Pace Is the Most Consistent Pitching Stat

In my article Friday about what’s slowing down Major League Baseball games, I use a relatively new stat called “pace.” It’s a measure of how much time elapses between pitches in the same plate appearance, making use of the PITCHf/x tracking system installed in every major league park. It can be applied to pitchers for all batters they face; and to batters for their plate appearances.One thing we already knew about pace is that it’s remarkably consistent from year to year. FanGraphs makes it possible to test that with a tool for calculating correlation between the same statistic across seasons. Pace’s year-to-year correlation is 0.859 among the 1,554 pairs of consecutive pitcher seasons for which FanGraphs has pace stats — from 2007 to 2013 for pitchers with at least 40 innings each season. That’s far higher than strikeout-to-walk ratio, which has a year-to-year correlation of 0.528; Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), an ERA-like stat (0.443); winning percentage (0.081); and other fielding stats. The correlation persists over a gap of more than one season: It’s 0.757 from one season to another three years later.That suggests that the biggest factor affecting pace is the pitcher. Pitchers can change catchers, teams or leagues; face a mix of batters; and pitch in front of a different defensive alignment or in different contexts. Yet their pace of play stays largely the same from season to season.This is evident in the leaderboard: Five of the 10 slowest pitchers with at least 100 innings last year were among the 10 slowest in 2012.Like other new stats, pace is a work in progress. For example, there are two versions — one on FanGraphs, the other on Baseball Prospectus — akin to the competing versions of wins above replacement. FanGraphs registers more average time, typically, which BP’s Ben Lindbergh attributes to his site’s exclusion of pickoff attempts.One mystery is whether pace is associated with other pitching attributes. In a quick check using the FanGraphs correlation tool, it looked like pace was modestly correlated with FIP and Win Probability Added. But that was probably because relievers tend to have better stats than starters, and also a slower pace. There’s no reason to think one causes the other. When I restricted the sample to only pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched — thereby excluding most relievers — I found there was essentially no correlation between pace and FIP or WPA. Pitchers don’t seem to get any particular value out of a slow pace, though it’s possible they would have worse results if they had to hurry between pitches. In the spirit of their deliberate play, we won’t rush to judgment. read more

Does Tennis Need a Shot Clock

Tennis players are allowed to take 20 seconds before serving at Wimbledon, as they are in all Grand Slam tournaments. Some players think it’s time for this rule to start being enforced — with a “shot clock,” a phrase borrowed from basketball and other sports.“I think it’s the only way to go, to be honest, because how are you supposed to know as a player how long 20 seconds is, or 25 seconds, between a point?” asked Andy Murray, last year’s champion, in a post-match press conference Monday. Two other players — Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki — have also endorsed the idea.The 20-second rule is almost never enforced. Some players complain this gives those who abuse it an unfair advantage, by giving them extra time to recover. Slow play can also turn off fans and disrupt tournament schedules. Yet some players value extra time to gather their thoughts, catch their breath and wipe their brows. The issue starkly divides the men’s game’s two living legends, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have comparable career accomplishments but very different paces of play.A first-time violation of the 20-second rule at a Grand Slam match earns merely a warning. The next and all subsequent violations cost a point. But because umpires almost never hand out time violations, players often flout the rule — sometimes dozens of times in a single match.That last sentence is qualitative, not quantitative, because data isn’t readily available. Umpires are supposed to track time between points from their chairs, but unlike other stats and events they monitor during a match — the score, aces, first serves in — time between points isn’t reported as an official stat. And the Grand Slams, the men’s tour and the women’s tour don’t include time violations among player stats.Without an official shot clock to refer to, I took an unofficial one — the stopwatch on my smartphone — to two men’s matches on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Saturday. The first pitted Nadal, known for his slow play, against Mikhail Kukushkin. The second featured Federer, famously fast between points, against Santiago Giraldo.1I counted the time between when the prior point was officially over — the ball landed out of play or bounced twice — and when the server made contact with the ball for his first serve. I didn’t count the time before a player’s first serve in a game, nor his first of two serves in his serving turn in a tiebreaker, nor just after changing sides of the court in a tiebreaker. I didn’t include any serves which were delayed by factors outside the server’s control — such as a challenge to a call, or a loose ball on the court. I also missed a handful of points in Federer-Giraldo because, hey, I’m not a human stopwatch.According to my stopwatch, Kukushkin and especially Nadal were in no hurry, while Federer and Giraldo raced through their encounter. Kukushkin averaged 18.7 seconds before serves, and went over the 20-second limit about one-third of the time. Nadal averaged 22.5 seconds before serves, and went over the limit more than two-thirds of the time.Meanwhile, Federer averaged 15.3 seconds before serves, and went over 20 seconds on just 4 percent of his service points. Giraldo averaged 16.6 seconds, and went over the limit 18 percent of the time.2If Nadal and Kukushkin had played at Giraldo’s pace, their match would have been faster by 13 minutes and 57 seconds. If they’d served at Federer’s pace they would have been done 19 minutes and 9 seconds sooner.The pace of these Saturday matches was particularly relevant because two days earlier, Nadal’s defeated opponent in the second round, Lukas Rosol, complained that Nadal wasn’t penalized for slow play. In his post-match press conference Rosol said, “The referee was not going with the rules.” He added, “Always best players, they’re taking much more than the normal players, you know, and nobody is telling them nothing.”Federer weighed in that same day, saying, “I just think it’s important that we, as players, play up to speed.” He added, “What I don’t want is that we lose viewers because we play too slow” — noting that he recently found himself among such impatient viewers while watching a match on TV. “They were playing so slow I was like, ‘OK, I really — I can’t watch it.’”Raw averages don’t tell the whole story. Perhaps Nadal and Kukushkin were playing bruising rallies that required longer recovery time, or were playing many pivotal points, at deuce or break point. To see which factors were significant drivers of how long players took between points, I cross-referenced each serve with stats that Wimbledon data-provider IBM offers journalists at the tournament: how many strokes the prior rally had, and whether it ended with a winner, an unforced error or a forced error. I also tagged each point as either significant or not. Significant points included any point in which the server trailed — since breaking serve is so rare on Wimbledon’s fast grass — plus 30-all, 40-30, deuce and any advantage or tiebreaker points. Then I combined all the serve timings I had for each player from Saturday’s matches — 302 timings in all, at least 50 for each man. And I ran a series of ANCOVA regressions.It turns out long rallies do make a difference: According to the regressions, each extra stroke in a rally adds about four-tenths of a second to the time the server takes before the next point. The four players also added about two seconds to their pre-serve routine before crucial points. But even after controlling for these factors, the identity of the man serving mattered, too. Kukushkin added about two seconds per serve compared to Federer, while Nadal added seven seconds.3Giraldo didn’t add a significant amount of time, nor did it matter how the prior point ended — by winner, or forced or unforced error — so I removed that from the final analysis. Rally length, importance of points, and the presence of Kukushkin and Nadal all were highly statistically significant (p<0.0005).Many tennis fans know that Federer plays faster than Nadal. The two all-time greats often have been compared on pace of play — such as in this video showing Federer finishing a service game in the time it takes Nadal to play one service point — as well as on more significant accomplishments, such as number of Grand Slam titles won. This analysis, of just one match for each, won’t settle anything — and I have better things to do than time every match.4Federer and Nadal sometimes go against the grain. I timed a handful of their serves in their Tuesday matches. Federer sped through his penultimate service game of his fourth-round match against Tommy Robredo, but he slowed down significantly when serving for the match — not when a man in the crowd yelled out, “Roger, marry me!” but after Robredo won three straight points and threatened to break. Nadal, meanwhile, was brisk, by his standards, late in the second set of his fourth-round match against Nick Kyrgios. In the next set, as he bounced the ball before serving at three games apiece, umpire Carlos Bernardes gave Nadal a time violation — a mere warning Nadal shrugged off to win the point. However, Nadal went on to lose the match in four sets. Without more comprehensive data, the analysis does suggest that Nadal’s pre-serving routine — including toweling off, picking between at least three balls, touching his face and clothing, bouncing the ball and then rocking his body — affects his pace of play more than the punishing rallies he’s known for.There are other, incomplete or indirect indicators of players’ pace of play, many of which corroborate the finding that Nadal takes his time before serving. I’ve stopwatched players at prior Grand Slams and found there, too, that Federer is fast and Nadal is slow. Occasionally television broadcasts report average time between points during matches. “You can see on TV the stat, sometimes the average time is 28 or 30 seconds,” Wawrinka said. Federer was told in his press conference that a broadcast of Nadal-Rosol showed Nadal averaged 25 seconds between points. These stats are unofficial, however, and not recorded or compiled in a systematic way.The crudest method to approximate pace of play is to divide the total time a player is on the court by the number of points he or she plays. Nadal ranks first among men’s tour regulars in time per point, at 46.5 seconds over the last year. Federer is among the fastest, at 38.5 seconds.5The WTA Tour, which governs women’s events outside Slams, doesn’t report as many stats as the men’s ATP World Tour, making comparisons difficult. Also, time between points has been a bigger priority for the ATP, which attempted to crack down on slow play at the start of last year with rule changes and an emphasis on greater enforcement. The WTA, like the Slams, allows 20 seconds before serves at its events.Simply dividing time by points is crude because it doesn’t account for time elapsed during points themselves. It also bundles together Grand Slams — where players get 20 seconds before serving — and tour events, where men get 25 seconds. One indicator that the Slam rules aren’t enforced and aren’t heeded by players: Nadal, Federer and the average man all take longer per point at Grand Slams than at tour events.At Wimbledon, Nadal averaged 40.7 seconds per point, while Federer has averaged 7.2 fewer seconds — with Novak Djokovic and Murray, the other two men to win Wimbledon in the last decade, closer to Nadal’s pace. Again, this measure includes actual tennis, not just time in between tennis. Just 23 percent of rallies in Federer matches through the fourth round extended past four shots, compared to 27 percent for Nadal and 39 percent for Murray.Will Wimbledon take up players’ suggestions for a shot clock? It’s not clear. I saw Pascal Maria, the umpire who presided over the Nadal-Kushkin match, outside Centre Court on Tuesday and asked him about my data and about time violations. He declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the All England Club, which hosts the tournament, told me umpires had handed out 33 time violations as of Tuesday — or fewer than one every six matches. Some of these were mere warnings; she didn’t know how many times players lost points for playing slow. She declined to comment about slow play and the possibility of a shot clock.CORRECTION (July 2, 6:14 p.m.): An earlier version of this article said the analysis consisted of a series of logistic regressions. It was a series of ANCOVA regressions. read more

By the numbers Ohio State versus Bowling Green

OSU center Pat Elflein wraps his hand around the football during the first game of the 2016 season against Bowling Green on Sept. 3 in Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 77-10. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditCoach Urban Meyer couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season as 107,193 fans watched his Ohio State Buckeyes put on a historic offensive showing as they beat Bowling Green State University 77-10 in the ‘Shoe.  A dominant showing by the Buckeye defense combined with redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett’s seven touchdown performance helped the buckeyes start the season on a winning note.Despite finishing the game strong, Barrett started off sloppy.  With the Buckeye offense driving towards the end zone, Barrett threw an interception that sophomore Brandon Harris returned 63 yards as Bowling Green took a shocking 7-0 lead.  However, Barrett rebounded putting together an impressive number of total yards on way to a rout over the Falcons.With Barrett in control, the Buckeyes scored three unanswered touchdowns in quick succession.  By halftime, the Buckeyes had already racked up 456 yards of offense and 24 first downs, led by five touchdowns from Barrett.  The Buckeye defense also stepped up to limit the Falcons to only 244 yards on the day and a measly 3-for-16 on third down.Despite getting taken out in the third quarter, Barrett still finished the game with seven total touchdowns, tying his own school record of six touchdown passes, while completing 21 of 31 passes for 349 yards.  Junior H-back Curtis Samuel had an incredible day as he rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, while adding nine receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns.  Redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber pounded out 136 yards rushing on 19 carries.On the defensive side, redshirt sophomore Malik Hooker had two interceptions and freshmen Rodjay Burns added an interception for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to pad the score even further.By the Numbers776: Ohio State racked up a program record 776 yards of offense for the day.15: Head Coach Urban Meyer might have had a case of déjà vu today, as he began his head coaching career with the falcons fifteen years ago.95: With the win over Bowling Green, Ohio State has now gone an incredible 95 years without losing to another in-state school.  Their last loss to an Ohio school was to Oberlin in 1921.5: This was the fifth meeting all time between Bowling Green and Ohio State, with the buckeyes coming out on top in every matchup.4: A total of four redshirt freshmen or true freshmen scored for the Buckeyes on Saturday.67: The buckeyes won the game by 67 points, which was their largest margin of victory since defeating FCS school Florida A&M 76-0 in 2013.9: A total of nine Buckeyes caught a pass on Saturday.41: OSU gained 41 first downs against Bowling Green, the most since Cincinnati in 2014 where OSU had 45 first downs.7: Not only did Barrett account for an individual program record seven touchdowns, redshirt freshman Joe Burrow threw his first touchdown pass with the Buckeyes making a total seven team passing touchdowns. That ties a school record that occurred in 1995 against Pittsburgh. read more

Added colours of smile on Holi

first_imgThe show aimed to bring the Urdu and Hindi poetry and literature back into mainstream awareness with showcasing the awesome talent that exists in this sphere. This was a part of the ongoing series of concerts/programs which are being organized to bring high quality artists to public and easily accessible stage for the discerning audience with an evening of fun and laughter.The objective of the show was with the purpose of attracting the present generation to the rich heritage of these Indian Languages.With this overriding thoughts in mind stalwarts like popular Meeruthi, Razi Amrohi, Nashtar Amrohi, Iqbal Firdausi, Famous Khataulvi, Ahmed Alvi, Mamta Kiran, Asim Peerzada, Moien Shadab, Raees Siddiqui were invited and they regaled the gathering with a volley of rib tickling couplets.last_img read more

Missing officer found at fatherinlaws flat

first_imgKolkata: After almost a week, the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has tracked down Arnab Roy, the missing WBCS officer of Nadia, from his in-laws’ residence in Howrah on Thursday.According to sources, CID sleuths were trying to track the tower location of Roy’s mobile phone. But as his mobile phone was switched off, they were in the dark. Later, CID started scrutinising the call records of Roy and his family members. There, sleuths found a specious mobile number. When the number was traced, police found that it was active in Howrah’s Shibpur area. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataImmediately on Thursday morning, CID officials went to the location and found that it is a government housing complex for police personnel. When sleuths went up to the traced flat, they found Roy. He was immediately taken to Shibpur police station. Later, his wife and top government officials were informed about his recovery. Sources informed that CID has taken him to Bhavani Bhawan, to question him about his disappearance. His wife has also come to Kolkata. Though details of the incident are not clear yet, CID may question Roy and his wife. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateDuring preliminary investigation, CID officials came to know that the flat from where Roy was found, belongs to his father-in-law, who is currently posted as a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Diamond Harbour Police District. Questions arose on where Roy got the keys to the flat and more importantly, why he left his duty as nodal officer despite being in charge of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT). Roy had gone missing mysteriously on April 18 from Nadia. His wife had lodged a missing complaint at Kotwali police station three days later. On Thursday, District Magistrate (DM) of Nadia Sumit Gupta said: “We are happy to know that he is ok. Further things will be found in due course.”last_img read more

Talks still on for Weinstein Company deal source

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2018 AFP The deal, led by former Obama administration official and businesswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet to buy The Weinstein Company for a reported $500 million, was widely reported to have been imminent before the state attorney general filed a lawsuit Sunday.Prosecutors accuse Weinstein, the company and his brother of failing to protect employees from his alleged sexual misconduct despite multiple complaints to human resources.New York’s attorney general said he acted out of fear that the imminent sale could leave victims without adequate redress.The Wall Street Journal said the deal fell apart because the lawsuit introduced too much uncertainty and that the company would now likely enter bankruptcy reorganization.But a source close to the talks insisted to AFP that negotiations were still on. “The attorney general’s comments have shed a new perspective to the deal,” the source admitted, calling discussions “very fluid.””I hope that this deal does not go away for these people’s jobs because then there will be nobody monitoring anything,” Bob Weinstein was quoted as saying by the Journal.The bid from the group of investors led by Contreras-Sweet reportedly included a fund to compensate victims and plans to appoint a majority-woman board.Weinstein’s career went into free fall last October after allegations surfaced that he had sexually harassed, assaulted and even raped women going back 40 years. The accusations now come from more than 100 women.The twice-married father of five is being investigated by British and US police, but has not been charged with any crime. He denies having non-consensual sex and is reportedly in treatment for sex addiction. Citation: Talks still on for Weinstein Company deal: source (2018, February 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-weinstein-company-source.html Talks were still on Monday between a group of investors and the troubled Weinstein Company, despite New York prosecutors throwing a spanner in the works by filing a lawsuit against the movie studio, source said Monday. New York state has filed a lawsuit against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein for “egregious violations” of civil rights Explore further Twitter steps up fight against sexual harassment read more