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Chase Utley’s influence goes beyond analytics for Dodgers and their future

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> Baseball’s deep dive into statistical analysis has created a new language of exit velocities, launch angles, FIPs, WHIPs and BABIPs.But this is another new concept courtesy of the analytics crowd – a 37-year-old “bounceback candidate.”Chase Utley posted career-lows across the board offensively last season. A .212 batting average, .286 on-base percentage, .629 OPS and only eight home runs in over 400 plate appearances. Combined with the fact that he would turn 37 in December, the numbers seemed to scream of a player in decline. His 140 plate appearances with the Dodgers over the final two months of the season didn’t paint any prettier a picture (he hit .202 with a .654 OPS). Utley did bounce back. The oldest leadoff hitter in baseball this year, Utley has started 69 of the Dodgers’ first 94 games there – and eased a massive problem. Last year, Dodgers’ leadoff hitters (primarily Rollins and Joc Pederson) combined for the lowest batting average in the majors (.233), one of the lowest OBPs (.319, 20th) and fewest runs scored (93, 24th). Those numbers this season are a healthier middle of the pack in the National League.If not for a June swoon that lopped more than 20 points off his batting average, Utley’s individual statistics would be in line with most of his career norms.“I still feel like I can contribute. That’s the bottom line,” said Utley of his own belief in his bounciness.“Early in the (2015) season, first week or so, I felt like I was swinging the bat really well,” he said of his sub-par 2015, a season that started with him trying to play through an ankle injury suffered during an off-season workout. “For a couple weeks after that, even though I did swing the bat well I didn’t have a whole lot to show for it. At that point, I think it’s only natural to try to figure out a way to help your team. For me, I got out of what I’m most comfortable doing. Instead of trying to hit the ball hard I was trying to find places to hit the ball. And that didn’t work so well.“I took some time off (a six-week stint on the DL at mid-season) and got my body in more of a position to be successful. After that, I felt like I swung the bat okay, better than my baseball card would show. Obviously I appreciate that they were able to see beyond that.”For all their adherence to the measurables produced by an analytics department of unknown size but unquestioned influence, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and Zaidi also saw beyond Utley’s value in the batter’s box. When they re-signed Utley, they readily admit they were paying for intangibles as well.“The leadership, the attention to detail he has for the game — it was a huge boost for us down the stretch and into the playoffs (in 2015) and was an important thing for us to get back,” Zaidi said. “He just has such a strong reputation that even if you didn’t get quite that (offensive) production there was a lot of value to having him on your team.”The Dodgers expect to benefit from that value well beyond Utley’s one-year contract. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he “absolutely” sees Utley’s old-school influence impacting the Dodgers’ new wave of talent, young players like Corey Seager, Trayce Thompson and Joc Pederson.“Unbelievable. I can’t even, don’t even know where to start,” Seager said when asked if Utley has had a positive influence on him. “He’s helped me on the field, off the field, in the clubhouse. Anything you can think or imagine I’ve asked him and he’s talked to me about.“Just little things I’m picking up that people do, tipping pitches and little stuff that I personally never looked at that he’s shown me, tried to involve me. Obviously I’m a work in progress. I’m not awesome at it even when I know what he’s doing, the tipping or whatever.”Seager said he followed Utley’s career while growing up in North Carolina. Now he finds his locker next to Utley’s in the Dodgers’ home clubhouse and becomes effusive when talking about the benefits that flow from that relationship, saying he believes “100 percent” that being Utley’s teammate will benefit his career.“Just watching his at-bats, watching him grind through at-bats – I’m lost for words how impressive it is,” Seager said. “Watching him as a fan while I was growing up, you just think he’s this great player. He’s just that much better than everybody. But you watch him work – he grinds everything out, his attention to detail is off the charts.”Utley acknowledges the responsibility he has to provide a positive role model for a future star like Seager as well as others, whether through words or action.“For me, I don’t want to always be that guy, the teammate telling someone what to do. That’s not the way to go about it,” Utley said. “I think you play the game the way you think you should and hopefully some guys see how that can be beneficial and try to implement that into their game.” Utley’s long-time double-play partner, Jimmy Rollins, had similar numbers in those categories over a full season with the Dodgers last season and found himself unsigned until late February this spring when he accepted a minor-league contract offer from the Chicago White Sox. He made the White Sox’s roster and took a deep paycut (from $11 million to $2 million) only to be released in mid-June.But Utley barely had to wait until December to re-sign with the Dodgers for $7 million with other suitors lined up, willing to sign a 37-year-old middle infielder coming off the worst season of his career.“It was a couple things,” Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi said, explaining the thinking behind last winter’s most surprising decision by a front office that has advertised a desire to build a younger roster. “One, purely on the performance side, even when he was with us last year – he really had bad luck in that 150 at-bat sample. We looked at his hard-hit percentage, line drive percentage – that kind of stuff. It was actually very much in line with the numbers he’s putting up now. You would have thought he was a .280 to .300 hitter with .420 or .450 slug.“I think he was viewed as a strong bounceback candidate, that it (his poor offensive production) was going to be just one year.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Nightly water restrictions planned to save for busy Easter period

first_imgIrish Water is to issue nightly water restrictions from tomorrow (Mon) night in the Rossnowlagh and Ballyshannon areas. The company said it is preparing for increased demand for water during the Easter bank holiday weekend and is putting plans in place to safeguard supply for homes, businesses and tourists during this busy period.The issue was raised at this week’s meeting of the local municipal authority by Cllr Michael Naughton. Irish Water will need to restrict water supply at nighttime over the coming weeks to fill treated water storage reservoirs.Beginning tomorrow water supply will be restricted each night from 11pm to 7am for customers supplied from the Ballyshannon Public Water Supply Scheme in the Rossnowlagh area during the Easter Holiday season.Tankers will be available to assist in maintaining reservoir levels. The use of tankers is not a sustainable option and Irish Water is appealing to residents, businesses and visitors to reduce their usage to ensure a consistent supply of water for all.Kevin Love Irish water stated “We are managing water supply at the minute but when activity increases due to increased demand over the Easter holidays we will start to run out. “Irish Water, is upgrading the pumping system supplying water to the Rossnowlagh area to cater for the increased demand for high quality drinking water in Rossnowlagh during the holiday season. Irish Water is also urging residents, businesses and visitors in Rossnowlagh to conserve water to help prevent any supply shortages later in the summer.“However it would be very helpful if customers started to conserve water now before demand increases. Customers on higher ground may experience more interrupted supply and we are urging those customers to contact the Irish Water call centre where they experience prolonged outages on 1850 278 278.”The company is replacing 4.1km of problematic water main on R-231 at Corker, Ballyshannon at the end of April 2019 which should help with securing a constant water supply at Rossnowlagh.It is expected that works will last for approximately five weeks.This will result in an improved level of service for consumers being served from this watermain and a reduction in leakage.There will be traffic management in place during these works and Irish Water is working to minimise disruption to consumers and the travelling public during these essential works. To help conserve water customers are also being asked to report any leaks they see on the public network and to repair any private side leaks in their homes and businesses to help restore water levels in the network. Customers can report any public side leaks online at www.water.ie or by calling the customer care helpline 24/7 on 1850 278 278.Irish Water and Donegal County Council have apologised for any inconvenience caused and would like to thank the public in advance for their co-operation.Updates will be issued on the water storage levels at the reservoirs and consumers will be advised when they can return to normal usage.Nightly water restrictions planned to save for busy Easter period was last modified: April 14th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:EasterIrish WaterRossnowlaghlast_img read more

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New Mineral Resources Minister to be sworn in today

first_img23 September 2015 The new minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane, will be sworn into office today at the Union Buildings.This comes after President Jacob Zuma announced a minor cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday evening.Ngoako Ramatlhodi will take the role of Public Service and Administration minister which became available after Minister Collins Chabane died in a motor accident in March.Zwane is a Member of Parliament who has previously served as MEC in the portfolios of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in the Free State provincial government.It means that Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who had been the acting Minister for Public Service, will now step down as Ramatlhodi takes up the position.President Zuma thanked Mthethwa for temporarily filling the post and wished both Zwane and Ramathlodi well in their new portfolios.Mining in South AfricaAs minister of mineral resources, Zwane’s role will be central to keeping stability in an industry that increases South Africa’s global competiveness. The country produces the highest amount of manganese in the world, and South Africa remains the largest gold exporter on the continent.Mining plays a vital role in the country. According to business news website, Moneyweb: “Mining accounts for more than half of the nation’s exports and employs about 440 000 people.”Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

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South Africa resumes seafood exports to Russia

first_img12 November 2014South African will begin seafood exports to Russia after the Eurasian country granted twelve seafood companies licences to supply canned and frozen fish.This is the first since the late 1990s that South African fish will be exported to Russia on a commercial basis, said Felix Ratheb, chief executive of Cape Town-based Sea Harvest, one of the South African companies granted a licence.The other 11 companies granted rights to supply seafood are Abagold Ltd, Compass Challenger, GSA Trades Pty Ltd, Harvest Atlantic Peace, Irvin & Johnson Limited, Kaytrad Coldstore, LAVERNE, Marine Products, Pioneer Fishing Pty Ltd, Sea Vuna Fishing Company Pty Ltd and Viking Fishing Co Pty Ltd.Speaking to Reuters, Ratheb said Sea Harvest’s first exports to Russia were expected in early 2015 and would begin at about 500 tonnes a year, worth between R25-million to R40-million. South Africa’s total fish exports in 2012 were valued at R3.5-billion but this figure could increase if Russia becomes a major importer, according to Ratheb.According to the Russian Embassy website the legal platform for the Russian-South African relations in trade and economy was launched in 1993 with the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation.Other key treaties include the Agreement on Cooperation in Mining (1999), Agreement on Double Taxation Avoidance (2000) and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (2000).South Africa is a leading Russian foreign trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Russian Embassy. Bilateral trade in the January to November 2013 period increased by 22.1% to US$998-million, compared to US$817-million from January to November 2012.Russia’s exports increased by 59.1% to US$260.5-million, from US$163.7-million in January to November 2012, and imports grew by 12.9% to US$737.5-million. Mutual investments between the two countries are also massive. Russian investments in South Africa reached over US$1-billion in the last year.Major Russian exports to South Africa comprise chemical and agro-industrial products, precious and base metals, coking coal, fertilisers, machinery, equipment, vehicles, tools, textiles, footwear and mineral products. On the other hand, South African exports to Russia are dominated by fruits, mineral products, machinery, equipment, vehicles, chemical products, precious and base metals, raw hides, textiles and footwear.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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Mapua forces Game 3 in NCAA juniors Finals

first_imgKammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Quarters: 25-19, 55-46, 67-67, 91-81. CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA MOST READ “Unlike last game where we’re rushing things, this time we focused on the game possession-by-possession,” shared Alcantara.Game 3 is on Tuesday, still at the Big Dome.CSB-LSGH had to play the what could’ve been the clincher without Inand Fornilos, who served his one-game suspension after his Game 1 ejection.Joel Cagulangan paced the Junior Blazers with 16 points.The Scores:MAPUA 91 – Escamis 25, Bonifacio 18, Jabel 17, Goum 10, Garcia 8, Enriquez 6, Lacap 4, Dennison 3, Ramos 0, Sarias 0, Socias 0.CSB-LSGH 81 – Cagulangan 16, David 12, Marcos 12, Lepalam 10, Mosqueda 9, Perez 9, Sangco 5, Morales 4, Lao 4, Belgica 0, Pedrosa 0, Dela Cruz 0, Cruz 0.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes PLAY LIST 01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Lillard’s 26, Napier’s hot hands lift Blazers past Magic Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “I just told them to stay aggressive. That’s it,” said coach Randy Alcantara in Filipino, as Mapua survived a foul-plagued showing from Most Valuable Player Will Gozum.The hulking Gozum only got 10 points, six rebounds, and two blocks before fouling out early in the fourth quarter as the Red Robins saw their 13-point cut down to just one, 69-68.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHowever, Escamis had other plans for Mapua as he anchored a superb 17-8 blast that brought the lead back to10, 86-76 with 2:06 remaining.Warren Bonifacio tallied a double-double of 18 markers and 14 rebounds for the Red Robins, while Erick Jabel came off the bench to pour 17 points.center_img Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 LATEST STORIES Mapua’s Clint Escamis. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netDefending champion Mapua refused to let go of its crown and held off College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills, 91-81, in Game 2 Thursday to force a winner-take-all duel in the NCAA Season 93 juniors basketball Finals at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Clint Escamis pumped in 25 points, four rebounds, four assists, four steals, and one block, including back-to-back layups in the final two minutes to douse La Salle Greenhills’ fightback late.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View commentslast_img read more

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J.P. Dutta to cast eight heroes in his next war film ‘Tiger Hills’

first_imgClick here to EnlargeKenannakin’s 1962 war film The Longest Day had 13 heroes. Back home, Border director J.P. Dutta seems to have come close.For his next war film Tiger Hills – a post-Kargil spiel – Dutta has roped in not one, not three, but eight heroes to fortify the cast.Sunil Shetty, Ajay,Click here to EnlargeKenannakin’s 1962 war film The Longest Day had 13 heroes. Back home, Border director J.P. Dutta seems to have come close.For his next war film Tiger Hills – a post-Kargil spiel – Dutta has roped in not one, not three, but eight heroes to fortify the cast.Sunil Shetty, Ajay Devgan, Arbaaz Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna willstar. There’seven talk of a ninth – Shah Rukh Khan.Dutta has reportedly asked his heroes to sport crew cuts and is believed to have said, “Border was a trailer. This will be bigger.”Question: Will Tiger Hills boast nine heroines and 18 songs too?last_img read more

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a month agoSheffield Utd boss Wilder: I watched Liverpool from the Kop as a boy

first_imgSheffield Utd boss Wilder: I watched Liverpool from the Kop as a boyby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveSheffield United boss Chris Wilder admits he stood on the Kop at Anfield as a young boy.Wilder’s dad is from Norris Green on Merseyside and his uncle took him on the Kop a couple of times in the 1970s as a kid during trips to see his relatives.Wilder saw Liverpool greats Kevin Keegan and Emlyn Hughes in their pomp and remembers being carried down the Kop in an avalanche of people when the Reds scored.“I was on the Kop with my uncle Colin, he’ll like this plug!” said the Sheffield United boss ahead of hosting the Reds today. “He took me a couple of times.“I would have been eight or nine when we used to go for Christmas holidays and we’d have the odd trip to Anfield.“As people at the time will know and relate to you, you started halfway up the Kop, then when Liverpool scored you ended anywhere, possibly down the bottom, and my uncle would take the next 20 minutes to try and find me.“It was great to experience in my formative, young years. I am, and always will be, a Sheffield United supporter, but that part of me has always been there from my dad’s side and my uncle and my auntie.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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