Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ask some of my friends and they will tell you that I am a person that can misplace things from time to time — alright, all of my friends will tell you that. Knowing the location of my smartphone can be one such challenge.In my mind, smartphones are both a blessing and a curse. The good? Nearly the entire span of human knowledge and wisdom is available to us at the flick of a thumb on a device that fits in our pocket. The bad? The fact that the entire span of human knowledge and wisdom is on a device small enough to fit in our pocket — and then go undetected when flung unknowingly into a field.I used to work on my extended family’s large dairy farm where I had carried on the tradition that my two older brothers, whom had worked before me, began. Now this dairy, like most farms of its type, gains most of its herd growth from heifers born on the operation. It takes roughly two years for a newborn calf to become ready for the milk cycle, and during the summers of their development, many of them are put out to pasture. One of my jobs at the farm was to buddy up with my cousin on the weekends — let’s call him J — to feed grain to pasture heifers in order to better manage their diets.To this day, it was one of my favorite jobs. A lot of the world’s problems were solved in the cab of that truck driving from pasture to pasture in the early hours each day. One morning, however, the world’s problems had to wait.There we were, headed back to the last pasture of the day. J was driving and I was on gate duty (at any moment ready to leap out of the truck and open the gates keeping the truck out and the heifers in). He nonchalantly asked if I had gotten a message from my uncle, the boss man. I quickly swiped my hand into the right front pocket of my iodine-stained jeans.No phone.“Odd,” I thought, as sweat started to bead on my forehead. “Better try the other pockets.”I quickly rummaged the left front and back pockets of my jeans before realizing my device was nowhere in the denim. With wide eyes and adrenaline pumping, I immediately lunged out of my seat and turned around. My cousin, startled at the sudden movement, swerved across the road, sending my head into the glass window, making a “konk” sound in the process — similar to two coconuts being smashed together.The mild concussion-inducing head bounce only delayed the realization for a few seconds — my phone was not in this vehicle.“Well did you leave it at the farm?” my cousin offered.“No! I had it after we left because I looked at the time as we were on the road!” I frantically recalled. There, somewhere in the five pastures we had visited since that time, the phone was likely laying. Helpless, cold, alone — my smartphone was maybe feeling the tickle of a cow’s rough tongue, or even the indelicate harassment by a heifer’s hooves. The latter was unthinkable. I couldn’t stand to imagine the prized object in such an abysmal situation.Ok yes, the phone was just a mangling of metal, glass, and electricity that could be easily replaced, but no such thoughts crossed my mind in that moment. We had to find it.My cousin, through a bond we had grown in our long pasture mornings together, immediately absorbed my panic and alarm. The gas pedal hit the floor, tires squealed, and the local church bells seemed to echo in alarm as we were off to find the phone.We started by heading to our prior stop — a barn with a pasture that ran back to a creek to an adjoining field on the other side of the road. To our dismay, another member of the farm was just arriving in front of us, dumping a load of gravel near the bunk in which we had stopped to deliver feed. Surely my phone was crushed by the tons of vehicle and rock above it if it had been there.Pasture after pasture heard our panicked calls, but still nothing.Then, an idea — the smartphone I lost was an iPhone! It had been equipped with the “Find My iPhone” feature when I originally bought it and could still be found if it had not yet met its demise at the hands of heifers or herdsmen. The location app was available with any other smartphone. My cousin, however, was still clinging to a flip phone at the time, and like many farmers, was holding out on getting a smartphone for some secret, unknown reason which only they seem to know. Our means of accessing the location feature wasn’t possible. Good news broke as we realized his tech-savvy wife did have a smartphone. A quick call was placed urgently explaining the situation and what she had to do.My cousin soon received a picture from his wife to his phone. It was a screenshot of a satellite view map that had a blue dot that had the words “Joel’s iPhone” emboldened above it. We went straight to work deciphering the landmarks and geography from the aerial view picture, an interpreting job that even the U.S. Army would envy.We cleverly deduced it was back in the pasture where we had first looked, the same place the gravel was being unloaded. We proceeded that way with doubts about the accuracy of such GPS technology as the blue dot showed us it was in a part of the field we had not been.Our arrival back to the field was greeted with the harsh realization that the little blue dot on the map coincided very closely with the placement of two large piles of gravel. When I say very well I mean in the exact same dang place. My cousin immediately started calling it from the truck parked afar in order to keep from unwittingly crunching the device. I started scanning the ground near the feed bunks where we were, hoping the accuracy of the little blue dot was off by several feet (possibly, we thought, due to several shiny grain bins and tin roofs nearby bouncing the signal around — NASA scientists we are not).The minutes passed and the search path kept getting wider and wider. My cousin kept calling the phone, interrupting the deadly silence that we had maintained with a loud shriek from time to time exclaiming, “THE PHONE MUST STILL BE GOOD BECAUSE IT KEEPS RINGING.” Thanks for the hope, J.After a notable amount of time went by, we decided to reevaluate the situation. Should we abort, give up, and head back to the farm to continue with the morning’s chores? Or try once more? Another look at the tiny map on the itty bitty flip phone screen and we decided to go closer to those foreboding gravel piles that would mean sure death for a smartphone.J went back to calling and I intrepidly headed out to the middle of the field, a location where we hadn’t been all morning. Why would the phone be there?My ears twitched at the slightest sound as we maintained strict silence in the search for the ringtone (albeit the occasional assurance scream of “IT’S STILL RINGING” by J — thanks again for the hope, cousin).And then…something — was it a trick my ears were playing on me? Was it a cow mooing in a far off pasture? Was it a fly passing by? Was it a groundhog moving underground? No, this was the distinct sound of on and off vibration made by a phone. I ran towards the origin of the audio about 15 feet away. There I saw a black object glint in the sunlight and I hurriedly dove ahead for it, screaming in the process. My phone had been found!I hoisted it into the air with a victory yell. J was rocking the truck in celebration of the find. I ran towards the vehicle with urgency, jumping and waving my phone in excitement while doing so.(Only later would we find out that the farmer in the pasture delivering gravel had witnessed the entire thing. Looking back, the moment of discovery was relatable to the scene from Rudy in which the entire stadium cheers in the end. Though in this case, instead of the Notre Dame football team and its players overcoming the barriers of life, two guys were out hopping up and down in some pasture.)The culprit for the phone’s missing? We figured the clumsy placement of it halfway in my pocket. The reason for the phone being in the middle of the field? Well, a telltale sign after its discovery helped us with that — a healthy dose of cow cud covering the phone from top to bottom. It seems one of our bovine friends had decided it was time their herd had access to the entire span of human knowledge and wisdom, but it looks like they grew tired of that and went back to the excitement of eating grass.Maybe they’re onto something? Good moooove cows, good move.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Dianne Shoemaker, Ohio State University Extension Field SpecialistThe Farm Service Agency plans to open the sign-up period on June 17 for the newly renovated Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program, re-named and re-configured in the 2018 Farm Bill. The changes you will see in the DMC Program attempt to fix some of the problems that rendered the Dairy Margin Protection Program largely ineffective until initial adjustments were implemented early in 2018.Two of the biggest changes that will positively impact farms of all sizes include 1) adding 3 new margins ($8.50, $9.00 and $9.50) at reasonable premiums, and 2) allowing farms with base production of more than 5 million pounds to make a second margin election for pounds over the first 5 million.There are also opportunities to recover program participation net losses from 2014, 2015, 2016 or 2017. Repayment can be received either as cash (50% of the net loss), or by applying it to premiums for participation in the new program (75% of the net loss). What does this mean? If a farm purchased $6.50 margin coverage in 2016, paid a premium of $3,500 and received a total indemnity payment of $500, they had a $3,000 net loss. The farm can now choose to receive half the difference, or $1,500 as a cash payment. The other option is to receive $2,250, or 75% of the amount, as a credit toward premiums for Dairy Margin Coverage Program participation. If you participated in any or all of those years, you will receive notification from your Farm Services Agency office with your amounts and options.So why should you step up to the plate? Just like 2018, when sign-ups were re-opened for the updated program, sign-ups for 2019 will open well after January, but participation will be retroactive to Jan. 1. When the sign-up period opens on June 17, we will know exactly what the margins will be for January ($7.99), February ($8.22), March ($8.85), and April. Signups will end September 20, so you could wait and know what the actual margins are through at least July. As USDA announces new monthly margins, you can find them posted at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/Dairy-MPP/indexFor farms with up to 5 million pounds of base production, indemnity payments for January through March more than cover the premiums at the highest ($9.50) margin.Example:Base milk: 5,000,000 pounds (about 200 cows)Farm elects to cover 95% of their base, 4,750,000 pounds, or 47,500 cwt.Coverage level selected: $9.50 margin costing 15¢ per cwtThe program assumes that production is equal across months, or 47,500/12 = 3,958 cwt per month.Because we know the January, February, and March margins, we can calculate the current indemnity payments. These payments are made on the difference between the purchased margin coverage level ($9.50 in this example) and the announced margin, times the monthly cwts covered:Jan $1.51 x 3,958 cwt = $5,977Feb $1.28 x 3,958 cwt = $5,066March $0.65 x 3,958 cwt = $2,573Total payments = $13,616Less6.2% Sequestration = $ 844Administration fee = $ 100Premium = $ 7,125Difference = $ 5,547 paid to the farmSince the signup is retroactive to January 1, we know that not only will the known indemnity payments cover all program costs; we also know there will be net positive dollars to help pay a few bills.How many total net dollars for 2019 is unclear and changing. Recently, projections indicated that there would be announced margins less than $9.50 well into the summer. If recent milk market rallies hold and show up in milk checks, then there could few or no further indemnity payments. We all hope that that will be the case. Second election for base pounds over 5 millionA major change that impacts farms with more than 200 cows, is the opportunity to make a margin selection for the first 5 million pounds of base milk, and a different margin selection for any base pounds over 5 million pounds. The Tier 2 premiums for the > 5 million pounds are substantially higher than premiums for the first 5 million pounds. To be allowed to make a second selection, the farm must purchase coverage at $8.50, $9.00, or $9.50 for the first 5 million base pounds (Tier 1 milk and premiums).Tier 2 premiums are the same as Tier 1 premiums for $4.00, $4.50, and $5.00 margins. The premium for the $5.50 Tier 2 margin costs more than three times as much as the corresponding Tier 1 premium, with premiums increasing exponentially until they reach $1.813 for the $8.00 margin. The higher coverage levels quickly become cost prohibitive and are unlikely to make sense for most farms.However, with the new 2-election option, farms with base production of more than five million pounds should seriously consider maximizing coverage in Tier 1 and electing the $4.00, $4.50, or $5.00 margin coverage on their Tier 2 base pounds for 2019. Long-term commitment = 25% off premiumsAnother option for farmers to consider as they sign up this year is the 25% premium discount option. There is a large string attached to the 25% discount, as you have to commit to your election for 5 years. Decision toolHow to make a decision? Particularly if you are considering the five-year commitment, use the decision tool developed by Mark Stephenson and crew at the University of Wisconsin. The new DMC Decision Tool, which incorporates the changes legislated in the 2018 Farm Bill is now up and running at https://dairymarkets.org. This is a very handy tool that allows farmers to enter their historic production (still starts with the highest of 2011, 2012, or 2013 production — verify your current production history with your FSA office) and explore the cost and potential returns of different coverage percentages and levels. It will lay out your costs for 2019 participation, expected payment, and also lay out the premium with the 25% discount and total 5-year cost if you want to consider that option.There is also a button to plug in your MPP Premium Repayment amount supplied to you by your FSA office. It will tell you how much you could receive as a cash payment and how much of your current selection’s premium would be covered if you chose that option. The decision tool’s milk and feed price data is updated nearly daily, so you may receive different “expected payment” results depending on what the markets are doing.OSU Extension and FSA offices will be working together and offering educational programs before and early in the sign-up period to review the changes and options for farmers. Look at the options for your farm.
8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… dana oshiro Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting It seems aggregation services aren’t just a viable business in the travel and web-media worlds. AccessDNA offers users a chance to compare genetic test providers like 23andMe and Navigenics. Users receive a Expedia-like experience when inquiring about tests on anemia, cancer and ancestral lineage. While the company appears to be a surprising step away from CEO Lee Essner’s former life at Wedding Channel, the business models are incredibly similar. As a former executive at the Wedding Channel, Essner saw how family-driven lead generation could make a successful business. The company not only made money when brides purchased services through the site, but also when family members were forwarded travel deals and gift registry links. The company was so successful that it was acquired by popular wedding network The Knot. AccessDNA works based on a similar model. Says Essner, “As you can imagine, there is a very strong family connection relative to a person’s genetics. Ultimately we want to also help families understand their risks by getting a user to share, communicate, and discuss those genetic risks that are within the family and have everyone get access to the right testing or services.”Users start by outlining areas of interest including baby gender testing, genetics and alcohol and even paternity relationships. From here the test moves on to more personal questions like whether or not you have a family history of cancer. In the end you are presented with a personalized genetic report and a list of service providers related to each of your areas of interest or risk. Based on the fact that few users will know their family medical history beyond 3 generations, we can see why individuals would want to share tests amongst family members. Although AccessDNA has a sound business model, it doesn’t mean that Essner isn’t passionate about it. The CEO started the company after his pregnant wife was forced to seek a genetic counselor due to a complex family history. Says Essner, “We got testing, but I felt that I had special access to these types of services because I lived in a big city and went to a quality OBGYN. With so few genetic professionals in the U.S. and all these online services emerging, I felt it was important to help consumers get access to the best services for them. My genetic counselor actually left Genzyme to help me start AccessDNA.”To test the service visit AccessDNA.com. Related Posts Tags:#start#startups
CLEVELAND (AP) — Michael Brantley homered and had three RBIs, Nick Swisher hit a go-ahead two-run shot and the Cleveland Indians stopped rookie sensation Masahiro Tanaka’s bid to become the major league’s first 13-game winner Tuesday night with a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees.Brantley hit a leadoff homer in the seventh. The first-time All-Star also had RBI doubles in the first and fifth, raising his average to .328.Tanaka (12-4) allowed season worsts of five runs and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander, who lost for the third time in four starts, took a 3-2 lead into the sixth before Swisher, a former Yankee, hit a two-run homer that put Cleveland on top.Trevor Bauer (3-4) allowed three runs in seven innings and retired 13 of the last 14 hitters he faced. New York’s only baserunner in that stretch came on Swisher’s fifth-inning error. Bauer struck out six and walked two in winning for the first time since June 16.Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his 10th save.The Yankees were held to four hits, none coming after Brian McCann had a one-out single in the third.The Indians committed three errors, giving them a major league-high 75 for the season.Swisher heard boos from the crowd earlier in the game after going 0 for 2 and having a routine groundball go through his legs.Tanaka allowed a run in a 25-pitch first inning and gave up two hits in the second. He retired seven straight before allowing a run in the fifth when Brantley had a two-out double after Chris Dickerson led off with a single.Tanaka struck out five and walked one.New York scored twice in the first on Mark Teixeria’s RBI single and a throwing error by catcher Yan Gomes. Brett Gardner added a run-scoring groundout in the second.Jason Kipnis started the first with a single, stole second and scored when Brantley doubled to right. Brantley leads the Indians with 14 homers and 60 RBIs.Gardner walked to start the game and moved to second on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single. Dickerson attempted a diving catch of Teixeria’s bloop hit, but the ball deflected off his glove and rolled toward center, allowing Gardner to score.New York pulled a double steal when McCann struck out swinging. Gomes’ throw to second went into center field and Ellsbury scored. Teixeria’s stolen base was his first of the season.NOTES: RHP Brandon McCarthy (3-10) will make his Yankees debut Wednesday night. He was acquired from Arizona on Sunday. “It’s the Yankees,” he said. “It’s a team that’s in contention. It’s a team that’s known for winning, there’s really no other answer than it’s just the Yankees.” … The Indians recalled C Roberto Perez and LHP Nick Hagadone from Triple-A Columbus. … Yankees OF Carlos Beltran (soreness behind right knee) was out of the lineup for the second straight game. … Yankees manager Joe Girardi said RHP Shane Greene, who recorded his first major league win Monday, will start Saturday against Baltimore. … RHP Josh Tomlin (5-6) starts for the Indians on Wednesday.TweetPinShare0 Shares
Earlier this month, Major League Baseball said it was considering a rule change to require pitchers to face at least three batters per appearance — or finish an inning — as part of a series of initiatives to improve the pace of play. I don’t hate this; I’ve always been a fan of relief pitchers working longer outings. But I think the MLB proposal misses the real problem.The issue isn’t really with relievers who face just one hitter at a time. In fact, LOOGYs — Left-handed One-Out Guys — are already fading in popularity as teams realize that if a pitcher isn’t good enough to face multiple hitters in a row, he may not belong in the bullpen pecking order at all.Instead, the problem concerns teams that use a parade of relievers who enter the game from the sixth inning onward and throw the hell out of the ball, knowing they’ll probably max out at one inning at a time. (The Yankee bullpen is a prime example.) You might call these pitchers OMGs: One-inning Max-effort Guys. They can be incredibly, game-changingly effective, but they aren’t necessarily all that skilled.In fact, the whole problem is that OMGs are a renewable resource, with no real constraints on supply. Teams can take failed starters with two decent pitches and, after some weeding out, turn them into OMGs who will strike out 25 or 30 percent of the batters they face, provided they only have to throw one inning every second or third day. It also yields rosters that are grossly imbalanced relative to the amount of value that these relievers generate. According to FanGraphs, relief pitchers accounted for only about 9 percent of the value (in wins above replacement) that all position players and pitchers created last year. And yet, they occupy about 25 percent of roster slots.And to a larger degree than you probably realize, these OMGs bear responsibility for the ever-increasing rate of strikeouts in baseball — something that was easier to shrug off until MLB attendance started to decline.More relievers means more strikeoutsStrikeouts have been increasing for more or less the entirety of baseball history. Here’s the trajectory from 19081I’m using 1908 as the cutoff because that’s the earliest season for which Baseball-Reference.com has data on the number of pitchers used per game, which we’re comparing the strikeout rate against. up until last year — when, for the first time, more plate appearances ended with strikeouts than with base hits. As starterAs reliever That looks a lot like the previous graph showing the strikeout rate — the correlation is 0.96 — including a dip in both pitchers used and strikeouts at the end of the Deadball Era in the late 1910s and again at the end of the Second Deadball Era in the early 1970s, and then an especially steep acceleration in both strikeouts and pitchers used over the past few years.It’s not just a coincidence that relief pitcher usage and strikeout rate are correlated in this way. When you take a starter and use him in relief — especially in a short stint that typically lasts only an inning or so — his strikeout rate will be usually be higher, and sometimes a lot higher. You can also expect him to throw harder and to use a more dangerous repertoire consisting of more fastballs and sliders.Here’s the tale of the tape. Using data from FanGraphs, I looked at all pitchers who worked both as starters and relievers between 2016 and 2018, providing for a direct, head-to-head comparison of how the pitchers performed in each role. These pitchers’ strikeout rates were about 12 percent higher when they came on in relief than when they started. They also threw about a mile per hour harder in relief.4In my analysis, observations are weighted by the lesser of the number of batters a pitcher faced as a starter or as a reliever. For example, a pitcher who threw to 500 batters as a starter and 200 batters as a reliever would receive a weight of 200. Pitchers who averaged fewer than 15 batters faced per start, i.e. who served as “openers” or tandem starters, are excluded from the analysis. RH set-up60085 Share fastballs54.1%55.1% Games PitchedGames StartedInnings Pitched Strikeout rate18.7%20.6% Observations are weighted by the lesser of the number of batters a pitcher faced as a starter and in relief from 2016 to 2018. For example, a pitcher who threw to 500 batters as a starter and 200 batters as a reliever would receive a weight of 200. Pitchers who averaged fewer than 15 batters faced per start, i.e. who served as “openers” or tandem starters, are excluded from the analysis.Source: Fangraphs Observations are weighted by the lesser of the number of batters a pitcher faced as a starter and in relief from 2016 to 2018. For example, a pitcher who threw to 500 batters as a starter and 200 batters as a reliever would receive a weight of 200. Pitchers who averaged fewer than 15 batters faced per start, i.e. who served as “openers” or tandem starters, are excluded from the analysis.Source: Fangraphs Share sliders13.9%15.0% Five or fewer batters It’s much easier to throw an inning at a timeStatistics for MLB pitchers who worked as both starters and relievers, 2016-18, by how many batters faced per relief appearance No. 2 starter3333210 Long reliever/spot starter403100 Share fastballs53.6%54.0% There are a couple of peaks marking the end of the Deadball Era in the late 1910s and then another pitchers’ era in the mid-to-late 1960s, but overall the trend is very steady. Over this period, the correlation between the year and the strikeout rate is 0.91.One other baseball trend has been equally if not more relentless, however: As time has passed, teams have relied more and more on their bullpens. As a result, both starting pitchers and relievers have seen increasingly shorter stints. Thus, the number of pitchers per team per game has steadily increased, from 1.4 in 1908 to around 4.4 now.The correlation is stronger still if you look at the number of pitchers used relative to the number of plate appearances in a typical game.2This accounts for the fact that other things held equal, strikeouts reduce offensive output, and less offense means fewer plate appearances per game, since the team doesn’t get through the order as often. For instance, if you take the number of pitchers used per 38 plate appearances3More precisely, per 38.23 plate appearances. — over the long run, MLB teams average about 38 plate appearances per game — you get this: Share fastballs53.6%56.9% As starterAs reliever Emergency Pitchers10020 Strikeout rate18.4%20.6% Fastball velocity91.6 mph92.2 mph Fastball velocity91.5 mph92.3 mph September call-up starters5525 Share sliders12.6%13.6% Strikeout rate16.7%17.7% Total4671621,450 No. 5 starter3022150 RoleGames PitchedGames StartedInnings Pitched What a 10-man pitching staff might look like Fastball velocity91.7 mph93.6 mph Share sliders17.7%19.4% Fastball velocity91.6 mph92.5 mph Those are meaningful gains, but the really big differences come when you use pitchers in short stints that are roughly one inning long. In the next table, I’ve assigned the pitchers who worked both as starters and relievers into three groups: first, those who averaged five or fewer batters faced per relief appearance (these are guys who usually threw just one inning at a time — the OMGs); second, those who averaged more than five but fewer than eight batters faced (a mix of one-inning and multi-inning appearances); and third, those who averaged eight or more batters faced (mostly multi-inning appearances). Position players could still pitch, but they wouldn’t be allowed to pitch to a greater number of batters than the number of plate appearances they’d recorded so far on the season as hitters. A backup catcher with 100 plate appearances could face up to 100 batters as a pitcher, for instance (which works out to roughly 20 or 25 innings). With this rule, teams could use position players to pitch on an emergency basis basically whenever they wanted, but they couldn’t designate pitchers as position players just to circumvent the 10-pitcher requirement. Brooks Kieschnick types would need to have their innings and plate appearances monitored carefully.8Or teams could designate their Kieschnicks as pitchers; nothing in what I’m proposing would prevent a team’s 10 pitchers from being used at other positions.After the roster expanded to 40 players in September, minor league call-ups who were not on the 10-pitcher list could start games, subject to a requirement that they threw at least 60 pitches or five innings or — a mercy rule — gave up at least five runs. They could not appear in relief, however.Relief pitchers, especially the OMGs, aren’t going to like this, so the restrictions could be phased in over several years. For instance, you could start with a 12-pitcher limit beginning in 2020, then ratchet it down to 11 pitchers in 2022 and 10 pitchers in 2024 as teams adapted to the new requirements.As you can see, the goal here is to be fairly strict: While we want to provide for a bit of flexibility, we mostly want to force teams to stick to the 10 players they designate as pitchers as much as possible. For that matter, we’d probably also want to tighten rules surrounding the injured list and minor-league call-ups, which teams regularly use and abuse to add de facto roster slots — but that’s not a part of this proposal per se.Toward a new equilibriumSo how would teams use their pitching staffs under these rules? That’s anyone’s guess, and part of the fun would be in seeing the different strategies that teams adopted. But my guess is that the average team would do something like this to fill the roughly 1,450 innings that major league teams pitch in each regular season: Share fastballs55.6%55.8% Ace starter3434230 As starterAs reliever As starterAs reliever No. 3 starter3333195 Position players5010 LH set-up70075 Starters supercharge their K rate when working in reliefStatistics for MLB pitchers who worked as both starters and relievers, 2016-18 RoleGames PitchedGames StartedInnings Pitched Closer60080 Between five and eight batters Share sliders13.4%13.9% Strikeout rate19.9%23.9% The first group — the OMGs — got a massive, 20 percent boost to their strikeout rate as relievers. They also gained about 2 mph worth of fastball velocity. And they were able to throw fastballs or sliders — the pitches that seem to be at the core of increasing K rates — 76 percent of the time in relief as compared with 71 percent of the time as starters.Conversely, the third group — the long relievers who routinely worked multi-inning stints — got only a 6 percent gain in their strikeout rates relative to the ones they had as starters, and they added only 0.6 mph to their fastballs.LOOGYs aren’t really the problemThe MLB proposal would effectively kill off the LOOGY, along with its much rarer companion, the ROOGY. So it’s worth asking: If relief pitchers are especially effective when they’re limited to only one inning of work, does it follow that they do even better when limited to just one or two hitters? That is to say, could MLB’s proposal to require that pitchers face at least three batters cause an especially large reduction in strikeout rates?The answer is: not really. If you further break down our sample of pitchers and look at those who threw very short stints in relief,5Those who averaged fewer than four batters faced per relief appearance between 2016 and 2018. they actually had fewer strikeouts than those who averaged around an inning per appearance.6Four or five batters faced. A lot of this is selection bias: Guys who are brought in to face only one or two hitters at a time are usually mediocre pitchers with big platoon splits. Left-handers who became LOOGYs are generally worse as starting pitchers than the rest of the sample; indeed, they’re quite a bit better in relief than in their starting roles. Nonetheless, they’re not all that effective in relief — much less effective than the OMGs — and because they throw so few innings, they don’t affect the bottom line that much in terms of baseball’s strikeout rate. Durable middle reliever55090 Eight or more batters No. 4 starter3232180 This strategy envisions that starting pitchers would throw 6.0 innings per start, up from 5.4 innings per start in 2018 but a bit less than the 6.2 innings per start that pitchers averaged in the 1980s. Relievers would average around 1.6 innings per appearance, meanwhile — considerably up from 2018 (1.1 inning per appearance) and about the same as in the 1980s.Overall, this plan would entail using 2.9 pitchers per team per game, which is close to where baseball was in the late 1980s. But we could balance out the workload more effectively than teams did back then. As you can see in the table, we could get the necessary innings from a 10-man staff without having to ask starters to throw 270 or 280 innings, as ace starters sometimes did in the 1980s, and without having to ask closers to throw 140 innings a year, as sometimes happened too. Starters would have to work through the third time in the order a bit more often, but there would still be plenty of room for discretion on the part of the manager.The most consequential change would be that we’d cut down on the number of OMG innings. There would still be plenty of them, to be sure. But if you went overboard, it would come with a lot of trade-offs. If a team tried to employ five relievers who each worked 70 appearances of one inning each, for instance, its five starters would have to average about 6.5 innings per start, so they’d be working through the third time in the lineup a lot more often.And if you did want to use a pitcher to face only one or two batters, you could still do it, but it would be more costly still — with a 10-man pitching staff, someone else is always going to have to pick up the slack.This would also relieve (pun somewhat intended) the monotony of the OMGs. We wouldn’t be removing any spots from the 25-man roster. (In fact, we’d essentially be adding one for the Emergency Pitcher.) But we’d be requiring at least 15 of them to be used on position players. Pinch runners, pinch hitters, platoon players, defensive replacements and third catchers — all of whom have become endangered species as teams use every marginal roster slot on an OMG — would begin to roam the baseball field freely again.I’m reluctant to estimate the overall amount by which my rule change would reduce strikeouts or improve pace of play. That’s because baseball strategy is a dynamic system, and our goal is to change teams’ overall attitudes toward pitcher usage. Pitching to contact might become more common again, for instance, as starters would need to throw longer outings. Keep in mind that if starters are only expected to work through the order two or two-and-a-half times, tossing perhaps five or six innings, they can also throw at relatively high effort. So we wouldn’t just be reducing strikeouts by exchanging some OMGs for multi-inning relievers; starters would also have to pace themselves more, too.But if relief-pitcher usage has as close a relationship with strikeout rates as I think it does, the net effects could be substantial. This rule would essentially roll relief-pitcher usage back to what it was in the late 1980s or early 1990s and could bring strikeouts back toward what they were back then too, when pitchers struck out about 15 percent of the batters they faced instead of the 22 percent they do now.That’s probably too optimistic; at least some of the increase in strikeout rate undoubtedly has to do with pitchers being bigger and stronger and throwing harder than ever before.9Then again, hitters are probably also better than ever before. But some kind of intervention is needed. The OMG-dominated equilibrium of today may be ruthlessly efficient, but it isn’t making for an aesthetically or strategically rewarding form of baseball. And because LOOGYs are fading in popularity, they don’t necessarily contribute all that much to slowing down the game. Of the roughly 16,000 pitching changes in 2018, only about 5,000 occured in the middle of the inning, according to data provided to FiveThirtyEight by David Smith of Retrosheet. These midinning changes are indeed time-consuming — adding about 3 minutes and 15 seconds worth of game time, Smith estimates. (Pitching changes between innings add only about 15 seconds, by contrast.) But they aren’t all that common.How to bring balance back to bullpensThere’s a better idea than the MLB minimum batters proposal, one that would also speed up the game but that would yield more interesting strategy and — most importantly, from my point of view — cut down on the number of strikeouts, perhaps substantially. The core of my proposal is simple: Each team should be limited to carrying 10 pitchers on its 25-man active roster, plus an Emergency Pitcher.Like it? Hate it? Well, let me give you some of the details first:What’s an Emergency Pitcher? He’s a pitcher who could be signed either on a game-by-game basis — in the way that emergency goalies are used in the NHL — or for any length of time up to a full season. The Emergency Pitcher couldn’t be a member of a team’s 40-man roster, although — just for fun — he could be a member of a team’s coaching staff.7Maybe Bartolo Colon could play into his 60s as an Emergency Pitcher/pitching coach. Emergency Pitchers could enter the game only under certain circumstances:If the starting pitcher left the game because of injury;If one team led by at least 10 runs;If it were the 11th inning or later; orIf it were the second game of a doubleheader.
The first pick of this year’s NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney, is a defensive end, and his selection marks the first time since 2006 that a defensive player was taken No. 1 overall. But does that mean teams put more emphasis on defensive prospects as a whole this year? And while we’re at it, how much did they invest in each position?We can begin to answer these questions by looking at how many Jimmy Johnson draft-value-chart points teams devoted to each position (3,000 points for the top pick, 2,600 for the second, etc.). “The Chart,” as it’s affectionately known in NFL circles, isn’t a very good gauge of the relative value of each draft spot, but that’s mainly because NFL general managers tend to overvalue the right to pick early. Research on draft-day trades has shown The Chart does a great job of describing how valuable teams perceive each slot to be, which is a more relevant shade of meaning for our questions anyway.As it turns out, while Clowney and the 3,000 draft points the Houston Texans spent on him were a feather in the cap for defense, teams spent the majority of their draft points on the other side of the ball this year. Specifically, they used 52.9 percent of points on players listed at offensive positions, 47.1 percent on defenders and 0.03 percent (21.1 draft points) on punters and kickers.How do those proportions compare to other drafts? Well, last year, the numbers were flipped: 52.2 percent of draft points were devoted to defense, 47.6 to offense and 0.2 percent to specialists. The long-term tendency, though, is somewhere in between. Over the last 10 years’ worth of drafts, the average NFL team spent 50.3 percent of its draft points on offense, 49.3 on defense and 0.3 percent on special teamers. Here’s what that looks like graphically:Positionally, you might think this was a big year for defensive linemen, given Clowney’s top billing. But overall, defensive linemen received only 17.7 percent of all draft points, 3 percent below the position’s overall 2004 to 2014 average of 20.7 percent. (Meanwhile, their counterparts on the offensive line were up 3.4 percentage points to 20.5 percent.) Quarterbacks were also down 1.8 percent compared to their long-term average, and running backs had a 3.9 percent shortfall. The big winners of this year’s draft, then, appear to be pass-catchers: Teams spent 3.5 percent more on wide receivers and 1.3 percent more on tight ends than those positions’ usual distribution.Here’s the summary of the percentage of draft points spent on each position over the last 10 years of drafts:These long-term percentages can also give us an idea of how general managers tend to value positions relative to one another, but we need to adjust for how many players in each position are typically on the field at any given time — something we can do thanks to Pro Football Focus’s snap counts. Armed with that data, I computed an “index” of how important teams seem to consider a given position (given the amount of draft investment in it) relative to the average player on the same side of the ball.Teams spent 15.2 percent of their points on running backs over the past decade, despite running backs only making up, on average, 1.3 of the 11 offensive players (11.8 percent) on the field for any given snap. Running backs have an index of 128, then — meaning teams used 28 percent more draft points on them than we’d expect.This metric is far from perfect — the draft is a fundamentally forward-looking endeavor, while the snap counts are retrospective and track an entirely different set of players — but it provides a good reference point when comparing this year’s draft to the long-term valuation of each position.
See more NBA predictions NBA Things That Caught My EyeDarkest timeline!The Philadelphia Eagles will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52, and New England is the slight favorite: Our Elo model gives them a 58 percent chance of winning the game and Tom Brady winning a sixth ring. The Patriots had an 18 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl at the start of the season, a figure which rose to 31 percent by the start of the playoffs. [FiveThirtyEight, ESPN]Guilty monster hears impact statementsLarry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct and federal child pornography charges related to his capacity as the U.S. Gymnastics team doctor, has heard pre-sentencing from over 100 of his victims speaking out about the impact his molestation had on their lives. Still, with other topics dominating headlines, major cable networks haven’t been devoting time to the explosive story of the serial molester who worked inside the U.S. Gymnastics team for years. [Media Matters]Vikings doomed by a strength, againPrior to the Minnesota Vikings game against Philadelphia, Kyle Wagner wrote that the Vikings had historically always been doomed by that which was their perceived strength. Incidentally, the all-time third down defense which allowed third downs to be converted to first downs only 25.2 percent of the time — league best since 1991 — choked in the match against Philly, with the Eagles converting 10 of 14 thirds into firsts. [FiveThirtyEight]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?A massive “neutral” contingent at the Olympics this yearRussia was banned from the Pyeongchang games, but Olympic Athletes from Russia were not, though they will compete under a neutral banner. An IOC panel has excluded 111 of 500 Russian athletes put forward, but of the 389 remaining competitors the neutral squad could be up to 200 Olympians, which is only a few less than the 214 who competed for Russia at Sochi. [Inside The Games]Surely Foles will also be perfect in the Super Bowl, of course.In the second half of his win against national sweethearts the Minnesota Vikings, Nick Foles had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 and a perfect QBR of 99.9. Certainly he can replicate that feat reliably to pull off the win against New England in two weeks. [Bill Barnwell]Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL game: Can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions?Big Number29,993That’s how many points LeBron James has scored in his career, and with only seven points to go until 30,000 and a game against the Spurs Tuesday, he’s nearly a lock to become the fastest NBA player to score 30,000. LeBron has scored 10 or more points in his past 836 games, so I’d say it’s likelier than not, you know? [ESPN]Leaks from Slack, Sunday Night: sara.zieglerLOL, Vikings.gfoster:Super Bowl 52 may go down as the worst ever.tchow:Amazinggfoster:Line? Pats -8.5?neil:-5.5colleen:hahaha no one is going to like this super bowlPredictions NFL All newsletters See more NFL predictions Oh, and don’t forgetScrew the Empire State Building have just a little pride you citywide embarrassment. We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe
River Plate captain Leonardo Ponzio believes team-mate Exequiel Palacios is a suitable player for Real Madrid to signThe 20-year-old midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to Real in the January transfer window with River president Rodolfo D’Onofrio confirming there has been contact.Palacios is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in South America and had reportedly captured the interest of several European giants.Now Ponzio believes his young team-mate would fit in well at Real as he has all the required attributes.Match Preview: Barcelona vs Valencia Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Is derby time in La Liga, as Barcelona welcomes Valencia to the Camp Nou Stadium tonight at 21:00 (CET).“He has been with us for almost two and a half years,” Ponzio told AS. “He has become a player in River, in Argentine soccer.“Real Madrid? I believe what ability he has. Of course, you cannot ask him to be the same as Luka Modric. He is 20 years old. He goes to another continent, to another kind of football.“But conditions have to grow. He is very of the palate of Real Madrid. Technically he is good, he has a good footing, individually he is good. But he must keep his head. He has to be calm because he is going to make the jump at any moment.”Real have now travelled the United Arab Emirates for Wednesday’s Club World Cup semi-final against Kashima Antlers.