A few names come to mind when pondering the surefire Hall of Famers playing baseball today. Adrian Beltre, who recently broke the 3,000-hit barrier, is one, as is Mike Trout, despite his youth. But there’s another all-time great who is toiling away on one of the worst teams in MLB: San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. The Giants’ record might make Posey easy to overlook, but his combination of hitting and defense makes him almost a lock to one day join the Hall. In fact, despite being only 30 years old, Posey might already have a Hall of Fame résumé if he retired today.It’s difficult to forecast whether any given catcher will find his way to Cooperstown. Only 18 backstops have made the Hall, and some did so in part because of accomplishments after their playing careers (as managers or executives).1For example, Rick Ferrell is listed by Baseball-Reference.com as having been inducted as a player, but he produced only 29.8 wins above replacement in his career (34th on the all-time list of catchers). However, Ferrell won two championships as an executive before his induction, which probably helped his Hall-of-Fame case. Perhaps because of the strain of constant crouching and the beatings they receive behind the plate, catchers are notoriously quick to decline, and historically great performers can become merely ordinary in the space of a few years.But Posey is special. In a nine-year career, he’s already amassed 37.5 wins above replacement (WAR),2According to Baseball Reference.com. which puts him 25th on the all-time list among backstops. If we look at how productive all catchers have been through age 303That is, up to and including a player’s age-30 season as defined by Baseball-Reference. — Posey’s current age — he looks even better, ranking 11th all-time in WAR.According to Jay Jaffe’s JAWS, a rough guide to measuring a player’s Hall-of-Fame qualifications,4JAWS (the “Jaffe WAR Score system”) determines Hall-worthiness by comparing an average of a player’s career WAR and his WAR in his seven best seasons with the typical mark for a Hall member at his position. Posey would have a decent chance to make the Hall even if he never played another game. I looked at the top 500 catchers’ JAWS scores and used them to calculate the probability that they would one day be inducted into the Hall.5I used a logistic regression model, with JAWS score as a predictor and Hall of Fame induction as the outcome. I excluded catchers who made the Hall as managers but not as players. Posey’s JAWS score is 36.8 — already only a little below the catcher average of 43.9. (Coincidentally, Posey’s current JAWS score is identical to the end-of-career score of stalwart backstop Ernie Lombardi, who made the Hall of Fame.) Based on this analysis, Posey would have about a 29 percent chance of getting to Cooperstown if he retired today — and as we’ll see below, those numbers probably understate Posey’s contributions.Why is Posey’s résumé so strong? It starts with his impressive numbers at the plate. Since 2009, Posey’s first season in MLB, he has the 17th-highest Weighted Runs Created Plus in baseball, and he’s the only full-time catcher in the top 50. Posey has power, to which his 128 home runs (in one of MLB’s least hitter-friendly ballparks) can attest. He also has patience, with a career walk rate of 9.6 percent, well above the MLB average of 8.1 percent.But Posey is much more than just a catcher who hits well. In addition to his power and discipline, Posey has been one of the best defensive catchers in baseball during his career — thanks to his particular knack for pitch framing.Catcher framing is the art of receiving a pitch so that an umpire is more likely to call it a strike. Before the debut of pitch-tracking technology such as PITCHf/x and Statcast, the idea of framing as a skill was unproven, but now it can be measured. And as Hall-of-Fame voters increasingly understand and recognize the importance of framing, catchers like Posey will probably benefit.Baseball Prospectus rates Posey as the seventh-best framer since 1988,6That’s the first year for which those statistics can be calculated. so he’s among the cream of the crop. And because framing isn’t factored into most versions of wins above replacement, Posey is somewhat underrated even by newfangled Hall-of-Fame yardsticks like JAWS.Baseball Prospectus’s version of WAR incorporates the number of runs a catcher saves via framing (which the version from FanGraphs does not, and the version from Baseball-Reference accounts for in a much smaller way).7The Baseball-Reference metric for catcher defense has a much smaller range of framing values than Baseball Prospectus’s does. For instance, it assigns Posey only 54 runs of value from his defense over the course of his career, while BP puts the value from Posey’s framing alone at nearly double that (104 runs). Unsurprisingly, Posey’s value under that measure is higher, shooting up to 49.8 WAR. If we recalculate his JAWS score using Prospectus’s version of WAR, then, Posey is already good enough to have an 85 percent chance of making the Hall, according to my calculations. Now, Posey’s framing value this year has been minimal, so it’s possible that he’s losing his touch (he wouldn’t be the only older catcher to forget how to frame a pitch). But even if you assume that he will be a league-average framer going forward, Posey’s JAWS could end up high enough to practically guarantee a Hall of Fame induction.8This is based on a series of career simulations described later in the article.In some ways, comparing Posey with the historic greats of yesteryear in this manner isn’t fair. We don’t know what kind of framer Johnny Bench was, for example, and it’s possible that his already-tremendous WAR total would just get more inflated if we did. But we do know that it’s rare for a catcher to have both offensive ability and framing skills. (The few catchers better than Posey defensively tend to be specialists like Jose Molina and Brad Ausmus.) Conversely, there are a lot of catchers who are not great framers but nonetheless have long careers because they excel at the plate. So it’s likely that at least some of the catchers ahead of Posey on the all-time list would see their total value decline if we could measure their framing ability.Add it all up, and Posey has likely already had a Hall-of-Fame career. And his playing days probably won’t end anytime soon — the average catcher who had 20 or more WAR through age 30 ended up playing another six and a half seasons. So Posey has plenty of years to improve upon his already impressive career. To get a sense of how Posey might end up finishing his run, I asked the folks at Out of the Park Baseball — a baseball simulation engine — to game out the rest of his career. Out of the Park came back with four simulations of Posey’s future. And according to each, the hypothetical Busters fared very well. In each simulation, Posey earned an end-of-career JAWS score of greater than 51, which would give him at least a 90 percent chance of making the Hall, according to my calculations. With an average of about 2,000 hits, 400 doubles and 250 home runs, Posey’s milestones weren’t overly impressive, so he didn’t make the Hall on the first ballot in the simulations — it usually took three to four years for him to get in — but he was eventually inducted in each universe that was played out. That sounds pretty similar to what will happen in our universe, too.Posey is one of the few catchers in history who can do it all. He can hit and frame, and he even provides extra value by blocking errant pitches and throwing out runners. When you combine his offensive and defensive skills, Posey might just be the most underappreciated Hall of Famer playing today.CORRECTION (Aug. 24, 10:02 a.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Baseball-Reference.com’s version of wins above replacement does not incorporate the number of runs saved via catcher framing. It does, although Baseball-Reference’s method assigns less value to framing than Baseball Prospectus’s version of WAR does.
Enlarge ImageNASA’s InSight mission set this seismometer on the ground in December. NASA/JPL-Caltech NASA’s InSight mission has a way of making you feel like you’re standing on Mars. Some vivid new images show the latest steps in deploying the lander’s seismometer as the space agency gets ready to listen for marsquakes.InSight gently placed the seismometer on the Mars surface in December using a robotic arm, but it was sitting at a slight angle. On Sunday, NASA shared a before-and-after look at the seismometer leveling itself out. You can see the cable that connects the instrument to the lander. Sci-Tech 0 Share your voice With my seismometer safely at rest on #Mars, I was able to release my hold on it. There’s still some more instrument prep to do, but it’s looking good. pic.twitter.com/FlEsAKjzTT— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) January 4, 2019 I’ve released the slack in my cable so it won’t flutter as much in the wind and pull on the seismometer. Keeping it still will help as I listen for #marsquakes. pic.twitter.com/8NJ9S4gD9i— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) January 7, 2019 To get ready to record #marsquakes, my seismometer has been leveling itself out and adjusting its internal sensors. It’s always good to be centered and balanced. pic.twitter.com/2A6mpeLNKj— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) January 6, 2019 Tags 22 Photos The instrument moves slightly between the two frames of the GIF. The InSight team reports the seismometer is adjusting its internal sensors. It’ll also receive a wind and thermal shield to protect it while it listens for activity from the interior of Mars.On Friday, NASA showed how the lander’s arm and claw was able to let go of the seismometer before it leveled itself. These little Mars movies are giving space fans a fabulous view of InSight’s delicate and ambitious work. We can soon look forward to learning more about the red planet’s stomach rumblings. NASA InSight lander rocks its journey to Mars: A view in pictures Post a comment InSight landed on Mars in late November to investigate the planet’s vital signs and learn more about how rocky planets are formed. “The seismometer is the highest-priority instrument on InSight: We need it in order to complete about three-quarters of our science objectives,” said Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator.NASA made an additional adjustment to its seismometer deployment. The InSight team tweeted on Monday that the mission has “released the slack in my cable so it won’t flutter as much in the wind and pull on the seismometer.” NASA Space
• Tags Mobile World Congress 2019 Jul 9 • Killer cameras and battery life might meet their match in the Note 10 The White House wants to get the order out ahead of Mobile World Congress to highlight the importance of cybersecurity in contracts for tech infrastructure, Politico noted.This comes after a report that the US State Department is discouraging European countries from using equipment made by Huawei in their 5G rollouts — the latest step in the saga surrounding that company.Neither the White House, Huawei nor ZTE immediately responded to requests for comment.In August, Trump signed a bill prohibiting the US government and its contractors from buying certain equipment from ZTE, Huawei and other Chinese companies, prompting some universities to review and replace gear.CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition.CNET en Español: Get all your tech news and reviews in Spanish. 6 FBI director slams Huawei and ZTE phones Jun 1 • The Nubia Alpha looks like either a house arrest bracelet or Batman’s phone Share your voice Comments Now playing: Watch this: Jun 29 • Galaxy S10 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro LG V50 ThinQ 5G: Why you shouldn’t rush to buy a 5G phone See All President Donald Trump may sign an executive order that hits Chinese telecoms next week. Chris Kleponis / Getty Images President Donald Trump is likely to ban Chinese telecom equipment from US wireless networks by signing an executive order as soon as next week, according to Politico.The administration wants to issue the order before Mobile World Congress, Politico reported Thursday, citing three anonymous sources. MWC 2019, the world’s largest mobile industry show, runs from Feb. 25 to 28 in Barcelona.The order, which was previously expected in January, would have a major impact on Huawei and ZTE even if it doesn’t name them specifically. The two Chinese mobile giants have been accused by the US government of posing national security risks. May 13 • Galaxy S10E vs. iPhone XR: Every spec compared Security Mobile Politics 1:11 ZTE Huawei reading • Trump reportedly will ban Chinese telecom equipment next week Mobile World Congress 2019
Tags 7 Comments Activision I’m currently playing a video game called Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It’s an action game in which you’re a shinobi trying to rescue your young kidnapped lord from formidable foes. You may have heard that it’s a hard game. I’m probably less than a quarter of the way through, but I’ve already lost track of how many times I’ve died — without exaggeration, the number is probably in the 40 to 50 range. Both in spite of and because of that difficulty, I’m having a great time. It’s an awesome game. Admittedly, I’m a fan of developer From Software. I’ve written in the past about the positive impact that Dark Souls, one of its previous games, had on my life. Overcoming the challenges of that game led me to some important life lessons. Sekiro might be the most difficult game this company has made and it has a reputation for making hard games. This has led to an intense online debate about whether or not Sekiro should have an “easy mode.” In a lot of video games, you can choose if you want to play on easy, medium or hard. Sekiro doesn’t offer that choice. One compelling article on Kotaku argued for the need for accessibility options in Sekiro so gamers with disabilities can play too. I firmly believe Sekiro is a better game without an easy mode, and I don’t say that because I want to belong to an exclusive club of people who can play it. To me, the ideas of difficulty and accessibility should not be conflated. While some gamers with disabilities have already come forth in defense of the game, Sekiro and all video games should have readily available accessibility options so that anyone who wants to can play them. Having accessibility options — perhaps similar to those outlined on Twitter by the creator of Celeste, another difficult game — is not the same as offering an easy mode. Accessibility options should include specific tweaks to gameplay in a specialized menu you can access if you need them — such as tweaking the game’s speed — but should stay out of sight if you don’t need them. An easy mode typically means a choice presented to all players right at the start of the experience that changes many aspects of the balance of the game. A lot of the value of the experience of Sekiro comes from overcoming the challenges and improving at the game. Playing Sekiro can be an incredible experience for anyone with the patience and perseverance to see it through, and in a lot of ways, Sekiro is a better game for gamers that kinda suck.Opening the gatesA big misconception about Sekiro and Dark Souls is they are only for “elite” gamers. That’s not the case at all, and those who argue against an easy mode because they want to use these titles for a kind of artificial gatekeeping, that keeps gaming exclusively for “real gamers,” are missing the whole point.They’re meant to be teaching exercises. They’re meant to provide a feeling of hard-won accomplishment not found in other games. Sekiro is designed for those willing to put in the effort. Period. That’s what makes it beautiful. The difficulty in Sekiro makes you pay attention and take in every detail of the environment. The difficulty is what makes the back-and-forth samurai swordplay so enthralling. You have to know when to attack and when to defend and each decision you make in each split second could lead to victory or defeat.All games should be playable by all gamers, but Sekiro is not walled off for only the elite. It takes humility. You will certainly die, and if you get mad at the game and stop, you won’t get better. If you let your deaths teach you how to improve, you’ll eventually be able to conquer everything the game throws at you. It’s a cool feeling when that happens, and a unique one in gaming, and there should be room in the gaming world for all manner of unique experiences.Combat in Sekiro is demanding and awesome. Activision Stumbling to victoryAs painful as it is for me to admit this, I’m not a particularly skilled gamer. I enjoy video games, but I tend to struggle my way through them, especially ones that are supposed to be hard. Another recent action game called God of War offers four different difficulty modes. In order from easiest to hardest, they were called “give me a story,” “give me a balanced experience,” “give me a challenge” and “give me God of War.” The game was lauded for letting people choose their own experience without being made to feel guilty if they wanted something easier. That was part of the artistic vision of the designers and there’s nothing wrong with that. God of War is an awesome game. I ended up playing the balanced experience option after trying and failing at the next level up. Even the normal difficulty proved challenging enough to kill me several times, but I never felt stuck. That wasn’t the point of God of War. That difficulty was perfect for me and perfectly described. Sekiro doesn’t have that. It has a narrower focus. God of War is about many things. At the forefront is a story about a father trying to reconnect with his son over the course of a harrowing journey. Sekiro has a story too, but it’s primarily about overcoming the steep challenges presented through patience and perseverance. In a lot of games, you make your character more powerful as you play. You do that in Sekiro too, but you also get significantly better at the game and as a gamer. The game teaches you how to win as long as you’re willing to learn. You’re naturally going to improve at almost any game as you play it, but I’ve never experienced anything similar to the curve of a From Software game.After beating Dark Souls for the first time, I started a new game with a fresh character to try my hand at some of the early bosses again. These bosses had all killed me numerous times on my first playthrough — approaching 10 to 20 times each. On that second playthrough, I killed the first three bosses without getting hit. Again, I’d started fresh, so it wasn’t my character that was more powerful. It was me — I was much more powerful. That’s an amazing feeling. Like Dark Souls before it, Sekiro is incredible in that regard. It’s collaborative art at its most interactive, because it requires your dedication to see it through to the end. Your journey mirrors the protagonist’s more than in any other game I’ve played. As your character faces tough challenges and grows and learns, so do you. Compromising on that vision with an easy mode would lessen that quality. It would take away from its singular artistic focus.Why do we fall? Defeating your enemies in Sekiro after a hard-fought battle feels amazing. Activision I’m still early in Sekiro. Just last night, a midlevel boss killed me five times, but I eventually beat him. Most enemies in the game are stronger than your character, but that’s OK, because every time you get knocked down, you can get back up and try again. To beat him, I couldn’t worry about the fact that I’m inevitably going to face much more challenging bosses. My job at that moment was to overcome that one task, and trust that this challenge would teach me to face the next one. Like the other From Software games I’ve played, Sekiro teaches a few life lessons about learning through failure and facing the task in front of you. Working through it is a remarkable experience that any gamer with patience and a willingness to learn can have. An easy mode would take away some of the qualities that make this game so wonderful. Not wanting to be frustrated with a video game is understandable, but not every video game needs to appeal to every taste. I sometimes like playing video games to relax as well. That’s not Sekiro, and it’s better for it. It’s unique and demanding and it’s meant for everyone who can appreciate those qualities in a game. Nintendo Labo VR, reviewed: a box of magic tricks 28 Photos The 28 best games on PlayStation 4 Video Games Now playing: Watch this: 3:03 Share your voice Originally published on April 14.
Here are a few stories from the International Business Times India to start your day with.1. Tata Sons removes Cyrus Mistry, appoints Ratan Tata as interim chief; speculations rife over his removalIn a development that has taken many in India Inc. by surprise, Tata Sons said on Monday that chairman Cyrus Mistry has been replaced by doyen Ratan Tata as the interim head of the holding company. The sudden decision to remove 48-year-old Mistry was attributed to his approach to non-profitable businesses of the Tata Group, which grossed combined revenues of $103.51 billion in 2015-16. Read more…2. Samajwadi Party rift: ‘Why will I form a new party?,’ Akhilesh Yadav breaks down at SP meet Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav broke down on Monday morning at a Samajwadi Paty (SP) meeting in Lucknow, saying that he had no intentions of forming a new party despite his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav’s claims. Read more…3. US Presidential elections 2016: Clinton’s close aide directed $675,000 for wife of FBI deputy director who probed email scandalAs the US elections come close, skeletons are coming out of the closets of both the candidates. While Republican candidate Donald Trump is being haunted by accusations of sexual assault on multiple women, Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton’s email scandal seems to be catching-up with her as well. Read more…4. BCCI holds off on IPL tender processThe IPL tender process has been put off by the BCCI owing to the orders imposed by the Lodha Committee and the Supreme Court. The tendering was scheduled for Tuesday, but with all the new rules that have now been imposed, the Indian cricket board, already on the backfoot, have been left with little choice but to hand over the tender process duties to the Lodha panel. Read more…5. Bengaluru water tanker driver G Balakrishna wins Mr Asia titleIndia’s G Balakrishna has won the coveted Mr Asia 2016 title at the 5th Phil-Asia International Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships that took place earlier this month in the Philippines. The 25-year-old, who hails from Bengaluru, dedicated his win to Indian Army soldiers. Read more…