The Most Disciplined MLB Batters

In the course of researching an article about Albert Pujols, I looked at measuring a hitter’s “decision-making” skills at the plate. Some great work on the topic was done years ago by the great Russell “Pizza Cutter” Carleton (who now writes at Baseball Prospectus), and I’m not adding to the research except by updating it. (The Hardball Times’ Derek Carty also wrote on this topic many years ago.)Basically, Russell’s idea was to apply signal-detection theory to baseball by measuring a hitter’s ability to discern balls and strikes compared to pitch-tracking systems such as PITCHf/x. If the PITCHf/x strike zone says a pitch was a ball, but the player swung at it, that’s akin to a “false positive” — the player thought the pitch was in the strike zone when it wasn’t. If PITCHf/x says a ball was in the zone, but the batter didn’t swing, that’s a “false negative” — a hittable ball disregarded by the player. (Of course, swinging at a ball in the zone, or taking a pitch outside the zone, would be coded as correct decisions by the batter.)This is all theoretical and a gross oversimplification of baseball in general. For instance, sometimes players have a good reason to lay off a pitch in the zone, and, conversely, sometimes they have to expand their strike zone because of the situation. Even so, it’s a fun application of the “Plate Discipline” section of stats at FanGraphs, which lists the percentages of pitches that were in the strike zone for each player, as well as the proportion of pitches swung at inside and outside the strike zone (as determined by Baseball Info Solutions‘ pitch-charting data, which goes back to 2002).The best decision-making season in the data set belongs to Moises Alou in 2002. Alou faced 1,785 pitches, 54.5 percent of which were in the strike zone. Of those pitches in the zone, he swung at 80.1 percent, while he let all but 14.8 percent of balls outside the zone go by without a swing. As a percentage of his total pitches faced, then, Alou made the “correct” decision 82.4 percent of the time — the tops of any season in the FanGraphs data.(I, too, was surprised that Vladimir Guerrero would should up as a positive example of plate discipline.)Meanwhile, the worst decision-making season happened last year; A.J. Pierzynski spent the season swinging. Pierzynski correctly swung at 76.7 percent of pitches inside the zone (the Major League Baseball average was 65.5 percent), but he was undone by his hacking of 49.6 percent of balls outside the strike zone — about 1.6 times the rate of the average hitter. That gave him a “good decision” rate of just 61.1 percent. (For what it’s worth, no qualified season in the FanGraphs data saw a hitter swing more at pitches outside the zone than inside.)Among active players, the best decision-maker by this metric (since 2012) is Dexter Fowler of the Houston Astros. Over the past three seasons, Fowler has made the correct decision 74.2 percent of the time, swinging at 71.9 percent of balls in the strike zone and laying off 75.9 percent of pitches outside the zone.And the worst? Martin Prado of the Arizona Diamondbacks made the correct call on only 62 percent of the pitches he faced. But unlike Pierzynski, who had the worst decision-making season of anyone since 2002 because he hacked too much at pitches outside the zone, Prado comes in last among active players because he wasn’t aggressive enough on pitches inside the zone. The average MLB player offers at about 66 percent of pitches inside the strike zone, but Prado has only swung at 50.8 percent of balls in the zone over the past three seasons. Prado does a good job at avoiding swings on balls outside the zone, but he can’t seem to tell when a hittable ball is coming in over the plate, often committing what statisticians would call false negatives, or Type II errors.Again, this metric is by no means a perfect gauge of plate discipline. There are many situations in which it would be a suboptimal strategy to strictly follow the “good” or “bad” decision algorithm measured by the charts above. But it’s illuminating to begin to measure which players appear to have the best and worst conceptions of the strike zone as determined by an objective standard. read more

Heres What Adam Silver Thinks About Our Proposal To Fix The NBA

Powered by Genius By Jody Avirgan Adam Silver Responds To FiveThirtyEight’s Letter About The NBA Lottery Adam Silver NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATIONAdam SilverCommissionerMay 28, 2015Dear Jody, Chadwick, Neil and Kate:Thanks for your letter and for devoting FiveThirtyEight’s considerable resources (and those of your readers/listeners) to addressing the NBA Draft Lottery.I was impressed with the detail and sophistication on display in many of the proposals — though I can’t say I’ll be riding a bear into the Lottery room any time soon. From the Tombstone Date to the Tweaked Wheel, I am grateful for the hard work of all 7,000 passionate basketball fans who took the time to examine our Draft Lottery from every conceivable angle.Of course, there can only be one winning proposal, and the work of the Futures Draft Planning Committee is a worthy champion. It is thorough, well researched and addresses many of the questions we are currently facing with the Draft Lottery; in fact, our internal Draft Lottery working team looked at models very similar to the one proposed by Samuel and Cody. While we continue to study this concept, we believe that “NBA Futures” runs into some of the same problems as other proposals we have considered — namely, by solving one potential problem, it creates a host of new ones.To elaborate, we believe the proposed system would represent a change in two major areas:First, it creates more variability; it is difficult to predict exactly where a team will finish in a particular year, so there is not a guaranteed reward for getting the first selection of a surrogate” team. However, we believe there would be a strong correlation between the selection order of surrogate teams and their actual performance (based on the high correlation of teams’ year-over-year performance). This suggests that there would indeed still be an incentive to be among the worst-performing teams in any given year.Second, “NBA Futures” delays the allocation of high draft picks to poor performing teams; for example, Team X finishes with the worst record in year 1 and gets the right to select its surrogate team first – Team . As described above, we would expect Team Y to perform poorly in year 2 more often than not, thus resulting in a high draft pick for Team X after year 2. Under our current system, Team X would get a high draft pick after year 1.It is debatable whether the goals of increased variability and delayed allocation of high draft picks to poor-performing teams are the right ones. If we were in fact seeking to accomplish these two goals, there are several approaches that might be more straightforward. For example:– To add variability, level out the odds for the worst performing teams– To delay pick allocation, tie lottery odds to performance from one year priorThe proposed system could also create strange incentives around surrogate team selection: Will teams be inclined to select a surrogate in their division or conference for competitive purposes? Will teams try to sign their surrogates top free agent simply to make them worse? There could also be situations in which a team would have incentive to contribute to its non-surrogates improvement.And even though it sounds like Samuel and Cody have thought of contingencies like no trade clauses between surrogate teams, the proposal would likely add a significant layer of complexity to the trading of draft picks.Finally, its worth noting that the timing of surrogate selection would be very important. Wherever set, it could become subject to gamesmanship by teams sequencing transactions or disclosing (or not disclosing) information, like injuries, on either side of the deadline.As you can see, while there appears to be a growing consensus that we need to reform the Draft Lottery, finding the right balance of competing interests, especially one that will gain the support of three-quarters of NBA teams (the vote required to make the change), is a work in-progress. Regardless of the outcome, all of us at the NBA thank you for your contributions to a lively debate. Please keep the ideas coming!Sincerely,(Adam Signature) Over the last month, our sports podcast “Hot Takedown” asked listeners to submit their ideas for how to fix the NBA Lottery and end tanking. We got almost 7,000 responses, some silly, most very thoughtful. We picked one — a proposal in which teams would place bets on how other teams will perform, divorcing one’s own record from one’s own lottery pick (read about it here) — and sent it off to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s office.And then we waited. Most of us (all of us) figured that was it. Usually letters to powerful sports bureaucrats go into the ether.Well, on Friday an envelope arrived in the mail from Commissioner Silver’s office. Someone had clearly read our letter and taken the time to draft a three-page response. (But, for what it’s worth, that someone had not listened to the podcast, or seen my bio page — it was addressed to “Ms.” Jody Avirgan.)The letter lauded our project, offered a detailed response to our plan, and acknowledged a “growing consensus” that the lottery needs fixing. Ultimately, though, it said the equivalent of “thanks, but no thanks.” But over three pages!Watch the video above for instant reaction from “Hot Takedown” host Chadwick Matlin and me. We’ve also posted the full text of the letter at the bottom of this post, and invite you to annotate it on Genius.We’ll dig into the details of Silver’s response soon, but here are a few quick notes.“I can’t say I’ll be riding a bear into the Lottery room any time soon,” Silver writes. Bummer. But the vision lives on.The word “tanking” does not appear in this letter.Nevertheless, in responding to the “futures” plan, Silver does say he thinks “there would still be an incentive to be among the worst-performing teams.” Not to get too Talmudic, but is his use of “still” a tacit acknowledgment that there is currently an incentive to perform poorly?It’s signed only “Adam.” Neat.It’s tough to say whether this letter, along with the other statements Silver has made about lottery reform, indicates that the NBA is truly considering or merely entertaining more creative ideas. And Silver points out that three-quarters of owners will have to approve any changes. Is mentioning that the lottery’s fate is in owners’ hands an excuse not to take bold action, or just realism?Toward the end of the letter, Silver writes that “there appears to be a growing consensus that we need to reform the Draft Lottery.” In the past, Silver has flat-out denied that players are trying to lose, but he’s also acknowledged that the Competition Committee is looking at lottery reform. Part of me appreciates his candor, and part of me is surprised that Silver is still using cautious language like “appears to be … growing.”We’ve already re-extended our invitation for Commissioner Silver to come on “Hot Takedown” to further discuss the proposals and NBA tanking. Again, you can annotate his response for yourself and listen to our original podcast discussing all the proposals below (tanking conversation starts at 17:30): Silver’s full letter, plus your annotations: Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed read more

Mens Lacrosse Ohio State defeats Towson 1110 to advance to NCAA championship

Ohio State players celebrate a goal in the first quarter against Loyola Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament on May 14, 2017 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Oller ReporterOhio State’s men’s lacrosse team is headed to the NCAA championship game for the first time in program history as the Buckeyes knocked off Towson 11-10 in the semifinals on Saturday.Trailing the Tigers 8-3 early in the second quarter, the game looked to be potentially out of reach for the Buckeyes. But behind an 8-1 run in the second half, OSU completed a miraculous comeback in the Buckeyes’ first-ever appearance in the semifinals.Towson (12-5) struck first as senior midfielder Mike Lynch scored the first goal of the game with 10:36 remaining in the first quarter. But the Buckeyes (16-4) found the back of the net twice in eight seconds as sophomore attackman Jack Jasinski and sophomore midfielder Logan Maccani scored a goal apiece to give OSU its first lead of the game.Late in the first quarter, Towson evened the game up at two when sophomore midfielder Jon Mazza barely slipped the ball over the goal line.The Tigers opened the game up early in the second quarter as two Towson players – senior attackmen Joe Seider (two goals) and Ryan Drenner – scored three goals in the first four minutes of the period.OSU freshman attackman Tre Leclaire ended the run with his first goal of the game, but the Tigers scored twice before the end of the quarter to pull ahead 8-3 at halftime.Towson opened the second half by extending its lead by one goal, but OSU came right back as senior attackman Eric Fannell threw a behind-the-back pass to fellow senior attackman Austin Shanks who finished the highlight-worthy play off with a goal.That goal gave the Buckeyes life.Leclaire scored his second goal of the game on a fast break, then Shanks scored his second goal of the game as OSU utilized a man-up advantage. With 4:11 remaining in the third quarter, Fannell ripped a shot, scoring his first goal of the game to pull the Buckeyes within one goal of tying the Tigers.But Towson senior midfielder Tyler Young ended the Buckeyes run as he scored his 13th goal of the season. OSU ended the season strong, though, as Fannell scored his second goal of the quarter to pull his team within one.With 11:42 remaining in the final quarter, Leclaire fired a laser past Towson’s goalie to tie the game for the first time since the first quarter.The Scarlet and Gray rally didn’t end there.With 10:20 remaining, senior midfielder JT Blubaugh scored, delivering OSU its first advantage since the Buckeyes’ relinquished their 2-1 lead in the first quarter. Just over four minutes later, OSU extended its lead to 11-9 when senior midfielder Johnny Pearson scored his first goal of the game.Towson pulled within a goal with 3:17 remaining as Drenner scored for the fourth time in Saturday’s game. But that was it for the Tigers as the Buckeyes held on for an 11-10 victory, sending them to the championship game.Saturday’s game wasn’t the first matchup between these two teams. OSU knocked off Towson 6-3 on March 15.OSU advanced to the NCAA semifinals with a 7-4 win over Loyola Maryland in the first round and a 16-11 victory against Duke in the quarterfinals. Towson reached the semifinals after upsetting Penn State, 12-8 in the first round, and Syracuse, 10-7 in the quarterfinals. The Buckeyes will take on the winner of Saturday afternoon’s No. 1 Maryland – No. 5 Denver matchup at 1 p.m. on Monday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. read more

Air Asia to operate two new flights to Bagdogra

first_imgDarjeeling: Air Asia will be operating two new flights to Bagdogra Airport near Siliguri from May. Bagdogra has evolved into one of the busiest and most important airports of this region, with a manifold increase in passenger footfall. In the financial year 2017-18, the passenger figure is expected to cross 2.2 million. “From May, Air Asia will be operating two new flights to Bagdogra. This will help ease the passenger traffic, especially during the peak tourist season,” stated Rakesh Sahay, Director, Bagdogra Airport. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsFrom May 1, an Air Asia flight will depart from Delhi at 4 pm and arrive at Bagdogra at 6.15 pm. The flight will depart from Bagdogra at 6:45 pm and arrive at Delhi at 9.20 pm. Another Air Asia flight will commence service from Kolkata from May 11 onwards. The flight will depart from Kolkata at 9 am and arrive at Bagdogra at 10.20 am. It will depart from Bagdogra at 10.45 am and arrive at Kolkata at 11.55 am.At present there are 24 domestic flights connecting Bagdogra and one international flight from Paro in Bhutan to Bangkok, Thailand. Bagdogra is connected with Bangkok, Bangalore, Bombay, Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati and Paro. “With night landing facilities, more flights are coming in. Passenger traffic is increasing by the day. On Thursday, the outbound passenger load was 3,872,” stated Sahay.last_img read more

State Health dept to submit its dengue report to CM soon

first_imgKolkata: The state Health department has prepared a detailed report on dengue which will soon be submitted to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.The Chief Minister who is also in charge of the Health department had a concern over the dengue situation in the state. She had instructed the state Health department and the civic bodies to take adequate preventive measures to check the spread of the disease. A report was also sought from the Health department on the exact scenario in the state. Senior Health department officials will soon meet the Chief Minister in this regard. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe dengue expert committee constituted by the state Health department has gone through the reports submitted by various state-run and private hospitals on dengue-related deaths. All these hospitals were asked to share treatment-related documents with the department. A review meeting was conducted by senior Health department officials at Swasthya Bhavan recently. Various aspects related to the disease had been discussed in the meeting. A report prepared by the Health department says as many as 20 persons have died due to the disease in the city and its adjoining areas in the current year, while the figure in the state stood at 50. It has been learnt that the toll due to dengue in the state remained at 47 last year. But the number of total patients affected with the disease in the state last year remained slightly higher than this year’s figure. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAccording to a senior Health department official, the total number of dengue cases in the state slightly declined than that of the previous year due to the constant anti-dengue drives carried out by the Health department and also by the civic bodies. The official also added that out of the total 20 persons who reportedly died due to dengue, around 15 were found to have died due to multi-organ failure. The victims had caught dengue and later their organs stopped functioning. According to the Health department sources, the nature of the dengue virus is changing as a result of which many persons are getting affected. It has been found that many of these patients in the city and adjoining areas were affected with ‘Den 2’ virus which has gained some strength in the past couple of years. The senior Health department officials are of the opinion that the disease will start subsiding from November as winter sets in.last_img read more

Rep Kahle proposes additional funds to bolster PFAS cleanup efforts

first_img Categories: Kahle News 22Jun Rep. Kahle proposes additional funds to bolster PFAS cleanup efforts State Rep. Bronna Kahle, of Adrian, this week announced a plan that would provide the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) much needed resources to better understand and track PFAS contaminated groundwater. The plan is part of a larger, bipartisan reform package addressing the safety and security of Michigan’s drinking water supply and recreational waterways. Kahle’s proposal would set aside $3 million annually to fund a geological survey that would help the state’s PFAS action response team.“Ensuring a clean, safe drinking water supply is a top priority – from the lakefront to the faucet and everywhere in between,” said Kahle. “Everyone in Lenawee and across the state deserves the peace of mind to know that our Michigan water is safe. I remain committed to protecting our families and neighbors by identifying sources of contamination, overseeing cleanup efforts, and finding long-term solutions to protect our water.”In addition to Kahle’s legislation, House Bill 4745, the package includes House Bills 4742-4769. The 14-bill reform proposal reforms water quality across the board: from improving municipal safeguards and oversight to tightening up environmental protection and conservation.Ensuring safe drinking water remains a top concern for families across Michigan, especially following the discovery of lead service lines in communities across our state and the detection of PFAS contamination at more than 1,100 sites, Kahle said.HB 4769 has been referred to House Committee on Appropriations for further consideration.last_img read more