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Baseballs Kids Are All Right

When Derek Jeter retired last year, the pundits puzzled over who would be the next “Face of Baseball.” Jeter was the guy on the Wheaties box, after all. And more broadly, Jeter’s retirement seemed to close one era of baseball and open another. Without an elder statesman, the game belonged to the kids. But would there be enough excellent, prodigious young players to replace Jeter’s cohort? We already have an answer: The kids are damn good, and they’re part of one of the most significant youth movements in baseball in the past 25 years.Baseball’s excellence is supremely concentrated in its young players at the moment. To get a sense for the balance of power in MLB, I calculated the average age of all position players in the league while weighting each player’s age by how good they were in a given year (using wins above replacement1FanGraphs’ version.). For example, the age of an MVP-type player counts for roughly eight2Here, I am contrasting an average MVP-level of performance — about 8 WAR — with a below-average player’s performance — about 1 WAR. times as much as a below-average scrub because he’s eight times better according to WAR. So, if the MVP is young, he’ll pull the weighted average down toward him. By weighting the ages in this way, we get a sense for where in MLB the production comes from — specifically, whether it arises from the grizzled veterans or the youngsters.The youngsters are winning.Since the early 2000s, the MLB’s weighted age has consistently fallen, hitting its low point (of 27.76) this year. This graph tells us that in recent years, more of the positive value in the league has been coming from younger players.The twin faces of the youth movement are undoubtedly Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, still only 22 and 23, respectively. Despite the best efforts of opposing pitchers, Trout is performing at his now-routine MVP level. Harper seems to have finally discovered consistent success with an overwhelming power stroke. But Harper and Trout have been joined by a generation of super-prospects who are outperforming even the loftiest expectations. Kris Bryant is the most obvious, but others include Joc Pederson, Carlos Correa, Mookie Betts and Addison Russell.There are several ways that baseball’s production could be getting younger, but it turns out that there are two straightforward explanations. One is that the oldest players have become less productive. The second is that the youngest players are on pace to create a tremendous amount of value.Let’s start with the veterans. Players ages 333Roughly the oldest 15 percent of players in MLB. and up have produced only 24 WAR so far this year, on pace for the second-lowest total of the past 25 years. Over a full year, that prorates to 54.8 WAR, which is less than half the total achieved by the equivalent group of players around the turn of the millennium.It’s not clear what is driving older position players down. One possibility is that new pace-of-play rules are making it harder for older hitters to make use of their experience. On the other hand, older position players seem to be getting worse not only at hitting, but also with the glove — and even on the base paths.There could be a connection between the fluctuating pattern of production by older players and the steroid era. Certainly, some of the confirmed steroid users managed to be productive well into their 30s, suggesting that steroids might confer their beneficial effects especially upon older hitters. But in the absence of data on who used what steroids when and how, it’s difficult to pursue this idea beyond a hypothesis. Regardless of the cause, it looks as though the current trend of age and production is more of a return to the norm of the early 1990s than a novelty.At the same time, we are witnessing a historic youth movement. Just as the very old players have gotten worse, the youngest have become much better. Players 24 and younger4Roughly the youngest 15 percent of players in MLB. have produced 48.7 WAR this year, which puts them on pace for about 110 WAR in a full year. If it holds, that would be the most WAR put up by this age group since 2007.That year saw a generation of future stars cement their place in the league. David Wright, at that time 24, had his best season, an MVP-caliber effort. Wright was joined by a host of talent, from Troy Tulowitzki to Jose Reyes to Miguel Cabrera. In total, 13 young hitters put up WAR values greater than 4, in the neighborhood of All-Star-level performance. Many of those players, and even some of the tier below them, have gone on to become superstars.Young players have traditionally relied upon their defense to build their value, and this year is no exception. The 24 and under group typically performs anywhere from 100 to 500 runs below average on offense but makes up for it to some extent with 100 to 200 runs from their defense.5I am also including the FanGraphs positional adjustment here. Less than halfway through this season’s games, young position players have been worth 93 runs defensively. Prorated to a full season, this would be the best defensive performance for that age group since 2001, when the overall value of the youngsters was near its low point.Except today’s kids can do something those 2001 ones couldn’t: rake. With an average mark of 94.6, young hitters are putting up the best Weighted Runs Created+ (wRC+) since that marvelous 2007 class (which was at 99.2). The average wRC+ is set at 100, so the young players are adding decent hitting to their superlative defense. Much of the hitting stems from a power surge: The young hitters are racking up a slugging percentage of .400, slightly better than the league average of .397.6Relative to the league average, this is the second-best number in the past 25 years (second, of course, to 2007).The young players are even providing value with their baserunning. Reds speedster Billy Hamilton, 24, leads the way, but the group is already up to 27.1 runs of baserunning value (Hamilton alone is responsible for nearly a third of this number). If it holds over a full season, that will be the best mark since 1990.Some of these statistics will not hold up over the length of a full season because of injuries or regression to the mean, of course. And many of the averages will be distorted by September call-ups. But two-thirds of the total WAR in this year’s young group comes from the 10 best players, all of whom are firmly ensconced in starting roles.A wave of young talent has arrived, just as the old veterans are fading into irrelevancy. Whether your preference is for Nolan Arenado’s slick glove work, Harper’s absurd power or Bryant’s eyes, we are witnessing the rise of a generation of future superstars. read more

Is 2015 The Year Baseballs Projections Failed

It took a couple of bold pickups the week of the trade deadline, but the Kansas City Royals had finally done it.Solidified themselves as clear front-runners for the American League pennant? Emerged as outright World Series favorites?Not quite.Kansas City’s big accomplishment was simply amassing enough talent to break .500 down the season’s final stretch — at least in the eyes of the statistical projections. Although the Royals had never dropped below .566 all season (and had posted the best winning percentage in the AL), leading sabermetric think tank Fangraphs hadn’t pegged them to win more than half of their remaining games until July 26.1KC hit a rest-of-season win projection of exactly .500 on May 11. For most of the year, Kansas City has had the record of a contender but the forecast of a lightweight.We’re not picking on Fangraphs. The 79 wins it forecast for the Royals before the season started (barring major personnel changes or extreme breakouts from current players, the preseason forecast largely determines a team’s rest-of-season projection) were actually on the high side. Although KC won 89 games and went to the World Series in 2014, a consensus average of betting over/unders2Using data compiled from the same sources we used here, plus implied win totals derived from preseason World Series odds when available. and other statistical systems3Including Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projections for the team, as well a regressed average of its Pythagorean winning percentages over the previous two seasons. would have pegged the Royals for 76 wins this year, a number that will likely end up at least 15 games low. Any projection system tied to the Royals’ comparatively weak preseason forecast would have been similarly bearish on their future record.And the Royals aren’t alone: The Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees could all potentially beat their consensus preseason projections by double digits, while the Oakland A’s, Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners may undershoot theirs by that margin. Forecasting the fates of 30 different baseball teams has always been tricky work, but this season has seemed so unpredictable that it has sparked extra rounds of self-examination among statheads.Paradoxically, in an age of unprecedented baseball data, we somehow appear to be getting worse at knowing which teams are — and will be — good.In an absolute sense, this season’s forecast win totals aren’t any further off than usual.4Extrapolating records to 162 games, the root mean square error between actual and predicted wins is lower this year than the seasonal average from 1996 to 2014. But that obscures the way predictions — and, in fact, actual team records — have also gotten more compressed over the years. As a result of the trend toward parity in MLB, preseason projections explain less of the variation among teams’ records now than they have at any point in the last 20 seasons.Strangely, the projections are doing fine at the player level. Neither hitter nor pitcher projections are necessarily to blame for the downturn in team-level forecasts. If anything, PECOTA is better now at projecting rate statistics for batters than it was five years ago, and at the very least it has gotten no worse on the pitching side. Likewise, PECOTA’s ability to nail playing-time estimates (both plate appearances and innings pitched) has only improved over that span. So in the aggregate, it’s hard to detect the slump in team projection accuracy by looking at the performance of individual player forecasts.But while PECOTA’s absolute prediction errors are getting smaller across the entire population of MLB players, its squared errors — a gauge more sensitive to outliers — have increased over the last five seasons. For that kind of discrepancy to exist, there can be only one explanation: The big misses are getting bigger, at least relative to the normal, everyday misses. And, notably, more of those extreme errors come when predicting the performance of young players.By now, it’s no secret that baseball is in the midst of a historic youth movement. As the average age of players has decreased, a lot more of the game’s value has been concentrated among its fresh faces. That’s hailed as a good thing for the game, but it may be a bad thing for projection systems. For hitters ages 24 and younger, we found that absolute prediction errors in their rate statistics are on the rise since 2009, with an even more pronounced trend toward inaccuracy if outliers are given more weight. Since those players now contribute more to the game than at any other point in recent memory, they could be playing a role in driving the recent projection crisis.There could be other culprits. Teams may be better now at assessing themselves than public metrics are. If the internal projection systems some clubs employ are superior to the ones driving published preseason forecasts, those teams could be buying and selling talent according to a different rubric. As a result, they could be constructing their rosters in a way that would amplify team-level errors in the public forecasts — for example, loading up on publicly underrated players — even if the player-level accuracy of public projections hasn’t changed much.Then again, maybe it’s all just luck — we mean literally. By definition, the compression of team records across MLB means that random variance is playing a larger role in the standings than it used to. How much larger? Computing the spread of true talent in a season using the standard deviation of team winning percentages, it turns out that a whopping 64 percent of the observed variation among teams so far this season can be explained by binomial luck — by far the highest single-season proportion of the past two decades.Even if that number regresses a bit over the season’s final third, 2015 will shatter the previous post-199551996 was the first full, 162-game season after MLB’s 1994 strike. record for luck’s sway over team winning percentages. This fact alone may go a long way toward explaining why projections are struggling.It’s tough to know what all of this means for a team like Kansas City. The Royals were smart to go all-in at the trade deadline, and as an older team they figure to be less affected by the predictive uncertainty currently plaguing baseball. Ironically, though, that means we should probably be more confident in the relatively unimpressive rest-of-season forecast set for them by a site like Fangraphs, which still regards the Royals as a team with 84-win true talent even after accounting for their deadline pickups.6This also takes into account playing time missed due to injuries, such as the strained groin that will keep star outfielder Alex Gordon out for a few more weeks.It’s a long-held saying that baseball’s playoffs are a crapshoot, but the unexpectedly great performances of teams like Kansas City this year might indicate the regular season is headed in that direction, too. read more

Cuban fever spreading throughout Ohio

Aroldis Chapman walked into the visitor’s dugout Monday at Huntington Park a few hours before a game against the Columbus Clippers with a toothpick in his mouth and a gold chain around his neck. Behind the smile and glamorous appearance is a 22-year-old man trying to find his way into major league baseball and American culture.  Chapman left Cuba on July 1, 2009. He left his mother, father, two sisters, girlfriend and newborn child behind to pursue his dream of pitching in the major leagues. At 21 years old, Chapman was thrust into a new world surrounded by a language he did not know and a culture he did not understand.  Before coming to the United States, he petitioned major league baseball to become a free agent. After much hype and demand for the Cuban phenomenon, the Cincinnati Reds signed Chapman to a six-year, $30.25 million deal on Jan. 10, 2010. When spring training began, Chapman hoped to make the major league club in Cincinnati, but after a back injury hindered his progress for a couple of days, the Reds decided to send Chapman down to their AAA-affiliate, the Louisville Bats.  His demotion to the minors has not deterred him. “I would have liked to break into camp with the team, but being here has made me happy as well,” said Chapman, who has trainer Tomas Vera translate his Spanish to English. “I am happy here and I know I have to work and make the adjustments on all my pitches.” While Chapman works in the minors to develop his pitching skills, he is slowly learning the details of American baseball. “For example, we had our first game in Toledo,” said Rick Sweet, Louisville’s manager. “He wanted to know who we played the next day. He didn’t understand that we play the same team four days in a row. We gave him a schedule, which told him we go to this city, and each city has its own team.” Sweet acknowledged that Chapman is a work in progress. “He handles [pressure] very well,” Sweet said. “He needs to learn the game of baseball, our style. It is different. We need a ton of work on the fundamentals because I don’t think they’ve done that in Cuba. He’s got a lot to learn and he’s handling it well.” American major league baseball is fundamentally and organizationally different from Cuban baseball.  The Cuban season is only 90 games. In the minor leagues, the Louisville Bats are scheduled to play 143 games, and all major league teams play 162 games. This means that Chapman has to prepare to make anywhere from 10 to 15 more starts than usual. In a league that has grown more conservative with pitch counts and innings pitched, Chapman does not seem worried. “I don’t have any concerns about my conditioning,” Chapman said. “I have been preparing really well. I have been working hard and I don’t want to have any problems. I know this is a long season, but I know I will be ready and OK.” Chapman, along with Washington Nationals prospect Stephen Strasburg, has been the focus of much media attention. Both pitchers have been clocked at over 100 mph on multiple occasions, and their potential and talent level is comparable. But, as Strasburg can just concentrate on baseball, Chapman needs to learn fundamentals as well as understand the American way of life. “The hardest part [in America] has been off-the-field things,” Chapman said. “I have to be able to adapt and I am going through that. Baseball has been normal for me. I have more problems adapting outside [baseball]. There has been a lot of stuff to learn.” Though Chapman will have to battle off-the-field perplexities, he shouldn’t have a problem transferring his previous pitching success to America. In his professional debut on Sunday, Chapman pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up one unearned run, while striking out nine batters. In addition, the stadium radar gun showed he hit 100 mph five times.  “I don’t know if I have seen that total in my career,” Sweet said. While integrating himself into American society has been difficult, Chapman feels this is the right thing to do. The only problem is that it comes at a personal price.  “I feel great. I am playing on the best baseball [stage] in the world,” Chapman said. “This is what I really want and that makes me feel gracious and happy, but the day I will be completely happy is when I have my family with me.” read more

Buckeyes Brief Urban Meyers thoughts on running back rotation kickoff struggles and

Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins (2) runs the ball in the first quarter in the game against Penn State on Oct. 28. Ohio State won 39-38. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorDespite a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit, No. 3 Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) rode a stupendous performance from quarterback J.T. Barrett to a 39-38 victory against No. 7 Penn State (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) in a battle of Big Ten powers. Head coach Urban Meyer addressed the media Monday afternoon following the victory. Here are three takeaways from the press conference.Improved offensive line led to comeback winJust a year ago, then-No. 2 Ohio State played a close game against the Nittany Lions, but crumbled on the final drive and fell 24-21 to unranked Penn State. Meyer believes this season, the Buckeyes’ resilience in tough situations did not exist a year ago.“The team last year would not have won that game,” Meyer said. “They would have dropped their head. Offensive line would have dropped their head.”Right tackle Isaiah Prince struggled in last season’s loss to Penn State. He looked overmatched the entire game and allowed multiple sacks as the clock ticked closer to zero on what would be Ohio State’s final drive. But Prince has matured after a year of experience and coaching, Meyer said. The head coach was incredulous when asked whether he was worried about Prince heading into last Saturday’s game.“He’s unbelievable now,” Meyer said. “Isaiah, not worried about him at all. He’s a grown man that’s handling his stuff the way a right offensive tackle at Ohio State should.”All five starting offensive linemen graded as successful on between 82 and 86 percent of their plays. Meyer deemed them all to have “champion” effort. Meyer does not want to “micromanage” running back carriesIn the first quarter, freshman running back J.K. Dobbins exploded, taking four carries for 50 yards, including a 21-yard rush. But he did not touch the ball again until the third quarter as redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber took all seven second-quarter carries.Dobbins finished with 13 rushes for 88 yards while Weber had 21 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Meyer said he does not, and would not want to, involve himself in divvying up the carries.“[Dobbins] still had 88 yards and however many carries,” Meyer said. “So we’re throwing the ball so darn well right now, too. So there’s no, once again I don’t micromanage. That’s Kevin Wilson, and that’s Tony Alford to determine. And they’re both practicing very hard. You’d like to get them more carries.”Meyer said he trusts good coaches to make playing-time decisions when the players are “1-A” and “1-B.” “[Running backs coach] Tony Alford is an excellent football coach,” Meyer said. “The last thing he needs is me worrying about that stuff.”Meyer said Weber has “really done a nice job” this season despite an injury which hampered him and made possible Dobbins’ surge, but also mentioned the 2016 starter was humbled. Meyer said Weber’s goal is to reach close to 2,000 rushing yards in a season. But with Dobbins accompanying him in the backfield for the foreseeable future, his path to reaching 2,000 yards is unclear.Search remains for a solution to kickoffsIt took just 15 seconds into Saturday’s game for Penn State to take advantage of Ohio State’s biggest weakness — kickoff coverage — as running back Saquon Barkley returned the opening kick 97 yards to give the Nittany Lions an early six-point lead.After the game, Meyer called the kickoff unit, which he said has historically been near the best in the conference, “comical.” Monday afternoon, he said it was “a joke right now.” “We’re the only school in the America that can’t kick it out of the end zone, even with the wind at our back,” Meyer said. “I’m not a kicking expert but kick the ball out of the end zone and we don’t do that. It’s not because of not telling them to kick the ball out of the end zone.”Former Ohio State punter Cameron Johnston disputed the claim. He took to Twitter to say he does not believe Meyer’s claim about not being able to kick the ball out of the end zone, as he said he has seen both kickers do so firsthand.Regardless of how the Buckeyes fix the unit, they cannot afford to continue to send out the same unit expecting different results. If something doesn’t change, the number in Ohio State’s loss column will. read more

Conte believes Man City can dominate for years

first_imgAntonio Conte believes that Manchester City are capable of dominating the Premier League for yearsThe Citizens were recently confirmed as the new Premier League champions, last Sunday, after local rivals Manchester United suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to lowly West Brom.City have now equalled United’s record from 2001 by winning the league title with five games remaining and are on course to break two further records at the end of this season with Chelsea’s record points tally of 95 points under threat with Pep Guardiola’s side on 87. Also up for grabs is their own goalscoring record at 103 goals during the 2009/10 season with the current squad on 93 goals.Conte, who won the Premier League with Chelsea last season, believes that City stand above every club in the league and are the one side that are truly capable of mounting a challenge both domestically and in Europe.“Manchester City is one club that can continue to dominate, to win, not only in England, but also to fight for the Champions League.” said the Chelsea boss, according to Football365.Stefano Sensi, inter milanReport: Inter go top with win over Udinese George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Inter Milan are top of Serie A after beating Udinese to make it three wins out of three.Antonio Conte’s career at Inter Milan, could…“They have the possibility to do this. It is a very strong club, they have an important squad with great players and are a club that want to invest and improve. There are a lot of things that are right.”Although they do have a game in hand against Tottenham in the league standings, Conte admits it will be difficult to recover from an eight point gap to their London rivals at this stage of the season. But the Italian insists that, despite the odds, Champions League football is still the target for Chelsea.“We have to try until the end to reach this target.” admitted the 48 year-old.“If we want to be realistic with five games to go, it’s not simple to reduce the gap, but we must have the will to fight, the desire to take this target. Why not?“We have an important game against Burnley, a really strong team having a fantastic season, and it won’t be easy to get three points.”last_img read more

Tropical Depression Could Form in the Atlantic Later This Week

first_img Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #tropicaldepressionwatch Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppCaribbean, July 3, 2017 – Cabo Verde Islands- A nearly stationary broad area of low pressure located about 650 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands continues to produce disorganized showers and thunderstorms. Environmental conditions are expected to become more conducive for development, and a tropical depression could form later this week. The disturbance is expected to begin moving west-northwestward in a day or so, and it should continue moving in that direction through theremainder of the week.It has a high chance (70 percent) of developing into at least a tropical depression over the next five days. It has a low chance (20 percent) of developing within the next 48 hours.From NOAA:http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php?basin=atlc&fdays=5#magneticmedianewslast_img read more

Of one and the other

first_imgFrolicking with colours imbibes a variety of connotations and to explain it through art, the Capital is ready to host a solo show of paintings titled Mook Samvad by Deepika Mishra. The week-long exhibition will start on Wednesday.Mishra says the theme of all her paintings is love. They revolve around relationship between married couples. Mishra says: “A firm belief in reincarnation has led me paint my subjects in that light,” Mishra lays an stress on the selection of colours in her paintings. She says colours depict human emotions. “The colours used in the paintings describe the relationship between a man and his wife. Women are associated with various emotions and depicting them perfectly is a challenge.” Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The acrylic artist added: “I love to dabble with colours. Women have always been an intriguing topic of my paintings.” “To display emotions in paintings, the mood needs to be blended with colours. So, I use of acrylics to depict the mood of a soul – their  emotions  – in perfect harmony with the nature,” added Mishra.The painter said: “The technique I have used is Anuvedh, which means blending. The acrylic on canvas depicts seamless blending of souls, with songs and colours of the earth. We are, from what we arise, the earth. While one part of our soul is connected to the earth, leaves, trees, sand and water; the other is connected to ‘Brahma’ – the Supreme Being. This offering aspires to give expression to our connection to the earth.”  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe artist also paints landscapes, abstracts, military depictions, murals, water colours and mixed media creations. She is also adept in using various other techniques for painting such as brushes, knives, charcoal, glass paint, glass, tiles and deco. Mishra is also a singer and has participated in a number of musical events. She says singing has always been her passion.  Where: Beanstalk, Gurgaon When: June 17 -23 Timings: 10:30 AM to 8 PMlast_img read more

Second day of Madhyamik sees rerun of question paper leak Partha intervenes

first_imgKolkata: The second day of the Madhyamik examination on Wednesday saw a repetition of the first day’s incident, where the question paper was found circulating on WhatsApp soon after the commencement of examination.On Wednesday as well, a portion of the English question paper was circulated through WhatsApp, a while after the start of the examination. The same incident on two consecutive days forced the state Education minister Partha Chatterjee to intervene. “If any student is caught with mobile phone inside the examination hall from Thursday, his/her examination will not only be cancelled, but he/she will not be allowed to sit for the examination further,” Chatterjee said. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThe minister also communicated the government’s stand in this regard to the president of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education Kalyanmoy Ganguly. The Education department has also asked the Board officials to act tough if any invigilator or non-teaching staff is found with mobile phone inside the examination hall. An official pointed out that there have been a few cases where a thorough search of the examinees could not be done at the venue gate due to objections from some students and as a result, they had entered the hall with mobile phones. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata”Despite repeated requests to the students, it is sad that they are not adhering to the directions of the Board and are entering the examination halls with mobile phones,” the official said. The state Education minister has sought a report of the incident from the Board president regarding the back-to-back circulation of question papers on WhatsApp. It may be mentioned that after similar circulation of question paper on the first day of the examination, the Board had filed an FIR with the Cyber Crime Police station of Bidhannagar police commissionerate. Meanwhile, a provision of 10 totos and a Maruti van has been made by Bidhannagar Welfare Society to help the students reach their examination centres for free. The Education minister also announced a number of initiatives by his department to observe the 200th birth anniversary of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. The Sanskrit College and University will unveil an archive on Vidyasagar, while institutions will hold extempore and other similar programmes on the occasion. “We have already written to the Centre, seeking its nod for release of a postage stamp to commemorate the occasion. The institutions in the state where Vidyasagar had set foot will be lit up with attractive lights to mark the occasion that falls in September this year,” Chatterjee said.last_img read more