75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Facebook By News Highland – May 4, 2010 Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan fire Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic Twitter Facebook Investigation launched in to disappearance of skeletal remains Pinterest Google+ WhatsApp Previous articleDeputy McDaid had by far lowerst attendance in Dail in 2009Next articleIrish Airspace to reopen at 1pm Tuesday News Highland Pinterest WhatsApp An appeal has been launched following the disappearance of skeletal remains at a quarry in West Donegal over the weekend.The remains were discovered following a search that was prompted by the discovery of other remains in sand that had originated from the quarry in Gweedore.The remains, thought to date back thousands of years, were due to be examined at the weekend, but on arrival it was found that the remains had disappeared.Caroline Carr of the Donegal County Museum says they want them back: Google+ Newsx Adverts Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal
(19) $2,500 to the St. Louis School toward STEM-related equipment and materials; and (16) $12,500 to the Shiner Pride Band Boosters toward the purchase of a sound system; (10) $40,000 to the Otter Creek Township Volunteer Fire Department toward the construction of a new fire station; (2) $2,500 to the Aurora Riverfront Beautification toward its 2018 Red White & Boom festival; (4) $2,400 to the Batesville Community School Corporation for the purchase of a vision screening machine; Grant applications for the next grants cycle are due Monday, April 16, 2018 by 4:00pm. Applications can be downloaded from the RSRF website at www.rsrfonline.org, and can be emailed to [email protected] (15) $4,615 to the Rising Sun Volunteer Fire Department for new helmets; (3) $20,000 to the City of Batesville Parks Department for playground surface for one of its new playground areas; (8) $1,901 to the Ohio County Extension Office for renovations to its office; (18) $5,000 to the South Ripley Community School Corporation for the purchase of a Smartboard and wobble stools; (17) $18,600 to the South Dearborn Community School Corporation for new track and field equipment; The Rising Sun Regional Foundation was created in 1994 by the City of Rising Sun, and is now funded by the Rising Star Casino Resort, owned by Full House Resorts, Inc., which makes monthly contributions to the foundation based on a percentage of its Adjusted Gross Revenue. To date, the foundation has received more than $43 million in riverboat funds, of which at least 75% has been granted back to the community. (5) $4,434 to the Batesville Community School Corporation for the purchase of a web-based math program; Rising Sun, In. — The Rising Sun Regional Foundation awarded a total of $270,182 in 20 new grants in the first quarter of 2018. These grants included: (6) $10,000 to the LifeTime Resources toward matching funds for Catch-A-Ride vehicles; (14) $35,000 to the Rising Sun Ohio County Community School Corporation toward LED lighting upgrades at the elementary/middle school building; (9) $5,000 to Ohio County Youth Development for crates to store animal pens; (13) $25,000 to the Rising Sun Municipal Utilities toward the purchase of a new bucket truck; (12) $10,000 to the Rising Sun Medical Center for upgrades to furniture and its phone system; (1) $4,415 to the American Legion Post #337 – Sunman toward the purchase of a commercial water softener; (20) $38,232 to the Town of Sunman for the purchase of a new police vehicle and related equipment. (11) $10,000 to the City of Rising Sun/ Rising Sun Ohio County Community School Corporation for baseball/softball field improvements; (7) $20,000 to the Milan Community School Corporation for video surveillance systems for school buses;
Four-star offensive lineman Cyrus Hobbi (Scottsdale, Ariz.), the nation’s top guard prospect according to ESPN, announced his commitment to USC during a Friday afternoon press conference held at Saguargo High School and televised regionally on Fox Sports Arizona.“I’ll be attending the University of Southern California,” Hobbi said in a story published on USCFootball.com. “It was a very difficult decision with all of the schools I had to choose from.”Hobbi had been deliberating between USC, and Arizona State and UCLA.“I was very impressed with all of the coaches and I had a great time meeting everybody, but at the end of the day going out there to USC,” Hobbi said in the same story. “I knew it was the place for me. Walking out to the Coliseum and seeing all of these great, great players I’m going to be playing with soon with the recruiting class they’re going to be getting … we’re going to be good in the next couple of years.”With holes on the offensive line stemming from the departures of starters Kristofer O’Dowd, Butch Lewis and Tyron Smith, Hobbi is expected to compete for a starting spot immediately.“We’re going to start winning games. I’m very confident and very excited in my decision to go to USC.”
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The state’s unfunded liability for providing health care to retired public employees could be as high as $70 billion and continues to grow rapidly, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office said Friday. The liability has gotten so out of hand that it now costs the state $1 billion a year to service the costs. That figure will hit $1.6 billion by 2010 – an increase of 60 percent in just four years. “This is a liability out there and the costs to service it are growing significantly each year,” said Jason Dickerson, a senior analyst with the LAO. “That unfunded liability, because we have no funds set aside to pay for it, completely falls upon the general fund each year. “As those costs become bigger, we think it would make more sense to have a long-range funding plan where the state began to set aside money to reduce the budgetary effect of those costs each year.” The increase in costs is driven by skyrocketing health care premiums, increasing retirements and longer life expectancies. Government agencies throughout the country are all facing similar problems, and most are just starting to tackle them this year because of a change in national accounting standards that takes effect next year. Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Granada Hills, said the state needs to start looking to deal with the problem now, including setting aside more money from the general fund to pay for the costs, and reducing future benefits. “It is a very difficult task, but we can’t continue to simply sweep this problem under the rug,” Richman said. “This problem is going to come crashing down on the state of California and local governments throughout the state. This report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office is a bombshell.” Richman has authored a proposed constitutional amendment to reform the state’s pension system, including reducing costs of health benefits for retirees. The measure says that new government employees hired in the future who retire before the normal retirement age will not receive state-funded health care until they reach retirement age. Most Democrats in the Legislature, backed by the public-employee unions, have resisted any changes in the state pension system and are likely to fight reductions in health benefits. Senate President pro tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, cautioned that the report should not be used as an excuse to cut benefits. “No one has to tell any Californian the cost of health care is going up,” Perata said in a written statement. “But anyone who seeks to use this report to abandon the teachers, cops and firefighters who have worked their lives for the people of this state will be disappointed.” The figure from the LAO is a preliminary estimate, not a full actuarial study. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed in his 2006-07 budget that the state pay for a full study to get an accurate account of the full scope of the problem, said spokesman Vince Sollitto. He said it would be difficult for the state to start setting aside more money to cover the liability when it is still facing a structural deficit in its general fund. “The focus right now needs to continue to be on steps to close the structural deficit,” Sollitto said. “You can argue whether it makes sense to save money when you have to borrow money to cover the money you’re saving. This again highlights the urgency of California living within its means and closing the structural deficit, in order to be in a position to more easily address these actual liabilities.” Starting in 1961 when the state began offering health benefits to retirees, and for decades after, the costs remained reasonable enough that the state was able to manage them on a pay-as-you-go basis, without putting money aside to cover those future costs as, for example, a pension fund does. But in recent years the costs have grown so massive that the LAO recommends that the state begin saving for them in advance. Setting aside the full amount would cost $6 billion a year, though the LAO recommends that the state start instead by setting aside an extra $1 billion on top of the current $1 billion costs to slowly work toward covering the liability. The LAO also believes that state officials need to look at whether to reduce such benefits for future employees. Most government agencies and private corporations throughout the country have similarly failed over the years to plan ahead for the cost of providing health care to retirees, leaving many of them this year to come to terms with what has become a massive liability. Such companies as General Motors and United Airlines are facing serious financial threats, including the possibility of bankruptcy and massive layoffs as they struggle with the costs. The Los Angeles Unified School District disclosed this week that the calculation of its unfunded liability for retiree health costs had doubled to $10billion. [email protected] (916) 446-6723
Wondering whether the Employment Equity Act applies to you? Confused about how to implement employment equity in your company? Concerned about how to classify your employees in racial terms? Read on.The Department of Labour is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of affirmative action. To do this, it needs to receive regular reports from companies on their progress. Regular reporting to the department is a legal requirement.Wondering whether the Employment Equity Act applies to you? Confused about how to implement employment equity in your company? Concerned about how to classify your employees in racial terms? Read on.Employment equity requirements are giving me sleepless nights. How do I as an employer begin to address it?Don’t panic. It’s all on the Department of Labour’s website. But first read this summary of the basic information and the steps you need to take.What is affirmative action?Affirmative action ensures that qualified people from designated groups have equal opportunities in the workplace. Designated groups are blacks (Africans, Coloureds and Indians), women and people with disabilities.Who is affected by the Employment Equity Act?All employers, workers and job applicants (except for members of the National Defence Force, National Intelligence Agency and South African Secret Service). Affirmative action provisions apply to employers who employ 50 or more staff members or whose annual turnover is more than that set down in Schedule 4 of the Act (the figures vary according to the type of industry).How do employers go about achieving employment equity?Employers must draw up an employment equity plan, setting out the steps they intend taking to achieve employment equity, over the next one to five years. To do this, they need to analyse their workforce profile as well as their employment practices and policies.In drawing up the plan they must consult with unions and employees to get agreement around it. Employers need to report their equity plans regularly to the Department of Labour, which monitors implementation.What has to be included in the plan?Employment equity plans must show:objectives for every year;affirmative action measures that will be implemented;where black people, women and people with disabilities are not represented:numerical goals to reach this;timetables; andstrategies.timetables for annual objectives;the duration of the plan (not shorter than a year or longer than five years);procedures that will be used to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the plan;ways to solve disputes about the plan; andpeople responsible for implementing the plan.The Department of Labour recommends this is achieved in three phases: preparation (assign responsibility, set up consultative forum, analysis of employment practices and environment, draw up workforce profile); implementation (proactive steps to improve the company’s diversity profile); and monitoring.Employment equity helpline – 0860 101 018The Department of Labour has a series of basic guides to help you through this process.Do I have to submit reports?The Department of Labour is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of affirmative action. To do this, it needs to receive regular reports from companies on their progress. Regular reporting to the department is a legal requirement.Reports comprise two forms: the Employment Equity Report Form (EEA2) and the Income Differential Statement (EEA4).These can be submitted electronically or by hand to any labour centre. They can also be posted to:Employment Equity RegistryThe Department of LabourPrivate Bag X117Pretoria 0001Access the online service: https://ee.labour.gov.za/email: [email protected] can report employers who do not comply with the equity legislation to the department. (Image: Brand South Africa)How often must employers submit reports?Employers with more than 150 employees must report every year by the first working day of October, while employers with fewer than 150 employees must report every year ending with an even number (ie every second year).Copies of the reports must be kept for at least three years for large employers, or two years for smaller employers.What happens if I don’t report to the Department of Labour?Employers who do not comply with legislation will be excluded from the department’s public register. Government and other companies are encouraged to do business with those on the register.Employees can report employers who do not comply with the equity legislation to the department.What if I cannot submit my report?Employers who are unable to report must let the Department of Labour know in writing, giving reasons.Write to:The Director-GeneralDepartment of LabourPrivate Bag X117Pretoria0001I thought racial classification was an outdated practice, yet the Department of Labour requires this information. How do I as a company employer go about finding out the “race” of my employees in a tactful manner?The EEA1 form calls for voluntary self-classification on the part of the employee. If an employee refuses to fill this in the employer must rely on existing records of the employee, but must make sure that this information is made available to him/her. If an employee is “mixed race”, the designation he/she volunteers must be used. If the employer must make the choice, he/she is advised to put the employee in the “designated group” category – in other words, black.How can I assess whether my employee falls into the disability category?Once again, the EEA1 form calls for voluntary self-classification on the part of the employee. According to the Act, people with disabilities are defined as “people who have long-term or recurring physical or mental impairment which substantially limits their prospects of entering into, or advancement in, employment”.Are all organisations regarded as designated employers if they employ the minimum number of employees?Yes, as long as they employ more than 50 people or meet the annual turnover requirement (see Schedule Four of the Act for this). These include: NGOs, trade unions, trusts, co-operatives, professional practices, sport codes and churches.Source: Brand South Africa reporter, with information from the Department of LabourWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
richard macmanus 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#conferences#SXSW 2011#web Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… For those of you lucky enough to be attending SXSW in Austin, Texas this week, we’d like to know which panels you regard as Must-See. The panel list for this event is overwhelming, even with the help of scheduling services like Sched.org. This is my second SXSW. Last year, my (belated) debut, I got a bit overwhelmed with business meetings and I didn’t attend many of the panels. This year I’ll again be focusing mostly on meetings and networking, but I’ve resolved to squeeze in at least 5 panels. I hope I get to more than that! These are personal choices and most likely won’t match yours. So let me know in the comments which panels YOU regard as Must-See at this year’s SXSW.I chose one panel for each day I’m there.Friday: The Connected Car: Driving TechnologyThe Internet of Things is one of my pet topics and cars have been one of the main areas of innovation in this domain. I want to know what’s coming next for Internet-connected cars…“Connectivity – or “telemetric” in the auto industry – is using a car to keep you connected while behind the wheel. Mostly the auto industry is focused on developing systems for infotainment and personal connectivity through Bluetooth. That’s cool stuff that makes the driving experience more fun and helps us stay connected on the road, but we’re pushing for a much broader approach. Your vehicle can be more than a smartphone on wheels – it can be a platform for data collection and sharing.”Saturday: Coming of Age Social: Opportunity of Teens OnlineIt’s always interesting to see how new generations use and view the latest Web technologies. I’m hoping this panel will be instructive about that.“While controversy surrounds teenage behavior online, the fact is today’s 13-17 year old audience has grown up in the midst of the social media evolution and represents the next big opportunity on the social web. […] This panel will bring together a varied group of experts on social media, teenage culture, privacy and safety, entertainment and psychology to discuss the fascinating ways this generation is being shaped by the social web. The panel will discuss best practices at managing the audience as well as what’s next with the industry’s ability to not only appropriately engage and educate, but innovate for this audience’s unique demands.”Sunday: The Music of Interaction DesignI’m a music fan and also a fan of cross pollinisation. So the concept of this panel intrigued me:“In this session, we will examine parallels between music and interaction design, including harmony, genre, rhythm, fashion and emotion. Along the way, we will learn how that which defies easy definition can elevate digital and musical works from good to miraculous.”Monday: I’m So Productive, I Never Get Anything DoneThis panel kind of describes the feeling of attending SXSW – or indeed of working on the Internet. There’s so much to do and so much on, that you often feel like you don’t get as much done as you’d like. I’m keen to learn about how other people deal with the personal productivity challenges of the social media age.“Make the coffee, check the RSS, groom the avatar, freshen the blog, make nice with the Twitter, now it’s time to … do the same thing again. […] Let’s talk to some people who have actually done things — written books, built businesses, created technology — about their process. Do they have a clear, bright line between consuming media and producing it? Is it best to have multiple streams on one screen or toggle between to stay on task? Do they have a day part when they are off the grid? And why do great ideas come in the shower? Let’s figure out whether the Web is the greatest productivity tool ever invented or a destroyer of initiative and long thoughts.”Tuesday: Designing Ideas, Not ObjectsThis is the only solo panel in my 5 Must-See’s, a presentation by industrial designer Robert Brunner. I’d like to get inside his head for an hour:“[…] Robert’s work has spawned numerous brand-defining designs during the past two decades. He founded Lunar Design in 1984 after working as a designer and project manager at several Silicon Valley companies. He subsequently went on to become director of industrial design at Apple Computer in 1989, where he established the internal design group and provided design and direction for all the company’s products. […] His firm Ammunition has been listed in Fast Company Magazine’s top 10 innovative design companies list for 3 years running, and last year Robert was featured in the magazine’s list of top 100 creative professionals. Robert also has taught advanced product design at Stanford University.”Update: My original Tuesday pick clashes with one of my SXSW commitments, so I’ve replaced it with this talk by Adaptive Path. They’re one of the enduring design firms of the web 2.0 + era, so I’ll be there as a fan.Adaptive Path: 10 Years Of Making Things Awesome-r“Experience design company Adaptive Path launched at South by Southwest 2001 (on the rooftop of the old Waterloo Brewing Company!). Together, we’ve grown up, but we haven’t grown old. From the two guys who helped create a revolution (and some 4-letter neologisms along the way) — learn how to continually revolutionize your own thinking and approach to your work.”There you have it, my 5 personal Must-See panels for 2011. In no way a scientific Top 5, just what I want to make sure I see. Also there are a bunch of panels that I’d like to see, but which clash with meetings.My evolving schedule is on sched.org.Let me know what your Must-See panels are, I may well change my schedule if I spot some goodies!
Australian spin legend Shane Warne on Tuesday threw his hat into the ring for the post of India coach, which has been vacated by the departure of Gary Kirsten.Warne, who was in Jaipur to unveil the new jersey for his Indian Premier League (IPL) team Rajasthan Royals, was asked who he was tipping to replace Kirsten.”It is a very difficult job to be India coach, it is never easy. But with India doing so well, it is a lot easier to take over right now than it has been in the past. I’ll enjoy working with the Indian cricket team for sure,” Warne told reporters in the presence of franchise co-owner Shilpa Shetty and former India captain Rahul Dravid, who is now his teammate.”He (Kirsten) is a quality person and it would be hard to find a replacement for him. Under him, the Indian team has reached the number one spot in Tests and won the World Cup. He is a fantastic coach and a quality person,” Warne added.This is not the first time Warne, who is the Royals’ captain and coach, has been linked to the Indian coaching job. Ever since the Royals’ run to the inaugural IPL title in 2008, there has been speculation that he could take up a coaching role with the national side as well, given his penchant for bringing the best out of virtually anonymous players.Speaking about Sachin Tendulkar, Warne said that it would have been a fitting finale if the Indian legend could have scored his 100th international century in the World Cup final.advertisement”Sachin is my old friend. It would have been wonderful had his 100th international ton had come in the World Cup final. He has been in fine form for past few months,” he said.Dravid feels that although Sachin Tendulkar is yet to be conferred the ‘Bharat Ratna’, he is already one for the millions of cricket-crazy Indians.”I don’t know when he will get it officially as I am not aware of the rules. But he is already a ‘Bharat Ratna’ for Indian people because of his phenomenal success and the manner in which he has served Indian cricket for years,” Dravid said.Warne was also asked about his World Cup predictions, which turned out to be more or less true.He had correctly predicted the India-England tied result, and said: “I was coming out of the hotel and saw the match in a close balance. With both sides good enough I thought it might end in a tie. It had started as mere fun only.” Talking about the team composition for the new season, Warne said they have replaced injured England batsman Paul Collingwood with Kiwi all-rounder Jacob Oram. “Collingwood had injured his left knee. We will miss him but Oram is a handy addition for us.He has been in fine form during the World Cup and his presence would give us more depth,” he said.
The New York Yankees faced a tight spot on July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Their newly acquired starting pitcher, Brandon McCarthy, had gutted his way through 6.2 innings, lacking his best stuff but still holding the Indians to four runs, just one of those earned. Locked in a 4-4 tie, manager Joe Girardi turned to his bullpen, knowing it had no margin for error.The first pitcher out of the pen was Matt Thornton. Instead of battling Indians hitters with an assortment of southpaw soft stuff, Thornton fired two straight fastballs to All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley, the second one resulting in a harmless, inning-ending groundout. The radar gun flashed a reading on Thornton’s heater: 97 mph.The next Yankees pitcher to toe the rubber was Dellin Betances. A 26-year-old rookie, Betances had taken the long route to establish himself in the big leagues. At 6’8” and 260 pounds, he was once a promising starter prospect, but struggled mightily to make use of his huge frame. Converted to relief last season, Betances simplified his repertoire, leaning on his blazing fastball and nasty slurve. The result was a breakout season in a repeat stint at Triple-A, followed by a job in this year’s Yankees bullpen. On this night against the Indians, Betances needed only 10 pitches to retire the side in the eighth inning. The four fastballs he threw in that frame averaged a tick below 99 mph.As the night wore on, a battalion of flamethrowers kept emerging out of the Yankees bullpen. Adam Warren tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, firing 12 fastballs that averaged 95 mph. After David Huff (94 mph) struggled with three batters, Shawn Kelley (94 mph) bailed him out with 1.2 scoreless. The Yankees finally scored a run in the top of the 14th, prompting David Robertson to take the mound. New York’s closer needed 14 pitches to set down the Indians in the bottom of the inning, clinching a 5-4 win for the Yanks. Unlike many of his relief-mates, Robertson almost never throws a four-seam fastball, the kind of straight heat that tends to register the highest radar gun readings. Instead, he throws the cutter, a pitch that bores in on left-handed batters, inducing countless weak groundouts and often chopping their bats into tiny splinters. That night against the Indians, Robertson’s cutter velocity peaked at 95 mph, averaging “only” 93 — a necessary trade-off to get the kind of movement that can cause sleepless nights for its helpless victims.The Yankees are hardly alone in their employment of multiple cheese-huckers. Teams are trotting out pitchers who routinely throw mid-90s fastballs, with gusts up to the high 90s, and occasionally 100 mph or better. Most of those fireballers work out of the bullpen, and they’re needed more now than ever before. In a chicken-and-egg scenario, starters’ inability to go deep into games has created heightened demand for fresh and electric arms out of the bullpen.Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com, we can track the upward trend in reliever use over the past 50 years:The broader trend that goes back half a century is clear. In 1964 (four years after the save rule first came to baseball), teams used an average of 2.58 pitchers per game, including the starter; today, they’re using 3.92 pitchers per game. In ’64, relievers tossed an average of 2.64 innings per game; today, they’re throwing an eyelash more than three innings per game. Starters are getting yanked much earlier now than they did during Willie Mays’s heyday, and relievers are shouldering a greater percentage of the pitching load. But what’s most striking is how much bigger the jump is in the number of pitchers used per game as compared to number of relief innings thrown per game.Bullpens weren’t always like this. In 1960, sportswriter Jerome Holtzman introduced the save statistic to baseball. Holtzman wanted a way to better recognize the impressive contributions of pitchers like Joe Page and Hoyt Wilhelm, relief aces who came out of the bullpen to replace tiring starters, often throwing multiple innings at a time. Over the ensuing 25 to 30 years, bullpens slowly evolved, to the point where managers started to ease back on the role of multi-inning stoppers.The person often credited with the next wave of changes is Tony La Russa. The former White Sox, A’s and Cardinals manager figured he could squeeze more value out of his bullpen by placing a greater emphasis on putting specific relievers in a spot where they’d have the best chance to succeed. If you want to know why a contemporary manager may use three different relievers in a single inning in the name of getting the lefty-on-lefty and righty-on-righty matchups he wants, you can give a lot of the credit (or blame, if you’re not a huge fan of three and a half-hour games) to La Russa.Still, today’s managers might not be so willing to change pitchers so frequently1La Russa gained the greatest notoriety for his pitching changes while in Oakland, when he helped turn situational lefties like Rick Honeycutt into valuable late-inning weapons. But we can’t put all of this on La Russa: Managers use slightly more than one extra pitcher per game, on average, since 1989, La Russa’s one World Series-winning season with the A’s. if they didn’t have all those guys waiting in the bullpen who can throw 95-100 mph at will. So, using FanGraphs fastball velocity data, we set out to answer the question: What percentage of relief pitchers throw 95 mph or better today, as compared to past seasons?Though reliable velocity data only goes back to 2002, that’s still a big spike in a relatively short amount of time: We’re only two-thirds of the way through this season, and already we’ve seen nearly twice as many innings thrown by relievers who average 95 mph or higher on their fastballs than we did just 12 years ago.OK, so we know that managers are using more relievers, and that more of them throw hard. But what matters is whether bullpens are performing better.To measure this phenomenon, we ran another Baseball-Reference query and found that the average bullpen’s OPS+ allowed2That is, on-base plus slugging percentage allowed, re-scaled so that the MLB average is always 100. has dropped dramatically over the past 45 years, from 103 (3 percent worse than the overall league average, a number that includes starters and relievers) in 1969 to 94 (6 percent better than average) this season. The performance disparity between relief pitchers and starters really began to accelerate in the mid- to late 1990s, as the post-La Russa bullpen era fully took hold.Note how the shaded area of the chart is wider than it used to be. As recently as 1988, the OPS+ allowed by starters and relievers was almost equal; now, relief pitchers are consistently hurling much sharper innings than starters. It’s a change that also goes hand in hand with the aforementioned increase in relievers deployed per game. Managers have gotten wise to the fact that more innings should go to the more effective subgroup of pitchers, and that they’re even more effective when called upon in waves to throw aspirin pills past helpless batters.This data gives us a good idea of the “what.” Figuring out why relievers are getting so much faster and so much better is trickier, because it’s more subjective. It’s possible that teams are doing a better job of recognizing which pitchers should be converted into relievers and which ones should remain starters. In the same way the Yankees figured out that Betances was much better suited to relief work, the Cincinnati Reds resisted the temptation to make Aroldis Chapman a starter and let him unleash his electrifying fastball in the closer role instead. Chapman alone might be skewing our data set somewhat, given the frequency with which he launches blinding fastballs, and the incredible results he produces. According to the excellent site Baseball Savant, Chapman has thrown a staggering 257 fastballs that have topped 100 mph this year; every other pitcher in the majors has combined to throw 103 of them.Earlier this year, in an an article about the recent increase in Tommy John surgeries, I discussed why we might be seeing more pitchers assaulting radar guns than ever before. One frequently cited theory holds that kids are specializing in one sport at an earlier age, so once they lock in on baseball they’re building arm strength and pitch velocity more quickly, but also making themselves more susceptible to future injury. That so many can throw so fast, and so many hit the disabled list, makes relievers fungible (with a few exceptions like Betances and Chapman). As a result, managers choose a few relievers from a phalanx of fireballers, then go get a few more if some of them break down.In other words, the pitchers might be on the mound for fewer and fewer pitches, but the trend of harder throwers looks like it’s here to stay.
4New York Yankees8281788481.3 2Toronto Blue Jays8186838583.8 Based on projected wins or over/under win totals. Data gathered on March 27, 2017.Sources: Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport, Las Vegas Review-Journal In honor of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, which starts April 2, FiveThirtyEight is assembling some of our favorite baseball writers to chat about what’s ahead. Today, we focus on the American League East with Sports Illustrated senior baseball editor Emma Span and ESPN.com baseball writer Dan Szymborski. The transcript below has been edited. RANKTEAMPECOTAFANGRAPHSDAVENPORTWESTGATEAVERAGE How forecasters view the AL East 3Tampa Bay Rays8583807981.8 neil: Hey folks! Welcome to the chat.emmaspan: Who’s ready to be wrong about some baseball? I know I am!neil: Let’s be wrong in order of the table above, starting with the Red Sox …dszymborski: TABLES DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DOemmaspan: Well, I’m guessing this is one we all agree on. The Red Sox have to be everyone’s clear favorite, right?dszymborski: I’d like to be contrary, but I don’t see the “in” here. The Red Sox have the best roster in the division.neil: Yep, they were a team that finally unleashed their potential with 93 wins in 2016. And they might be even better in 2017, considering:They undershot their Pythagorean expectation by 5 wins.They also had bad cluster luck.They went out and added Chris Sale.dszymborski: It’s hard to quibble. Sale’s terrific, even though I’m constantly annoyed by his ability to eat 6,000 calories a day and retain his Gumby physique.emmaspan: David Price’s elbow is maybe the only obvious concern, because when you hear about a pitcher and elbow pain, it’s almost never better than you think it will be. But I think that even if he did get injured, they’d still be the best team in the East.neil: Yeah, what do we make of Price’s 2016 anyway? He had his worst ERA since 2009, but his peripherals were mostly OK. If he stays healthy, does that HR rate regress?emmaspan: Yeah, I’m a David Price fan, and I think he wasn’t as bad last year as people thought. Not as good as anyone was hoping for, obviously, but it’s not like he collapsed completely. But again, any time the words “elbow” and “Dr. James Andrews” come up about any pitcher …neil: Not good.dszymborski: Typhoid Jimmy.emmaspan: The Angel of UCL Death.neil: If there’s one area where Boston might regress, do you think it’s that starters Rick Porcello and Steven Wright might be due for a correction? (Both had career years in 2016.) Or am I looking for weaknesses where there are none?dszymborski: Porcello is funny. My projection system, ZiPS, thought his contract extension was bang-on and I doubted it, so my PC locked me out of all my programs.neil: And then taunted you like Newman in Jurassic Park.dszymborski: The thing about Porcello is, even though he’s obviously not a baseline Cy Young winner, his peripherals in Detroit were excellent through most of his time there. 2016 was closer to his real level of ability when he doesn’t have the Tigers infield behind him.emmaspan: I don’t think Porcello will be a Cy Young contender again, but they don’t need him to be the ace now that Sale is there. They just need him to be solid.neil: OK, so then we have to talk about that world-beating offense from last year, which scored 12 percent more runs per game than any other AL team. They’re losing Big Papi, but is that enough reason to think they won’t go crazy again?dszymborski: Losing Ortiz’s 2016 production is a pretty big deal. Now, they’d likely have lost a lot of that even if he returned, but you can’t lose 600 PAs of an OPS over 1.000, bring in Mitch Moreland and expect there to be no consequences.Top prospect Andrew Benintendi helps, but there aren’t a lot of players on the offense you expect to do better than they did in 2016. They’ll still be an excellent offense, of course — I just don’t see them with a 100-run lead on the rest of the league.emmaspan: Agree that they’ll feel the loss — Ortiz had the best final season of all time. But they should still be good. That outfield is so talented and so young, it’s nuts.dszymborski: I hope their choreographed dances become more and more complex.neil: It seems likely that Boston will become the East’s first repeat winner since 2012. But how do they stop what happened against Cleveland in the playoffs from thwarting them again? (For what it’s worth, they’re still behind the Indians in terms of AL pennant odds, according to both Vegas and FanGraphs.)dszymborski: Boring answer: Just win the games.emmaspan: They’re set up as well as anyone to beat the Indians, but I don’t know that there’s anything you can do to have better luck in a seven-game series. Just make sure you get there and hope for the best.neil: OK. Now let’s shift focus to the Blue Jays, who seem like a team in a weird place. They had the oldest team in MLB in 2016, and they lost the ALCS in back-to-back seasons — do they have a chance to finally get over the hump this year, or is this window closing fast?dszymborski: Window’s closing, but I don’t think this is the year it shuts. Departed DH Edwin Encarnacion was good, but just how good he was can be overstated a bit.neil: But he was better than, say, Kendrys Morales, right?dszymborski: Sure. But it’s not like they’re losing Josh Donaldson. It’s maybe two wins.emmaspan: It’s taking me a while to adjust to this new reality where 40 HRs aren’t as valuable as I’m used to thinking they are.dszymborski: Watch the ball suddenly be dead this year.emmaspan: I still think the Jays have an edge on the non-Boston AL East teams, but last year I thought they were World Series contenders and I’m not sure I see it this year. That said, their pitching was even better than I expected it to be.dszymborski: They got nothing from the bench last year, and Troy Tulowitzki has some upside left. And there are reasons for optimism in their pitching. Not that they’re likely to win the AL East, but 85 to 88 wins or so is a real contender for a playoff spot.neil: Let’s talk about that rotation … It still looks deep on paper, though they’ve also relied on the second-most innings pitched from starters of any team over the past 2 seasons.emmaspan: I worry a little bit about Marcus Stroman’s jump to 200 innings last year.dszymborski: I think expecting fewer innings from Stroman can be balanced somewhat by him pitching a bit better. And I’m cautiously optimistic about Francisco Liriano. He really dropped that walk rate going back to the AL last year, and that kind of thing tends to stabilize very quickly.emmaspan: And Aaron Sanchez was legit in his first season as a full-time starter. Killer sinker, still just 24 years old.neil: Toronto might need all of your collective optimism on the pitching front, because the offense doesn’t seem as high-octane as we might expect from the names on the lineup card. They finished 8th in the AL in OPS+ last year, and that was with Donaldson continuing to play at near-MVP levels.emmaspan: I think Jose Bautista will be better this year, assuming he stays healthy. His injury last year cost him a TON of money.neil: Bautista seems kind of emblematic of this whole lineup: “Gosh, I really hope this over-30 hitter can post huge numbers! Otherwise we might be in trouble.”dszymborski: At least the idea isn’t that deluded. Bautista has a reasonable shot to hit better than he did last year. If that doesn’t happen, Toronto’s window could slam shut surprisingly quickly.emmaspan: Thirty-year-old Donaldson was as good as ever last year, too. But I agree they’re not as deep as the Red Sox, plus they’re older, so there’s less room for error. And I don’t know what Tulo has left. But if he were to put up a vintage season, they’re a whole different team.dszymborski: Yeah, if Joey Bats, Morales, Tulo, etc., don’t bounce back, the ceiling on this team comes down hard. Yet that same group is a source of upside that could make them surprise us and be a 94-win team or something.neil: Let’s move on to the Rays, who are a surprising third in the projections. There’s probably reason for more optimism than last year’s 68-win record would suggest: They deserved 77 wins according to Pythagoras, and they had bad cluster luck, too. But they also have a history of underperforming these kinds of projections. Do we trust that last year was a fluky down year, or is Tampa Bay overrated by the numbers?dszymborski: ZiPS is positive. They do have considerable upside on their team and some ready young pitching. PECOTA wasn’t wrong in liking the Rays last year — maybe just a year or two ahead of things.emmaspan: For me, the rest of this division is pretty much a clump of mediocrity. I wouldn’t be surprised at any order of finish between the Rays, Yankees and O’s.dszymborski: There’s no actual bad team in this division.emmaspan: The Rays’ pitching should be good, but it would probably help to have more than two good hitters.neil: Yeah, in that lineup they’ve got Kevin Kiermaier, Evan Longoria and … what else, exactly? Brad Miller? A bounce-back year from Matt Duffy?dszymborski: They have real offensive problems at the traditional offense-heavy spots. That’s going to put a limit on just how many runs they can score. And to really hit their upside as a team, they’re going to have to at least have a good offense, because the pitching is unlikely to be able to carry the team that high singlehandedly.emmaspan: That was a very nice way of saying “Logan Morrison is their first baseman,” Dan.dszymborski: Morrison, Steven Souza, Corey Dickerson and Colby Rasmus are just an uninspiring group to have on the offensive side of the defensive spectrum.neil: Maybe the bigger thing for the Rays is that the hallmarks of the Andrew Friedman/Joe Maddon era are eroding. They used to have MLB’s best defense; now it’s just average. And 2016 saw their fewest homegrown WAR since 2006. That’s tough when you also have the lowest payroll in MLB.emmaspan: The scout Sports Illustrated talked to for its preview issue was extreeeeeemely down on Tampa: “The Rays are like a mini-Baltimore, but without the closer and their bullpen is dreadful.” “They’re going to have to pitch their brains out.” “Let’s put it this way — they’re counting on Colby Rasmus.”I’m not as down on them as he was, but it’s tough for me to see them challenging Boston or Toronto.neil: Is time running out for Chris Archer to deliver on his superstar potential? He was supposed to break out last year, but just ended up being average.dszymborski: I think Archer has delivered in the past, even if he didn’t become a Cy Young candidate. Short of an arm issue or something, I’m optimistic on him.emmaspan: Archer lost 19 games last year, but it’s like the old saying goes: You have to be a pretty good pitcher to lose 20 games.dszymborski: Mike Maroth’s going to love this chat.neil: So let’s talk about the Yankees next. It still feels odd to have them fourth in the pecking order, even though that’s where they finished last year. In fact, their 84 wins last year meant that 2016 was tied for the worst Yankees season since 1992 — and that was with 5 wins of Pythagorean luck tacked on.dszymborski: They have more young players on offense than the Blue Jays, but there’s still that reliance on older players bouncing back from off years.neil: And they’ve lost a number of veteran hitters from a team that already had the second-worst OPS+ in the AL. (On the other hand, hot-hitting young catcher Gary Sanchez will be in the lineup for a full season.)dszymborski: I think the offense will be better than that, but they’re likely getting declines from outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, and anything they get from Matt Holliday should be gravy.emmaspan: I’ll say this: The Yankees were a younger, better, more interesting team by the end of last year than they were at the start of it. I think they’ll have some growing pains with some of these young players (I probably have them in a virtual tie for third with the Orioles), but they should be a lot more fun to watch than they have been in a while.dszymborski: In the end, they’ll score a decent number of runs. The big downside is that rotation, which could come apart very easily.emmaspan: CC Sabathia gave them 180 decent innings last year. Without him, I think it would have fallen apart.neil: Yeah, the rotation held up reasonably well last season, but you can see the danger lurking.Is this a year where the Yankees are close enough to contending that they can’t afford to experiment, or is it a bridge to the future (with that great farm system), where you just say, “Why not try things and see what happens?”emmaspan: A lot has to go wrong in Boston for the Yankees to have a prayer at the division, but that second wild card makes it really hard to punt on even a mediocre season.I think when the Yankees became sellers last year, though, it was an acknowledgment that they need to hit the reset button. (I mean, as much as the Yankees ever can.)neil: It was telling that 2016 was the first time that the average age of the Yankees’ roster was under 30 since 1993 — and they’ll be even younger in 2017.dszymborski: