DT and B_Don are dipping back into the the sausage rankings this week on the world’s #1 fantasy sausage pod, this time discussing their overall rankings. Find out which players they each have ranked outrageously high or unacceptably low, and how you might want to utilized overall rankings in general.

The guys also talk about what actually matters when looking at spring training performance along with which players are rising or falling this spring. Some of the names thrown around include Alex Reyes, Ryan McMahon, Zack Wheeler and Nick Senzel. The show builds to a climax discussion of auction strategy and execution. Speaking of climax, insert the sausage in your ear-hole while it’s still fresh!

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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.

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This time last year, the baseball world was predicting the downfall of Chase Field as a hitter’s haven to the tune of a 25%-50% drop in offensive production with an uptick in pitching expected to benefit from the new humidor. After a season of the new Chase Field, I wanted to review the data and see where the drop off landed.

If you’ve been following me, you know that I was a bit skeptical that we would be looking at that kind of change in production. From my Chase Field article last year, “Home runs across the league were down, away teams actually hit more home runs in Coors in 2002 than 2001, and the culture in baseball was starting to turn away from the steroid era.” Basically, Coors was used as the case study for what would happen in Arizona, but there were a number of factors that came into play outside of the raw numbers.

I’m not going to rehash that article, but will examine the numbers to see where Chase Field landed on the scale of hitter friendly to pitcher friendly parks. If we start with the basics, we can look at how Chase Field finished in park factors for 2018. I typically utilize FanGraphs for their park factors, but they have not updated for 2018 yet, so, I looked at ESPN. As you can see below, home runs were down in 2018 compared to 2016 and 2017, but not compared to 2015. However, runs and hits were both 4 year lows in 2018 with the humidor.

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The master of bots himself, Rudy Gamble, joins B_Don and Donkey Teeth on this episode of the Ditka Pod. Discover what forms of sorcery Rudy finds most useful in his utter domination of Tout Wars each year. Speaking of sorcery, you can subscribe to all of Rudy’s tools and dominate your fantasy leagues right here.

Mr. Gamble also pontificates on fantasy strategy for the coming season. These strategic conversations touch on the art of stashing relief pitchers, modern day SAGNOF as it relates to both saves & steals, drafting a fantasy ace, RCL approaches, and much more. Rudy then shares a few of his favorite targets have been this draft season before the crew discusses the results of his LABR and Tout drafts. Bring your own sausage to this special guest episode of the world’s foremost fantasy sausage fest.

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Drafting outfielders for the 2019 fantasy baseball season is a hot topic. There’s tons of outfielders, but the top couple tiers dry up quickly. On this show, B_Don and Donkey Teeth discuss several outfielders you might consider targeting once all the top OFs are off the board.

The first of those potential targets is Byron Buxton. The juicy fantasy sausage upside that oozes from every single one of Byron Buxton’s pores is both sweet and savory. Studies have also shown this ooze can cure cancer and other terminal diseases. Buxton is off to phenomenal start this spring, boasting added muscle and claims of, “The best shape of his life”. Which is always true.

The guys also discuss expectations for rising star Michael Conforto and relative unknown rookie, Christin Stewart. Then some late round outfield targets are thrown around to finish up the show. Opening day is coming, make sure you get your fill of sausage, sausage juices, and the Ditka, Sausage, and Fantasy Sports shirt before time runs out!

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Auction drafting reminds me of playing poker. Having a plan of attack, choosing the right hand to play, and then subsequently winning the hand while finding out that you could’ve made a lot more money if you had played it correctly. If you’re patient enough, play the rights hands and stick to the calculations, it’ll work out to your benefit more often than not, but are you that patient?

Can you let a player go under value because he’s not part of your plan? Can you avoid getting sucked into the auction and over paying for your guy? Can you avoid killing your budget faster than a college kid on spring break?

Hindsight is 20/20 and that is rarely more apparent than over the course of an auction. I don’t believe I’ve ever left an auction without regret. However, even if you don’t stick to your plan, there are ways to maneuver the auction to make your team build complete.

My plan coming into the auction was similar to my draft strategy for most of my leagues. I wanted to concentrate my bat spending on top of the order, high average, speed guys. Accomplished this with my combination of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Trea Turner. I balanced that speed with power in Edwin Encarnacion, Miguel Andujar, Justin Upton, and Max Muncy.

For my pitching, I took a more aggressive stance than normal and only wanted one ace and two established closers. I got Max Scherzer and then grabbed Edwin Diaz, Sean Doolittle, and Pedro Strop late.

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THOME: Not just a big sexy retired baseball player now employed by MLB Network. Steve Paulo, and/or Neil deGrasse Tyson, joins the sausage fest to discuss his brainchild, Thomeprojections.com. Steve deGrasse Tyson explains what an IMPACT player is and breaks down how they can be utilized for fantasy baseball success. And he shares one young offensive catcher his projection system loves for this season and nobody is talking about. Paulo also attempts to dumb down the inner workings of his projection system so even Donkey Teeth can understand it.
If you’re interested in sports investing, team win totals, simulation baseball, or just listening to a really smart guy talk about really smart guy things, this is the fantasy sausage pod for you.

Speaking of projections, be sure to check out Rudy’s tool, I mean tools, here.
Want to take me on in the RCLs? Join now, free to play!
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Fantasy Master Lothario, Grey Albright, joins Donkey Teeth to discuss Jackson Hole, along with many other holes. They dig into their AL and NL-Only industry league auction results, breaking down how each team shaped up and the optimal draft strategy for these formats.

The guys talk about their shared Adalberto Mondesi love, how one might come to draft Bryce Harper in an AL-Only league, and $1 bargain buys in only-leagues, as Albright struggles to conquer his addiction to lists of letters. The show is rounded out by Grey requesting Donkey’s handyman services at his new California home and a discussion about 2019 expectations for Byron Buxton.

Buckle up and prepare to feast on this special episode of the one and only fantasy sausage pod!

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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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B_Don and Donkey dig their hands and hoofs in the the starting pitcher sausage this week on the Ditka Pod.

What will they find as they sift through this years pitching mystery meat? Could Joe Musgrove be in for a breakout season?

Is Trevor Williams’s beard top 5 in the NL? Will Chris Paddack be the best rookie SP in 2019?

Are Donkey Teeth’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers pure nonsense? Are cucumbers better pickled?

What kind of a lazy intro just lists 6 questions in a row?

If you don’t have time to listen to the podcast, the answers to those questions are: 1) You don’t want to know
2) Yes 3) Debatable 4) Maybe 5) Definitely 6) No 7) Good Question.

On second thought, you should probably just listen to the podcast. Oh, and also check out our starting pitcher rankings below…

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