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Alex Gordon projected to eat four hot dogs in 2016

Frankly, these projections make no sense on the surface. Let's cut through the mustard to get to the gritty details.

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Last season, the projections overcooked the Kansas City Royals. Predicted by PISTACHIO to miss the playoffs with a losing record of only 72 wins with the corresponding 90 losses, the Royals went off-menu while sending their order to the grand kitchen simulation of baseball. The server said, "Hey, the Royals making the playoffs is not on the menu. Didn't you see the projections?" The Royals cared not for the menu.

Utterly shocked and dismayed by the outcome, which involved the kitchen serving up the off-menu item despite not having any of the ingredients for it, traditional projection systems have ceased to exist as we know them and have moved on to predicting other aspects of baseball. The systems are unwilling to depart too far from predicting something that might affect the outcome of a game, so the systems have turned to dietary habits.

With that being said, Alex Gordon is projected to eat four hot dogs in 2016. Taking past data into account, four seems very high. From 2012 to 2015, Gordon averaged exactly zero hot dogs eaten per season. However, the average hot dog consumption per player per season is seven, so Gordon has to regress to the mean at some point. The projection systems are still new, so they may not be taking into account all relevant data yet. Given that, the projection this year seems too high, but there are legitimate reasons why.

According to the Oscar-Mayer projection system, the supply chain data acquired from Kauffman Stadium suggests increased orders for ketchup, mustard, and relish. Cash is up across the league, so while Gordon may not end up with the Royals, other stadiums are likely to see a similar increase. With increased condiments available, eating a hot dog becomes more tempting. It is important for a consumer to have choice; if only ketchup were available, 23 percent of people* said they would eat a hot dog. However, if all three condiments were available, that figure rises to 84 percent (the other 16 percent of people reported needing chili, cheese, onions, or some combination thereof in order to increase their cholesterol levels). Unaware of player preferences last season, stadiums did not provide adequate condiment choices.

*Don't hide. Stand up. Be proud.

An additional data point, stolen borrowed used from Gordon's meticulous daily food journal packed with calorie intake numbers, macro-nutrient mixes, and detailed food descriptions, Gordon has increased his consumption of mediocre carbohydrates. Though hot dogs are not sandwiches*, they contain plenty of mediocre carbohydrates because of their thick, processed buns. Hot dogs would be an easily-accessible source of those carbohydrates. Gordon saw some injury issues last year, so he may be looking for a dietary shakeup to help keep himself in top shape.

*Declared recently by the Hot Dog Consortium** or some such
**If this organization gets any of my tax dollars, I will spearhead the charge to dump all the hot dogs into the closest body of water, which may be my toilet

After the World Series victory, Gordon is also expected to lapse more often in his dietary habits. Sure, hot dog buns may be a source of the mediocre carbohydrates, but they sure are not healthy. Ned Yost, the steady hand of victory, has encouraged Gordon to eat unhealthy food for a long time. At this point, anything Yost suggests is the right course of action. Influenced by Frank Toast and potentially lacking the drive to win a World Series, Gordon is expected to say something like "Eh, one won't hurt" before giving in. Though Yost may not be Gordon's manager in the future, his influence through the World Series run will ensure that his recommendations, whatever they may be, stay front of mind for Gordon (and every other of the 749 major league players).

Wherever Gordon spends the next few years of his life, he will be under pressure to live up to his new contract. Whether stress-eating or searching for more carbs, hot dogs present an appealing option to satisfy Gordon's eating use case. Gordon may not eat exactly four hot dogs, but the conditions are plump for such an occurrence.