The Three Stooges are awesome. Unquestionably one of the greatest comedic acts of all time. If you’ve seen the Sean Hayes/Will Sasso Stooges film from a few years ago, well, I’m sorry about that. Hollywood has a special knack for ruining things these days, doesn’t it? Go check out Disorder in the Court, A Plumbing We Will Go, Brideless Groom, or any of the many other classic short films from this talented trio to get that sour taste out of your mouth. One of their early shorts, Whoops, I’m an Indian!, tends to get lost in the shuffle. The Stooges are caught cheating while gambling and are forced to run from the angry victims. Curly ends up marrying one of the pursuers when dressed as an Indian squaw (because his disguise is sooo convincing) and all is well until his wig slips off and the jig is up. It’s probably not their best work, but it never seems to be mentioned much anymore. A bit of an underrated gem, in my opinion. This week’s top add, Cleveland Indians third baseman/outfielder Jose Ramirez (51.4% owned; +25.8% over the past week), is another diamond in the rough much like that Stooges short. He’s gotten off to an impressive start this season (.305/.381/.447 with 22 runs, 3 homers, 19 RBI, and 4 steals in 161 plate appearances) thanks in large part to his incredible plate discipline. Ramirez has been excellent at pitch recognition (22.2% O-Swing% is 26th lowest among qualified players), and when he does swing at pitches outside of the strike zone, he makes contact at an elite rate (86.1% O-Contact% leads MLB). This has allowed him to strikeout at the third lowest rate (9.3%) among 181 qualifiers, and be one of only eight players with more walks than strikeouts (Zobrist, Span, Harper, Rizzo, Santana, Altuve, and Bautista are the others). Ramirez possesses 25 steal speed (though 15-18 is more realistic), and appears to have a shot to crack double digits in homers this season as well. He’s been moved up to the 5th spot in the lineup recently, and should qualify at 2B and SS in addition to the 3B/OF eligibility that was mentioned earlier. Terrific plate discipline, plus speed, developing power (23 years old), and eligible just about everywhere. Giddy up. Grab him if he’s still lingering on the wire.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The ace who just last year produced the lowest ERA (1.66) in a single season among qualified starting pitchers since Greg Maddux in 1995 and the lowest WHIP (0.84) since Pedro Martinez in 2000 wasn’t supposed to struggle like this. But things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for Zack Greinke since signing a six-year, $208 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks this past offseason. His current 1.31 WHIP isn’t too far off from last year’s ERA and his current 4.59 ERA is almost triple that of last season’s mark. At this rate, Greinke and his fantasy owners are unlikely to remain friends forever. But what exactly has happened here? Is he going to turn things around, or was last season just a fluke?

Let’s take a look at Greinke’s profile to determine why he’s struggling and what can be expected from him moving forward. Here are a few observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, Oakland A’s third baseman Danny Valencia (63.8% owned; +36.4% over the past week), has undergone quite the transformation over the last calendar year. Prior to the 2015 season, he was just a part-time player who mashed left-handed pitching in the Ryan Raburn/Scott Van Slyke mold. From his MLB debut in 2010 through the end of the 2014 season, Valencia’s .870 OPS vs lefties far surpassed his .615 OPS against right-handed pitching. Since the beginning of the 2015 season, it’s been business as usual vs LHP (.907 OPS), but he’s improved considerably against RHP (.845 OPS). His ISO also jumped from .142 (pre-2015) to .225 (2015-present day) during that period. Hmm… a player displaying a huge power surge at 30 years old isn’t suspicious at all! Well, there may be a couple of reasonable explanations for Valencia morphing from Kelly Johnson into Ryan Braun at the plate virtually overnight. The first thing is the addition of a leg kick in his swing courtesy of former teammate and elite slugger Jose Bautista. The second thing is the opportunity to play every day. Valencia never received that opportunity until late last season in Toronto, and his performance during that time convinced the A’s to give him a shot as their starting third baseman. Through his first 14 games this season though, Valencia’s power disappeared, as he managed just a .353 slugging percentage with no homers and 2 RBI in 55 plate appearances. Maybe that power surge was just a fluke after all. After a DL stint at the end of April into the beginning of May, however, the power returned with a vengeance. Since returning on May 7th, Valencia has produced a .354/.360/.729 triple slash line, which includes smashing 6 homers across five games from May 13th-17th. He looks like a good bet for a .280 average and 15-17 homers moving forward, so add him if you can (or more likely, try to get him on the cheap via trade).

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re experiencing a sudden case of déjà vu, you might want to schedule a visit with a neurologist. According to Wikipedia, it could be a symptom of epilepsy. Of course, if you happened to stumble upon the Adrian Beltre article that I wrote almost a year ago to the day, that would probably account for the sense of familiarity that you’re feeling at the moment. Same series, same title. It’s not laziness. I prefer to think of it as being efficient. Yes, that sounds perfectly reasonable. We’ll go with that. But why am I writing about the Rangers third baseman yet again this season? Has his production fallen off of a cliff? Has he found the fountain of youth at age 37? Has he overcome his bizarre head-touching phobia?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Does anyone remember the sitcom That ’70s Show? It was a harmless enough little show, despite the fact that it unleashed Ashton Kutcher upon the world and led to several high profile movie roles for lead actor Topher Grace (why?). Perhaps most notably, it also introduced the public to a young actress named Mila Kunis, who portrayed a character named Jackie Burkhart. Jackie was young, cute, and full of potential, but man was she annoying. Her whiny, shrilly voice was like nails on a chalkboard. It was enough to make you want to hit the mute button or just change the channel entirely. Until recently, this week’s most added player, Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (84.2% owned; +54.5% over the past week), was just like the early version of that Jackie. A young player with solid upside who possessed a few annoying tendencies. Sure he could take a walk, but what good is that in fantasy (outside of OBP leagues) if there’s no stolen base or counting stats resulting from it? Think of the fantasy ramifications, dammit! Fortunately, JBJ has been more aggressive at the plate this season (48.3% Swing% – up from 43.7% in 2015), and it has paid dividends for him. His K% is down to a career low 21.1%, and his .962 OPS (14th in MLB) and .257 ISO (18th in MLB) are currently among the league leaders. Over the last two weeks, he’s produced a .423/.444/.769 slash line with 5 homers and 17 RBI. This version of JBJ is like That ’70s Jackie muted and wearing a coconut bikini (sorta NSFW). Expect the RBI pace to drop off a bit (30 RBI – 7th most in MLB), but he looks like a viable OF3 for the immediate future.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Felix Hernandez has unquestionably been one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball in recent memory. His accomplishments over his 11+ MLB seasons are astounding. Six-time All-Star. AL Cy Young Award winner (2010) and two-time runner-up (2009, 2014). Led MLB in wins (2009) and ERA (2010, 2014). Threw the first perfect game in Seattle Mariners franchise history. On April 23rd of this season, he logged his 2,163rd strikeout as a Mariner to become the franchise’s all-time leader in career strikeouts (surpassing Randy Johnson). All of this from a player who just turned 30 years old a little over a month ago. This season, he’s come roaring out of the gates once again with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP through seven starts. He looks to be steadily advancing onto the path to Cooperstown. But is he still the same dominant pitcher that he’s proven to be throughout the majority of his career?

Let’s take a look at King Felix’s profile to determine if his dominant run is likely to continue throughout the 2016 season. Here are a few observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Arizona Diamondbacks rookie Brandon Drury (62.0% owned; +41.5% over the past week) is this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues. If you thought that the DBacks traded all of their promising prospects to the Braves in the Shelby Miller trade earlier this offseason, well, it’s understandable. Dave Stewart might have given up his firstborn child and Curt Schilling’s World Series ring in that deal, but Drury survived the exodus to make the big league roster and platoon with incumbent Jake Lamb at third base for the snakes this season. At least, that was the initial plan. Drury impressed so much in the early going that he quickly forced himself into the everyday lineup and has done everything in his power to stay there. Since April 17th (19 games), Drury has produced 13 runs, 6 homers, 11 RBI, and a .329/.354/.671 triple slash line in 82 plate appearances. Not too shabby. To keep his hot bat in the lineup as well as get Lamb some playing time against right-handed pitching, the DBacks have moved Drury all over the diamond (2B/3B/LF/RF) this season, which should make for some nice positional versatility (though he might not get enough starts at 2B to qualify there). Those are the positives. The negatives (for fantasy purposes) are that he doesn’t have much speed (0 SBs in his last 111 games between AAA and MLB), has limited on-base skills (3 walks in 109 PA this season; 2 walks in 59 MLB PA last season), and is more of a LD/GB hitter than a fly ball one (27.3% FB% in MLB). Drury’s ability to make solid contact should keep his average respectable (.270ish range), but he’s better served as a flexible bench piece in the Brock Holt mold rather than counted on as a fantasy cornerstone.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The “five tool” player (having the abilities to hit for average and power, base-running skills/speed, throwing, and fielding) is one who possesses an incredibly rare set of skills. Branch Rickey, who first coined the term in his book The American Diamond, could only name two true “five tool” players at the time – Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Essentially, it’s a term that refers to elite, well-rounded athletes who can do anything and everything on the baseball field. Which players would qualify as true five toolers in today’s game? Three names immediately come to mind – Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Manny Machado. Elite skills and production across the board. Andrew McCutchen is a strong candidate based on his track record, though his speed appears to be in decline. Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts, and Starling Marte might have a shortcoming or two, but they’re in the mix as well.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Velocity. Youth. Durability. These are a few of the traits that are common among breakout pitchers each and every season. This weeks’s top add, Oakland A’s starting pitcher Rich Hill (51.4% owned; +35.6% over the past week), possesses none of these qualities. Why is he such a hot commodity then? It’s simple. Strikeouts. Through 32 IP this season, his 41 Ks are tied for the 6th highest total in all of baseball. How he’s accomplishing this impressive feat is a bit more complicated. Hill is a 36-year-old with 532 MLB innings on his resumé, and just 104.2 of those were recorded during the 2010-2015 seasons. That’s less than 18 innings or roughly three starts per season. Not terribly encouraging on the durability front. What Hill does have going for him is a knee-buckling curve as well as an effective fourseam fastball which he is able to command effectively against both right-handed and left-handed hitters. This combination has allowed him to rack up the strikeouts as well as induce groundballs at an elite rate. In fact, he’s one of only two qualified starting pitchers this season to produce an 11+ K/9 with a 50+ GB%. The other pitcher is Noah Syndergaard. Grab Hill if he’s available  and enjoy the numbers as long as the old man is able to stay on the field.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

El Grande Dolor. The Cuban Barry Bonds. Oso or Yogi. All of these are phrases and nicknames that have been used to describe Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu in recent years. I’m not really sure where those last couple of ones came from, but they’re listed under his profile at baseball-reference, so we’ll roll with it. Side note: can those profiles be edited by the public á la Wikipedia? Perhaps I could just go in and change his nickname to, say, Boo-Boo. Would that make listening to Hawk Harrelson tolerable if he started using random meaningless terms to describe the Sox players? Hmm… probably not. But I digress. Abreu has looked anything but a Cuban version of Barry Bonds or Frank Thomas in the early going. Maybe more like the current version of Thomas, but that’s not exactly what was expected of him coming into this season. We’re almost a month into the 2016 campaign, and Abreu’s been outhomered by the likes of Aledmys Diaz and Scooter Gennett. He obviously brings no speed to the table, and his batting average currently resides under the Mendoza line. In other words, he’s been pretty awful thus far. What’s going on here? Why has Abreu been so terrible this season?

Let’s dig into Abreu’s profile to see if we can figure out what’s causing these early struggles. Here are a few observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?