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Di Fino: Test your Fantasy wits

Senior Fantasy Writer
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It's time, once again, for the Fantasy quiz. Sharpen your pencils -- and your minds -- and be wowed at the weird anomalies and quirks of the 2012 season. When you're through, check your answers at the bottom, and then rush to the waiver wire to adjust rosters based on day games, bullpen shifts and speedsters who are facing certain pitchers.

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(All stats are through games played on Thursday, August 9):

1.Which pitcher has given up the most home runs (10) since the All-Star break?:

a. Ian Kennedy
b. Jordan Lyles
c. Phil Hughes
d. Travis Wood

2. Which batter has seen the most pitches so far this season?:

a. Adam Dunn
b. Michael Bourn
c. Curtis Granderson
d. Ian Kinsler

3. Which relief pitcher has the most points this season -- without having started or saved a game?:

a. Robbie Ross
b. Craig Stammen
c. Vinnie Pestano
d. Darren O'Day

4. Which of these catchers has the highest OPS since the All-Star break (min. of 25 at-bats)?:

a. Michael McKenry
b. Erik Kratz
c. Carlos Santana
d. A.J. Pierzynski

5. Who leads MLB in sacrifics bunts this season?:

a. Johnny Cueto
b. Elvis Andrus
c. Lance Lynn
d. Alcides Escobar

Bonus Pop Culture Question #1: How much does Boardwalk cost to buy in Monopoly?

a. $350
b. $400
c. $450
d. $500

6. Of this group, who has the most Quality Starts this season?:

a. Matt Cain
b. Ian Kennedy
c. Cole Hamels
d. Jason Vargas

7. Which of these second basemen has the most runs scored since the All-Star break?:

a. Aaron Hill
b. Ryan Theriot
c. Dustin Pedroia
d. Robinson Cano

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8. Which Davis has more Fantasy points this season?:

a. Chris Davis
b. Rajai Davis

9.: Since the All-Star break, only two players have five home runs, double-digit steals, and are batting .300 or above. One of those players is Mike Trout. The other is:

a. Drew Stubbs
b. Jose Reyes
c. Carlos Gomez
d. Jason Heyward

Bonus Pop Culture Question #2: According to Buddy the Elf, which of the following is not a food group?:

a. Candy
b. Candy canes
c. Candy buttons
d. Candy corn

10. The player who has received the most at-bats since the All-Star break is:

a. Nick Markakis
b. Michael Bourn
c. Stephen Lombardozzi
d. Derek Jeter

11. Of players with 50 or more at-bats in day games this season, who has the highest batting average (.409)?

a. Paul Konerko
b. David Ortiz
c. Juan Pierre
d. David Wright

Bonus Pop Culture Question #3:: According to imdb.com, who didn't supply a voice for a Mogwai or Gremlin in Gremlins?

a. Howie Mandel
b. Michael Winslow
c. Michael J. Fox
d. Peter Cullen

12. Who is owned in more leagues?:

a. Kris Medlen
b. Chris Carter

13. Who has more Fantasy points?:

a. Kris Medlen
b. Chris Carter

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14. Which is greater: the combined ownership percentages of Michael Pineda and Victor Martinez -- who each have yet to play a game this year -- or the ownership of Cubs closer Carlos Marmol -- who has five saves, a 2.08 ERA, and 11 strikeouts in his last 8 2/3 innings pitched?:

a. Pineda and Martinez
b. Marmol

15. The following four pitchers have allowed the most steals this season. Who ranks first?:

a. Tommy Hanson
b. A.J. Burnett
c. Ubaldo Jimenez
d. Madison Bumgarner









How'd you do? Check your answers below. Anything over five correct should be considered a rousing success:

1. D
2. C (Granderson has seen 2,148 pitches)
3. A (Ross has 153 points. Stammen was second with 149.)
4. B (Kratz has two home runs and five doubles, with an OPS of 1.254)
5. A (Cueto has 13 sacrifices this season)
6. D (Vargas has 16)
7. B (Theriot has 18 runs scored)
8. A (...but it's close: 226.50 to 226)
9. C
10. C (Lombardozzi has 123 at-bats)
11. C
12. A (Medlen has 144.5, Carter has 105.5)
13. A (Medlen is owned in 30 percent; Carter is owned in 29 percent)
14. A (Pineda/Martinez are owned in 26 percent of leagues, each; Marmol is owned in 50 percent of leagues)
15. C (Jimenez has allowed 26 steals)
BONUS 1: B
BONUS 2: C
BONUS 3: C

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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- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Mets' Jacob deGrom working on perfecting his curveball
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:42 am ET) Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom is working on perfecting his curveball this spring, according to the New York Post

"This spring is so different," deGrom said. "I can really come in here and work on things. Last year when I was over on the big league side, I didn’t throw my curveball one time because I was trying to make the team and prove I could get outs in spring training."

After experiencing some success in the majors, deGrom said he is more willing to work on stuff this time around. While he actually started using his curve more late last season, it seems like deGrom is going to work on perfecting the pitch during camp. 

"It’s a great pitch whether it be strike one or a strikeout pitch," deGrom said. "Talking to Gee, Wheeler and all those guys and see how they throw theirs and taking little bits of information from them and trying it in bullpens. Sometimes I throw it at 78 (mph) and that’s a big difference from the slider. It gets the hitter off balance."

deGrom, 26, posted a 2.69 ERA over 140 1/3 innings last season.


Rockies' Charlie Blackmon hoping for more consistency
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:15 am ET) Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is hoping for more consistency in 2015, according to the Denver Post

Blackmon had a breakout season in 2014, but admits it's hard to be on every single game. "Last year, I swung the bat really well at certain times," he said. "But you go through a lot of ups and downs over 162 games, and that was a learning experience. I think that's going to help me this year."

Blackmon said his strong start made him a target for other teams, and that may have contributed to a slight slump during the season. Blackmon added that he's hoping to hit the ball to all fields this season.

Manager Walt Weiss is hoping Blackmon can deliver more of the same. "I don't know if he necessarily has to have an encore. I'm thinking more of the same," Weiss said. "I think Charlie would say that he wants to be more consistent."

The 28-year-old Blackmon hit .288/.335/.440 over 593 at-bats last year. 


Twins' Gibson feels 'a little more comfortable' with curveball
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:29 am ET) Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson surrendered one run on two hits and one walk in two innings while striking out two in his spring debut Thursday, using the outing to work on his curveball, the Associated Press reports.

"I felt really good," Gibson said. "I'm working on some stuff, and some stuff worked out that I was working on. I threw more curveballs than normal. That's what spring training's for. It's just fun to be able to work on a particular pitch. I feel a little more comfortable."

Gibson, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011, completed his first full major-league deal in 2014, going 13-12 with a 4.47 ERA and 107:57 K:BB ratio in 179 1/3 innings.


Blue Jays' Barton hoping his glove wins him a spot
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Blue Jays first baseman Daric Barton is hoping his glove can win him a spot on the 25-man roster, according to the Toronto Sun.

Barton isn't much of a power hitter, but gets strong marks for his defense at first. Manager John Gibbons is well aware of Barton's skills. "One thing that put Daric on the map was that he was such a disciplined hitter and a great defender," Gibbons said. He added that the first baseman is involved in a large chunk of plays, so defense at the position is probably more important than people realize.

With that said, Barton may need a trade to make the opening day roster. As currently constructed, the Blue Jays may carry three catchers. If the team retains Dioner Navarro, Barton could find himself in the minors.

The 29-year-old Barton hit .158 over 57 at-bats last year.


Pirates' Pedro Alvarez feeling comfortable at first
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:21 am ET) Pirates infielder Pedro Alvarez is feeling comfortable at first base, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

After playing third the past couple of seasons, Alvarez will transition to first base full-time in 2015. The 28-year-old is still getting used to the position, but he seems comfortable with the change.

"It’s just a matter of getting used to seeing the field from that point of view, get the reps in so that the responsibilities that come with playing the position become second nature," he said. "That’s just with time and repetitions."

Alvarez hit .231/.312/.405 over 398 at-bats last season. 


Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman gets strong marks at first
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman received strong reviews after playing his first game at first base this spring, according to MLB.com.

"He is still in the stages of having to think about it out there, because it's not natural yet," manager Matt Williams said. "He looked fine. He has fantastic hands." Zimmerman was tested during the start, and had to make two scoops in order to prevent possible throwing errors. 

He's been taking extra practice at the position this spring, and was fairly happy with how his first game turned out. "You can do so many drills, exercises and things like that until you have to go out there and play," Zimmerman said. "So it's nice to have a few chances. The more I play over there, the more comfortable I will get. I feel fine."

Zimmerman, 30, hit .280/.342/.449 over 214 at-bats last year. 


Orioles' Brian Matusz tosses scoreless inning in return
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:09 am ET) Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz tossed a scoreless inning in his return to the mound.

Matusz came into camp dealing with a shoulder issue, but said he was pretty close to 100 percent. He allowed one hit during his one inning of work, and struck out one batter. Matusz is expected to open the season in the team's bullpen. 

The 28-year-old posted a 3.48 ERA over 51 2/3 innings last year.


Red Sox's Rusney Castillo wouldn't alter plan if sent down
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:06 am ET) Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo won't be upset if he winds up being sent down to the minors, according to the WEEI.

That's not a likely outcome, but with his recent oblique injury, there's a chance Castillo could fall behind the other outfielders on the roster. "To me it wouldn’t be anything that would alter my plan, or my attitude, or my perspective," he said. "If that’s what it’s got to be, that’s what it’s got to be. I’m just worrying playing and continuing to get reps and reps wherever they may come."

Castillo did note that he's feeling a lot better, and is expected to return in about a week. Castillo hit .333 over 36 at-bats in the majors last year. 


Red Sox's Jackie Bradley Jr. showing off new swing
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is showing off his new swing this spring, according to the Boston Herald

Bradley started working out at the team's facility in November, and started hitting in January. He worked with assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez for a good portion of the offseason. "Jackie was dedicated," Rodriguez said. "He listened, too. He was open to what we talked about."

Manager John Farrell has noticed the change in Bradley's approach. "In BP, to me, it seems like there’s more of a willingness to stay in the middle of the field and not look to lift a ball too much," Farrell said. "I think it’s more of his natural swing, which he was drafted with."

Bradley said his swing has been a "work in progress." While it doesn't appear Bradley has a starting role, his defense should make him a useful major-league asset.

The 24-year-old hit .198/.265/.266 over 384 at-bats last year. 

 


Molitor: Eduardo Escobar 'will be' important part of Twins in 2015
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) Twins manager Paul Molitor marked infielder Eduardo Escobar as "an important part" of the team in 2014 and believes he will be the same this season, the Star Tribune reports.

"He was an important part of our team last year," Molitor said. "He will be this year, too."

Escobar delivered the best performance of his career in 2014, hitting .275/.315/.406 with six home runs and 37 RBI in 433 at-bats. However, he arrived at camp to learn he was in a competition for the shortstop role with last year's center fielder, Danny Santana. Breaking the news to Escobar was a delicate conversation for the manager.

"Obviously," Molitor said. "You’ve got a guy who came in and played every day for you last year, and then you’re thinking about doing something different. I’ve tried to explain it to him the best I could. His answers, at least for now, are, 'No problem. I understand.'"


 
 
 
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