As a Cubs fan in Braves country, I see a lot of similarities in the Braves to the 2015 Chicago Cubs team. They offensive pieces are falling in place as they have a couple MVP candidates. One being a veteran 1B in Freddie Freeman and the other is an exciting young player that is the future of the franchise, but the rotation may not be there yet. They have plenty of nice prospect arms coming from the minors, however, I’m not sure they are ready to carry the team yet. Atlanta does have the pieces in the farm system to make some trades if they need to as well.

The NL East is likely the most competitive division in baseball. It is the only division projected with 4 teams over 80 wins per the THOME projection system. Currently, the Braves are the front runner per THOME, the Nationals and Phillies are tied per PECOTA, and Vegas odds favor the Phillies. Regardless, it’s going to be a fun season for Braves fans and they have a lot to look forward to, not only in this season, but for the future.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Ryan Braun battled injuries once again (insert steroid/herpes cream joke). But, the Hebrew Hammer had the 14th best hard hit rate last season. His stats don’t reflect this hard hit rate so we have to assume Brauny hit into some bad luck. He reportedly changed some things in his swing this offseason for the first time in his career. The goal of this is to elevate more balls to avoid that bad luck. Braun could be a sneaky fantasy asset this year if you’re willing to roll with him missing plenty of games. He’s currently coming off the board in the 16th-17th round which could prove to be a major steal…

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The Cincinnati Reds have not enjoyed a lot of good off-seasons. Not many good in-seasons, either. Perhaps you remember the winter they thought domestic violence was bad enough to Aroldis Chapman for peanuts. Maybe a pretzel. The way I remember it, the press they received for this decision was largely negative, criticizing the Reds for not getting more back from the Yankees, who received little if any negative press for their support of a domestic abuser. They Reds had obtained, among other pieces, a man whose last name looked strikingly similar to gigolo. Perhaps this was their error. Perhaps part III, if this transaction happened today, I hope the media would more readily praise that front office’s zero-tolerance stance on choking in the kitchen and gun-play in the garage.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

NL WestNL Central | NL East || AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back to baseball Cubs fan, or just fantasy readers who want to know about the Cubs. 2018 was a disappointment for many Cubs fans and fantasy owners of Cubs players alike, unless you happened to own Javier Baez. At least there is always the bleachers with a sausage and an Old Style.

While my outlook for 2019 may still be rosy (I expect the Cubbies to win the NL Central), there is an impending contract cliff that the North siders are going to have to maneuver, and the roster could look completely different in 2021 and 2022. Some of these guys the Cubs will try to re-sign, and other deals will be nice to get off the books, but the Cubs must make that decision on Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, and several other less impactful guys.

I’m a bit hesitant on the Cubs for the future, but you’re here to figure out what to do this season. While 2018 may be viewed as a down season, the Cubs still finished 9th in runs scored and the pitching finished with the 3rd best ERA in the league. PECOTA is projecting doom and gloom with a last place finish in the division, but that seems like an overreaction to a team that is getting a healthy Kris Bryant and hopefully, a healthy Yu Darvish back this season. I may even take the over on the THOME projection of 88.5 wins with a 2nd place finish in the division, but maybe I’m just optimistic, after all, it is spring training time

(To hear more about the THOME projection system, check out my podcast, Ditka, Sausage, and Fantasy Sports on Razzball when we interview the creator, Steve Paulo).

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Well the first for-sure, definite, 100% confirmed, future Yankee free agent signing has signed with the Padres. And this kid is now every Yankee fan:

That was definitely me back in the early 90’s when my favorite player was Don Mattingly (because he lead the league in having a walrus mustache just like my Dad. Runner up: Dennis Eckersley.) Like all Yankee fans and the bandwagon Yankee fans, I then went through the arrogant highs of the late-90’s dynasty. Followed by the dark, lonely era of the Aughts which turned me into the bitter, jaded fan who grew sick and tired of the high-spending, future-sacrificing ways of the overpaid Yankees that I am today. My writer photo above is a sarcastic response to the Yankee fans who never grew out of the dynasty era and still yell “COUNT DA RINGS BRO! DEREK JETAHHH BABBYY!!!” Despite the Yankees only winning one championship in the last 19 years. But there is now a light at the end of that tunnel! Five of the players in the Yankees starting lineup are home grown players! Our ace came up through our own developmental system and wasn’t just plucked from some poor, small market, podunk team like the Reds! Our bullpen is TERRIFYING!

The eyes of Yankee Nation are set on only one thing: adding another championship ring to the trophy case. The team, fans and front office will accept nothing less. Right now, many experts have the Bombers tabbed as the World Series favorite — we’ll see how that all shakes out in October. I talked to Callen Elslager from the Fantasy Life Blog who just had his 2019 Yankees Team Preview published. Here are his thoughts on a few key questions the 2019 Bronx Bombers are facing:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

NL WestNL WestNL Central | NL East || AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

NL WestNL Central | NL East || AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!  Also pay attention to where Bryce Harper signs… Note that signing can instantly eliminate a position battle detailed herein (although it sounds like only NL teams are involved right now).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s that time of the year to talk about everyone’s favorite topic, rebuilding! The Detroit Tigers are in full rebuild mode and likely will be for the next two to three seasons. The front office claims they want to compete in 2020 but progress is a slow process in Detroit. The most exciting thing to happen for Tigers fans last season was trying to decipher what happened during the fight between local broadcasters Mario Impemba and Rod Allen. Miguel Cabrera DH and friends lost 98 games last year and finished 3rd in a weak AL Central, which boasts a few other rebuilding teams with high expectations this year (looking at you Twins and White Sox.) I’m going to keep writing DH every time I type Miguel Cabrera until it becomes true. Thoughts become things. Did you know Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, and David Price were once on this team? Of course you did, but I have to mention it or someone in the comments will say “I can’t believe you didn’t mention they used to have JV, JD, and David?!”

Please, blog, may I have some more?