Average3073.23252.1 3Fred Lynn19752823.83233.3 1Aaron Judge20173345.1—— 10Joc Pederson20153243.1261-0.1 1ST HALF2ND HALF 12Greg Gross19742913.03851.3 After the latest chapter of Aaron Judge’s breakout season — a dominant Home Run Derby performance that was as impressive in its ease as it was in its raw power — the New York Yankees right fielder seems poised to take over as baseball’s elusive superstar ambassador.“[He] can become the face of the game,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters at the All-Star Game. “He is a tremendous talent on the field and really appealing off the field.”Perhaps. Like the previous “face of baseball,” Derek Jeter, Judge plays in the biggest media market, for baseball’s highest-profile team. (One that happens to be having a surprisingly good season, its recent slide notwithstanding.) There’s a reason more people have Googled Judge in each month this season than have searched for possible future GOAT Mike Trout in any month of his career.That’s an awful lot of pressure to heap on a guy who’s still technically an MLB rookie, of course, and his game still has flaws. Although he’s having one of baseball’s all-time great rookie seasons, even a player as gargantuan as Judge might be dwarfed by regression to the mean before the season is over.Even if Judge gets swallowed whole by the regression monster, though, his phenomenal first half tells us a lot. Just as former Knicks guard Jeremy Lin’s dominant early games suggested he would become at least a pretty good player — which has been (kinda) true — it’s almost impossible to have even a half-season like Judge’s without at least panning out as a good ballplayer, if not something much more.Let’s put some of his numbers to date in context: His 30 home runs at the All-Star break tied for the 26th most by any player — rookie or not — since 1913;1The earliest season for which Baseball-Reference.com’s split finder has data. his .691 slugging percentage was tied for 75th. He was one of only 44 players to post a first-half batting average of at least .320 and an isolated power of at least .350. Overall, his on-base plus slugging (OPS) was 101 percent better than league average, the 90th-best first half in that department that any hitter has enjoyed since 1913.Most impressive is Judge’s company on that top-100 list: Babe Ruth (10 times), Ted Williams (eight), Lou Gehrig (five) and so forth. Twenty-five of the 52 players who appeared on the list are in the Hall of Fame, and many of those who aren’t either will be (Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera), should be (Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez), would be if not for a scandal (Barry Bonds, Shoeless Joe Jackson) or could eventually be (Bryce Harper).And among rookies, Judge’s first half was virtually peerless. According to FanGraphs.com, he generated 5.1 wins above replacement (WAR) in the months of April, May and June. Since 1974,2The first year FanGraphs.com tracked monthly WAR splits. no other rookie has broken 5 WAR in the first three months of a season, and only one — Chris Sabo in 1988 — has even earned 4 WAR. Judge is easily off to the best first half of a rookie season in modern history. 3Corey Seager20163433.83443.7 25Jose Canseco19863422.53400.4 7Devon White19873413.43551.2 6Mike Trout20122583.63816.3 But the history of great rookie seasons also shows how strong the pull of regression can be: The average player on this list ended up producing only two-thirds as many WAR in the second half of his rookie campaign as he did in the first. For every Trout, who started strong (despite a delayed call-up) and then decimated the league down the stretch, there were more cases like Devon White, Joc Pederson and even Sabo, all of whom struggled to recapture the magic of their first-half performances.Judge will likely face a similar fate. Based on his batted-ball numbers, we’d expect Judge to be hitting .303 right now, not .329. Although nobody hits the ball harder, Judge’s .426 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) stands out even next to the game’s other hard hitters, suggesting some kind of second-half downturn is probably in order.3Although, as my ESPN colleague Paul Hembekides pointed out, BABIP doesn’t include home runs. If you add Judge’s homers into his BABIP, he’s hitting a ridiculous .516 when he doesn’t strike out — the best single-season mark in history. Likewise, Judge has hit a staggering 42 percent of his fly balls out of the park, another relatively luck-driven number that will likely come back down to earth. (Even the most powerful hitters can sustain a homers-per-fly rate of only 25 to 30 percent.)4Sometimes this particular stat can be more sustainable than we’d expect on its face because of park effects, but Yankee Stadium is much more of a haven for left-handed power hitters than righties like Judge. And while Judge has drawn plenty of walks and shown good plate discipline for a rookie, he’s also whiffed a lot. His low contact rate might become problematic as pitchers study his weaknesses and develop more sophisticated strategies against him.Given all that, it would be very surprising if the regression bug didn’t bite Judge during the season’s second half.If and when that does happen, some folks will surely blame it on the dreaded “Home Run Derby curse” — the idea that participating in the contest (much less winning it as Judge did) mucks up a player’s swing over the rest of the season. This topic has been researched to death over the years, with various studies finding it to be a myth … or maybe slightly real. While it’s true that far more Derby participants have fallen off in the second half than have improved, there’s an obvious selection bias at work, too: In order to be picked for the contest in the first place, players need great first-half power numbers — most likely well above their career norms. By regression to the mean alone, we’d expect a group of players selected specifically because they had an abnormally great first half to decline in the second.For what it’s worth, I tried to account for this effect by measuring Derby contestants against a control group of hitters who had similar first-half power numbers (as measured by at-bats per home run) but didn’t participate in the contest.5In each season, the control group had to include players who logged as many plate appearances, as many at-bats per homer and as high an OPS as the lowest-ranked Derby participant in each category. That left me with a sample of 416 hitters in the control group since 2002, versus 122 Derby contestants. Since 2002, the average Derby participant saw his OPS decline by 56 points in the second half of the season — but the average member of the control group also saw his OPS fall by 49 points, a negligible difference.However, there is one area where Derby participants did drop off a bit more than we’d expect: raw power. While the control group’s average isolated power (or slugging percentage minus batting average) fell 25 points, the Derby group’s average dropped by 36 points. Both groups saw an identical 0.5 percentage-point dip in hard-hit ball rate, but Derby hitters hit slightly fewer fly balls than we’d expect based on the control group,6A decline of 1 percentage point, versus a 0.6-percentage-point dip for the control group. and their rate of home runs per fly fell by 2.8 percentage points, compared with a decline of 1.7 percentage points for the control group.Either way, the overall cost of participating in the Derby is (at most) quite small compared with the toll exacted by regression to the mean.And said regression will probably be Aaron Judge’s biggest enemy in the second half of the season. Sadly, no player can escape its clutches for very long — not even the most wildly entertaining hitter on the planet. PLAYERSEASONPAWARPAWAR 10Tim Raines19812413.11220.7 18Dan Uggla20063022.83811.5 16Kent Hrbek19822742.93170.4 The best rookie first halves of the modern eraMost wins above replacement (WAR) in April/May/June of a player’s rookie season since 1974 20Juan Samuel19843542.73830.4 2Chris Sabo19882934.22890.5 8Evan Longoria20083023.22062.4 3Albert Pujols20013323.83443.5 12Eric Hinske20022993.03511.6 22Nomar Garciaparra19973582.63763.8 20Willie Randolph19762712.72281.8 22Butch Wynegar19762832.63390.9 12Alvin Davis19843083.03702.3 22Billy Hamilton20143032.63081.1 12Ichiro Suzuki20013743.03643.0 Source: FanGraphs 16Kris Bryant20152942.93563.7 18Mark McGwire19872842.83572.2 8Mike Piazza19932883.23144.3
Kolkata: Many Trinamool Congress activists received injuries after they were attacked allegedly by a group of BJP-backed miscreants. Some of the injured persons have been undergoing treatment in a nearby hospital.The incident, which took place at Nandagram village of East Burdwan district on Monday morning, has triggered tension among the local residents. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that elections were conducted at Burdwan East Lok Sabha constituency on the same day. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe district Trinamool Congress leaders have alleged that some BJP-backed goons tried to influence the voters at Nandagram village on Monday morning, when the Trinamool Congress workers intervened. As they tried to dissuade the miscreants, it led to a heated altercation between the TMC workers and the BJP assisted goons. The miscreants soon overpowered the Trinamool Congress workers and beat them up. They fled immediately after the incident, before the local residents could reach the spot. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe injured victims were rescued and rushed to a nearby hospital by the local people. Senior TMC leaders later visited the hospital to see the injured workers, who are stated to be in a stable condition now. In another incident, a party office of Trinamool Congress at Joynagar in South 24-Parganas was set on fire by some miscreants. The district party leaders of TMC have accused BJP of setting the party office on fire, which was badly damaged in the incident. The BJP leaders from the district have, however, denied the allegations.
October 3, 2014 3 min read After long remaining mostly mum on Bitcoin, Microsoft’s legendary co-founder Bill Gates has spoken. At the Sibos 2014 financial-services industry conference in Boston, America’s richest man just threw his weight behind the controversial cryptocash. Well, at least as a low-cost payments solution. At the event, when asked about Bitcoin’s potential to ease the cost of payment transactions for moving money from one place to another Gates waxed mostly positively about the virtual money.“Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be,” he told Erik Schatzker during a Bloomberg TV’s Smart Street show interview yesterday. “Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”Related: The 7 Most Fascinating Things Bill Gates Said in His Reddit ChatGates again reiterated his stance on cryptocurrencies when he delivered the event’s closing keynote address, in which he stated that, in the future, financial transactions will eventually “be digital, universal and almost free.”While he seems relatively bullish on how inexpensive transacting in Bitcoin can be, Gates isn’t singing the praises of its anonymity. The billionaire alluded in an oblique, somewhat rambling fashion to some of the more nefarious anonymous uses associated with Bitcoin.“The customers we’re talking about aren’t trying to be anonymous,” he told Schatzker. “They’re willing to be known, so Bitcoin technology is key and you can add to it or you could build a similar technology where there’s enough attribution where people feel comfortable that this is nothing to do with terrorism or any type of money laundering.”Related: Three Lessons a Serial Tech Entrepreneur Learned from Bill GatesTo see the portion of the interview in which Gates directly addresses Bitcoin, watch the video below:The last time Gates publicly commented on Bitcoin was last February, the day Bitcoin currency conversions debuted on Microsoft’s Bing search engine, when he skirted questions about Microsoft’s stance on the cryptocurrency and subsequent others during a lively Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session.Instead of answering Bitcoin-related queries head on, Gates shifted the focus to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-backed Vodaphone M-pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer and microfinancing service in Kenya. Gates said that his organization is “involved in digital money, but unlike Bitcoin it would not be anonymous digital money.” He went on to predict that “digital money will catch on in India and parts of Africa and help the poorest a lot” over the next five years.Related: Billionaire Entrepreneur Mark Cuban: ‘Bitcoin Has ‘No Shot as a Long-Term Digital Currency’Now that Gates is officially Microsoft’s technical advisor, perhaps he’ll make a push for Microsoft to accept Bitcoin (or another virtual money) as a form of payment and/or weave cryptocurrency into the company’s nascent “Zero-Effort” mobile payments initiative. Only time will tell.Kenya’s M-Pesa proves that when people are empowered, they will use digital tech to innovate on their own behalf: http://t.co/0gnBGW2H— Bill Gates (@BillGates) January 3, 2013Hmmm. We wonder what fellow billionaire Mark Cuban thinks of Bitcoin now.Related: What Do Snoop Dogg, Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel Have in Common? Reddit, Y’all. Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right.