 ERA and 41:2 K:BB ratio in 31 2/3 innings across four starts with Triple-A Rochester, but the team is not yet ready to bring him back to the majors, the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"He's been communicated with about the fact that we know what he's doing," manager Paul Molitor said. "We are paying attention and we are in a little bit of a holding pattern up here because the guys we have up here are holding their own. I think he understands that."

Milone's only run allowed in Triple-A came in the ninth inning Sunday in his fourth start with Rochester.

"It's been incredible," Molitor said. "He has to be up close to 30 innings of really well-pitched baseball."

Milone was 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA and 13:11 K:BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings before being sent down.


Orioles' Bud Norris feeling better, will make rehab start Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:38 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris will remain on a rehab assignment for at least one more rehab start, which is expected to come with Double-A Bowie on Wednesday. He said he's on the road to recovery after dealing with bronchitis, which forced him to be placed on the disabled list, MASNSports.com reports.

"I'm getting there," Norris said. "I didn't know how much it took out of me. I'm glad Buck (Showalter) did what he did and I'm glad I got one under my belt and I've got one more to go. I'm really excited just to get my weight back on my body and kind of get through all of this."

Norris surrendered nine runs in 2 2/3 innings in his rehab start with Triple-A Norfolk on Friday.

"I went down to the bullpen and started to warm up and felt great in the 'pen, and by the time I pitched the first inning, I could feel my legs kind of giving out," Norris said. "As much as I do squatting and running and all that good stuff, missing as much time as I did, my body definitely took a toll. Losing as much weight as I did, I never had anything happen to me like that before. I'm excited to put it back on and take care of my body."

Norris is 1-4 with a 9.88 ERA and 18:13 K:BB ratio in 27 1/3 innings.


Giants reinstate, designate 1B Travis Ishikawa
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:25 pm ET) Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa has said he wonders where he would fit in upon his return from the disabled list.

He is still wondering, but he knows now that it's not with the big league club.

Ishikawa has been reinstated from his rehab and designated for assignment, the team has announced. A back issue has prevented him from playing all year.


Athletics' Brett Lawrie remains sidelined Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:24 pm ET) Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie remains out of the starting lineup for Monday's game against the Tigers.

Lawrie hasn't played since Friday while dealing with a back issue; however, he's seen much improvement and will likely start Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. He has hit .279/.310/.364 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 165 at-bats. Max Muncy is drawing another start at third base in his place.

The A's are favorites (-125) at home on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


Report: Mets 3B David Wright having back examined in California
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:17 pm ET) Mets star third baseman David Wright is headed to California to have his ailing back examined by a specialist, the New York Post has reported.

Wright, who suffered a setback in his recovery from a back injury, has been sidelined for six weeks.


Rangers' Delino DeShields leading off Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:14 pm ET) Rangers center fielder Delino DeShields is leading off in Monday's matchup with the Indians.

With left fielder Josh Hamilton making his return on Monday, DeShields could be in for a loss of playing time, but he's still in the lineup for Hamilton's debut, manning center field while leading off for the fourth straight game. The righty swinger is up against right-hander Shaun Marcum in the matchup.

The Rangers are underdogs (+125) in Cleveland on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


 
 
 
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