Wednesday, May 24, 2017

30 Pillars of “How To Win Friends and Influence People” | The Daily Bell

30 Pillars of "How To Win Friends and Influence People" | The Daily Bell

This is a classic self improvement book. Imagine how much better all your relationships would be if you could implement all 30 of these pearls of wisdom? I better work on these, there is always room for improvement, right? :) 

30 Pillars of "How To Win Friends and Influence People" | The Daily Bell

Turns out, actually being a genuinely good person is the easiest way to have influence over others, and get them to like you–weird, I know.
In 1936 Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People after intense study of effective leadership, the psychology behind why people like each other, and how to approach tough situations without giving offense.

Far from being sneaky ways to get what you want, or sleazy selling tactics, the ways Carnegie describes how to properly interact with others would make the world a better place if universally adopted. You could recognize one of these tactics being used on you, and still feel no ill will towards the person employing it.

This is an overview of the key takeaways from How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleRead the whole book to get the most benefit from Carnegie's lessons, and bookmark this page for a quick reference.

Think of How to Win Friends and Influence People, as oil for the gears of society.

1. "Don't criticize, condemn, or complain."

It just makes people defensive and breeds resentment. Criticizing and condemning makes it harder for someone to admit they are wrong because they feel the desire to justify their actions or thoughts. Even if they change their mind, it will not be a lasting change.

2. "Give honest and sincere appreciation."

Everyone wants to feel needed and important. Those who fulfill this craving for others will be held in high esteem. But it is easy to tell shallow flattery from actual recognition of good qualities and hard work. Look for qualities worthy of commendation.

3. "Arouse in the other person an eager want."

Dale Carnegie didn't like to eat worms, but strangely enough, he fished with worms and did pretty well. How well would he have done if he fished with what he loved: strawberries and cream? Talk about the other person's desires, and show them how to get there.

4. "Become genuinely interested in other people."

You don't need to be nearly as interesting as you need to be interested. People can tell if you are faking it, so you really need to find pleasure in learning about others. Make it a sort of game to dig deep enough to find something exotic about even the banalest acquaintances.

5. "Smile."

You have control over your thoughts, so choose to be happy. Being positive goes a long way and is infectious. Having an authentic smile on your face is an easy way to increase the chances that someone is going to like you.

6. "Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

Remember names! And say their name often. It shows others they are important enough to you to be remembered. Better yet, name something after them! Maybe not your dog…

7. "Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves."

It is easy to think we need to say the right things to get someone to like us, but it is more about allowing them to have their say. We all have interests that we are passionate about and want to talk about. When we find a sincerely interested audience, it makes us feel appreciated and important.

8. "Talk in terms of the other person's interests."

If you are interested in others, they will be interested in you. Just find something about a person that you know interests them, and set out to learn about it. Ask them to explain the interest, and they will enjoy your company while telling you.

9. "Make the other person feel important–and do it sincerely."

Everybody wants to be appreciated. Don't you remember countless times when you achieved something or put a lot of energy into a project only to be met with silence? It's like no one even noticed! Dinner was great, the yard looks nice, great job on that assignment! If there is something important to someone, recognize their work and it will make them feel important.

10. "The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it."

Even when you "win" an argument, the other person generally reverts back to their old opinion as soon as you part ways. From the get-go, an argument actually makes us dig in because we feel like we have something on the line and can't admit we were wrong. When you disagree with someone, take the opportunity to sincerely reflect on why, and welcome hearing about the new perspective. You never know, maybe cats are better than dogs after all.

11. "Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, you're wrong."

If you are right more than 50% of the time, then why don't you work on Wall Street? Ask questions if you truly think you are right, and the person will usually come over through their own thought processes. Allow yourself to understand the other person, even (or especially) if they are wrong.

12. "If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically."

It is liberating to admit when you are wrong. It removes such a burden of having to always figure out how to stay right. We are going to be wrong sometimes, just a fact. Being wrong doesn't have to be embarrassing, and admitting it quickly is the easiest way to save face, and in fact get more respect and agreement from those involved.

13. "Begin in a friendly way."

Why make life hard for yourself? "The sun can make you take off your coat more quickly than the wind; and kindliness, the friendly approach, and appreciation can make people change their minds more readily than all the bluster and storming in the world."

14. "Get the other person saying, 'yes, yes' immediately."

Always start with, and continue to emphasize, what you agree on. Start small with something you know they will say yes to, and lead them gently down a path of agreement until they embrace "a conclusion they would have bitterly denied a few minutes previously."

15. "Let the other person do a great deal of the talking."

The best illustration of this principle is in dealing with children. Instead of constantly yelling, ordering, and demanding of a disobedient child, what works better is to hear them out. Sometimes all people need to be agreeable is to be heard, and if you sincerely listen to them, frustration and negativity usually evaporate.

16. "Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers."

Who cares about getting credit? If you want someone to agree with you, it is better to let them think any plans you had were their ideas. We are much more likely to support and be excited about our own concoctions.

17. "Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view."

"Stop a minute," says Kenneth M. Good in his book How to Turn People into Gold, "stop a minute to contrast your keen interest in your own affairs with your mild concern about anything else. Realize then, that everybody else in the world feels exactly the same way! … success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person's viewpoint."

18. "Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires."

The magic phrase is: I would feel the same if I were in your position. Be sympathetic! Just telling someone you understand their frustration does wonders to calm them, even if you cannot do another single thing to help.

19. "Appeal to the nobler motives."

This is why people get their way when they can convince others what they want is "for the children." J.P. Morgan said there are two reasons a person does something, "one that sounds good, and a real one." Appeal to the one that sounds good, because we are all "idealists at heart." Basically, emotion works better than logic.

20. "Dramatize your ideas."

"Merely stating a truth isn't enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic." Think of interesting and fun ways to present your ideas that catch people off guard, and draw them in.

21. "Throw down a challenge."

Or maybe you're too scared to throw down a challenge. No? Why don't you prove it then? It's a great tactic to challenge someone to persevere, but it takes a special man or woman to do it right. Think you can handle it?

22. "Begin with praise and honest appreciation."

"A barber lathers a man before he shaves him." Sometimes it is necessary to be a critic or give someone a difficult answer. The cushion for this pain–the dentist's Novocaine for an unpleasant but necessary drilling–should be honest praise and appreciation.

23. "Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly."

Change the word "but" to "and". Begin with sincere praise, but don't bring doubt to the initial sincerity by using the word but. Still, begin with honest appreciation, and relate the praise to what you are trying to change. Would I feel better about hearing, "I love your book, but it would make a better movie," or "I love your book, and the action would play out especially well on screen,"? It's the same message.

24. "Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person."

I have a treasure trove of mistakes to pull from, so I expect this tactic to come easy if I ever need to use it! Criticizing yourself puts you in the same boat as the person you need to critique, so they aren't so defensive. The best advice available is from others who have made similar blunders.

25. "Ask questions instead of giving direct orders."

If you are in a position of power, and give a direct order, you can expect it will be done. You can also expect to stoke an "us versus them" mentality between the order givers and the order takers. If you make a question or suggestion of the order however, this makes the receiver a participant, and might even stoke enough creativity to get the thing accomplished in a better way. Certainly it will quell any resentment on the part of subordinates.

26. "Let the other person save face."

If a bird gets in your house, is it more effective to corner it and trap it, or to leave a window open for it to fly out? The number one rule of diplomacy is to always give the other person an out without damaging their ego. If your kid loves to help you garden, but crushes the flowers, promote him to head leaf raker.

27. "Praise the slightest improvement, and praise every improvement."

Praise to humans is like sunlight to plants, it is the warm sunshine we need to grow. Nowhere is this more obvious than with children. They want to please their parents, and if they can't do that they will settle for whatever attention they can get. Clearly the best idea is to praise the good behaviors so that their outlet for attention will be positive. It's the same with dogs and adults, though you might have to be less obvious about it.

28. "Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to."

I know everyone reading this was naturally doing most of these things anyway, and this article will only strengthen the reserve to continue on the path of making friends and influencing people just by being empathetic, intelligent, and thoughtful in your interactions, which comes so easy to you anyway.

29. "Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct."

Telling someone they are terrible at something is a sure way to discourage them, make them internalize that feeling, and perhaps even give up. Instead, tell someone they just need practice to get better. Pick out the good from the bad to encourage perseverance, and better outcomes and any mistakes will naturally smooth out.

30. "Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest."

When you know someone isn't going to like what you have to tell them, best to frame it in a way they will like or follow immediately with a great alternative. If you have to let them down, bring attention to a positive route forward.
These are the basics, but the real fun in reading How to Win Friends and Influence People is the historical examples that Carnegie gives. It's a classic that is still just as interesting and relevant as when it came out. It provides countless solutions on how to properly get your point across without alienating others.

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Maslow's Theory of Needs - Vaughn's Summaries

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Chart

Maslow's Theory of Needs
by Vaughn Aubuchon
The chart below summarizes Maslow's "Theory of Needs".
I illustrate the needs as an inverse pyramid of need importance.
One cannot progress to the "higher needs" until
one has fulfilled the more "basic needs".

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Chart

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
The needs must be satisfied in numerical order. One cannot gradute from a lower number, to a higher number, until satisfying the lower number, more basic need.
Physiological needs - Breathing, Thirst, Hunger, Sleep, Sex
Security need - Physical Safety - freedom from attack
Social need - Interaction with People - belonging, affection, love
Psychological Safety Need - Self-esteem, reputation, status
Cognitive Needs - Need to know and Understand (added later)
Aesthetic Need - The need for Order and Symmetry (added later)
Fulfillment and Self-Actualization Need

The author is not a psychologist.

I hope that you have found this Maslow Theory of Needs information page helpful.
Thank you very much for your time.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Close Call Sports & Umpire Ejection Fantasy League: Dangerous Precedent - GHSA Overturns Judgment Call

Close Call Sports & Umpire Ejection Fantasy League: Dangerous Precedent - GHSA Overturns Judgment Call

This is a very disturbing development since now that you have precedent, you have encouraged legal do-gooders nationwide to step in and do the same thing. Similar to the economics rule that says when you subsidize something, you get more of it, in law once you establish a precedent, it gives birth to copy cat cases nationwide.

Ridiculous stuff. Thanks Georgia, and thanks MLB because in my opinion this is the unintended consequence of instant replay.

And soon, one of these days, these same do-gooders will be calling for instant replay in HS baseball games, subsidized by John and Jane Taxpayer. Because the law of unintended consequences never stops there when government bureaucrats and lawyers are involved. It takes the stupid unintended consequences and tries to "fix" it thereby giving birth to more stupid unintended consequences. And billable hours for the lawyers BTW.

So buckle your seat belts folks we're in for a really perilous, slippery slope kind of journey in the world of youth sports.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Dangerous Precedent - GHSA Overturns Judgment Call

In a decision contradicting years of legal precedent & NFHS rules, GHSA reversed an umpire's judgment call as the result of a post-game protest filed by the losing team.

Last week, we reported the curious case of Lee County vs Johns Creek High School and the Georgia playoff game that hinged on a single appeal play ruling in the bottom of the last inning of regulation.

To recapitulate, with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th, a Johns Creek batter received a fourth ball and walk to force the apparent winning run. After a protest from defensive Lee County's head coach that Johns Creek baserunner R2 failed to touch third base, the umpires ruled the runner out on appeal, pursuant to NFHS Rule 9-1-1, and cancelled the run pursuant to 9-1-1 Note 2.

Lee County went on to win the ballgame, and Johns Creek protested that it should have won instead due to an umpires' error.

Upon receiving Johns Creek's initial protest, GHSA Executive Director Gary Phillips on Thursday ruled the umpires' decision was one of judgment and, therefore, not protestable; the ruling must stand.

Board of Trustees President Glenn White.
GHSA counsel Alan Connell disagreed and granted Johns Creek not a protest, but an "appeal."

On Friday, a GHSA Appeals Board heard the appeal and, like Phillips, declined to uphold it.

On Monday, the GHSA Board of Trustees elected to overturn the umpires' call—based on the rationale that the Board of Trustees felt that the judgment call had been incorrect.

POLITICAL SIDEBAR: The GHSA has been dealing with organizational issues, even prior to the Johns Creek & Lee County baseball incident. In February, GHSA Board of Trustees President and Model High School Principal Glenn White voted to recommended that Executive Director Phillips resign; Phillips accordingly agreed to retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Meanwhile, Georgia House Bill 415 and Senate Bill 2013 proposed that the state replace the GHSA with a new statewide governing body.

Georgia State Representative John Meadows in February "said he gets more complaints about the GHSA – from schools, referees, coaches and parents – than about everything else put together, 'and basically I'm sick of it.' He added, 'I don't think they know what their job is.'"

Clearly not.

Contrary to decades of legal precedent, Trustees President White made it clear that the Trustees sustained the appeal and overturned the on-field officials' call based on a matter of judgment—not on an issue of rule interpretation:
It swayed me to believe that the wrong call was made and that it was not in the best interest of students to support that call. The bottom line is what's right and what's wrong, and I thought it was right for Johns Creek to go back to Lee County and play a third game. 
If it's the second inning of a baseball game or second quarter of a football game, you've got plenty of time to overcome a bad call,'' White said. ''This situation is a different. It's a semifinal state playoff game in baseball, and it's the end of the game. I just see that differently. That had lot to do with swaying my opinion. 
It's just not practical to review every missed call and every kid that was (called) safe but was actually out. We have set a precedent, so we need to get ready because there will probably be other people coming to see us.
This is odd, as GHSA Bylaw 2.92(e) states, "The National Federation prohibits the use of video tape to review an official's decision."

As for the legality of overturning an umpire's on-field judgment call after-the-fact, the Courts have routinely ruled, for approximately 35 years, that such practice is not legally tenable:

> 1981: Georgia High School Association vs Waddell: The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that it does not possess authority to review the decision of a high school sports official. In what was, at the time, a landmark decision to establish long-term precedent, the Supreme Court held, "We go now further and hold that courts for equality in this state are without authority to review decisions of football referees because those decisions do not present judicial controversies."

> December 2005: Brown vs. OSSAA. Referees ejected player Tucker Brown for fighting at the end of a game, resulting in an automatic two-game suspension, pursuant to state association rules. Brown's mother sued the OSSAA seeking an injunction to allow Tucker to play. In an Oklahoma Supreme Court decision, the Court opined, "It is not within our province to act as 'super referees' to alter or overturn the referee's determinations. Neither may we, because a referee does not make a call, do so for the official -- we may not 'call the game' or construe the official's failure to see every infraction as arbitrary."

> December 2005: Haverstraw Stony-Point Central School District vs NYSPHSAA. The District and high school wrestler Frank Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against the state after a referee's assessment of a two-point penalty against Rodriguez cost him his state title match. A judge refused to entertain the District's lawsuit, writing that, "To establish a precedent of reviewing and potentially reversing a referee's judgment call from the distant ivory tower of a judge's chambers would cause unending confusion in the interscholastic athletic system."

> December 2015: Oklahoma City School District vs OSSAA. The District, on behalf of Douglass High School, filed a lawsuit against OSSAA claiming that an on-field official's judgment call caused its team to lose a game, and that OSSAA failed to allow it to replay the game so as to remedy the situation. In ruling for the OSSAA, Judge Bernard Jones wrote that "what transpired during and to some degree after the disputed quarterfinal could be considered by many as a tragedy. More tragic, however, would be for this Court to assert itself in this matter...There is neither statute nor case law allowing this Court discretion to order the replaying of a high school football game."

> November 2016: Fenwick High School vs. IHSA. Fenwick filed a lawsuit after the IHSA failed to reverse an on-field ruling. The judge ruled in favor of the IHSA, writing that it is not the court's responsibility or jurisdiction to overturn an on-field referee's call, even though Fenwick suffered irreparable harm as the result of an official's failure to properly apply a rule.

Perhaps Judge Jones wrote it best, "this slippery slope of solving athletic contests in court instead of on campus will inevitably usher in a new era of robed referees and meritless litigation due to disagreement with or disdain for decisions of gaming officials—an unintended consequence which hurts both the court system and the citizens it is designed to protect."

Thus, GHSAA Board of Trustees President and robed referee White's decision runs in direct contravention to not only years of legal precedent as specified above, but the NFHS baseball rulebook itself. Although, as we wrote, the NFHS vs GHSA allowance of protests is legally ambiguous (NFHS requires a clearly delineated protest procedure, GHSA doesn't specify one in its Bylaws), let us assume for the purpose of discussion that protests are authorized.

Rule 10-4 states, "Any umpire's decision which involves judgment, such as whether a hit is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final." Rule 10-5 states, "The use of videotape or equipment by game officials for the purpose of making calls or rendering decisions is prohibited."

Rule 4-5 states, "It is optional on the part of a state association as to whether protests are permitted. When allowed, protests are permitted regarding rules one through nine only."

Thus, a protest concerning the umpires' conduct (the Johns Creek complaint alleged "inappropriate conduct" on the part of the umpires)—such as a judgment call delineated by 10-4, or any other conduct related to Umpiring Rule 10—is prohibited by Rule 4-5.

Johns Creek's original protest cited Official Baseball Rule 5.08(b), as opposed to the High School rule 9-1-1, regarding runner responsibility to touch bases on a game-winning walk (OBR requires just the batter and runner from third to touch their respective bases; NFHS requires all runners to touch up).

As for the question of the appeal's validity, while OBR requires all appeals to be live ball in nature, NFHS authorizes dead ball appeals. At the end of the game, appeals may be filed at any time until the umpires leave the playing field (umpires remained on the field throughout the process).

Conclusion: GHSA Board of Trustees President Glenn White "thought it was right" to overturn an on-field official's judgment call because he felt "that it was not in the best interest of students to support [the on-field] call," which he deemed a "wrong call."

In an odd reversal of fates, Official Baseball Rule 7.04 states, "No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire," whereas NFHS Rule 4-5 does not explicitly state this (though it certainly implies it by saying that protests shall only be permitted regarding rules one through nine only), leaving it up to the state to delineate the protest procedure. The GHSA Constitution and Bylaws, however, fail to prescribe such a process for baseball protests.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Scouting Explained: The 20-80 Scouting Scale | FanGraphs Baseball

Image result for counting Explained: The 20-80 Scouting Scale

Great stuff as always from, always advancing the ball downfield.

Scouting Explained: The 20-80 Scouting Scale

Scouting Explained: Introduction, Hitting Pt 1 Pt 2 Pt 3 Pt 4 Pt 5 Pt 6
When I started here just last month, I promised I would write a comprehensive series of articles explaining every part of the 20-80 scouting scale. This is the beginning of that series.


The invention of the scale is credited to Branch Rickey and whether he intended it or not, it mirrors various scientific scales. 50 is major league average, then each 10 point increment represents a standard deviation better or worse than average. In a normal distribution, three standard deviations in either direction should include 99.7% of your sample, so that's why the scale is 20 to 80 rather than 0 and 100. That said, the distribution of tools isn't a normal curve for every tool, but is somewhere close to that for most.

The Basics

You've probably heard people call athletic hitters a "five-tool prospect." While that is an overused and misunderstood term, they are referring to the 20-80 scouting scale. The five tools for position players are 1) Hitting 2) Power 3) Running 4) Fielding and 5)

Throwing. The general use of the "five-tool" term is when all five are at least average (which is more rare than you'd think) and I generally only use it when all five are above average. It's a shockingly small list of players over the history of baseball that have five plus tools, but if you ask around, scouts will tell you Bo Knows.

For hitters, these are the only five tools, despite many questions from readers about why we can't expand it. Throwing accuracy is folded into the throwing tool grade (which is mostly arm strength since accuracy problems are often fixable) while fielding range, hands, instincts and all the components of defense are folded into the fielding grade. Base running skill and good jumps out of the batter's box are also folded into the run grade. Many organizations and I will split power into game power (predicting big league power stats) and raw power (how far he can hit the ball in batting practice) but they are often the same and it's simply a way with numbers to better explain the components of power (and also comment on the hit tool). The hit tool includes plate discipline (the most commonly asked-for sixth tool by the internet) but I'll get more into why that is and how we can still project contact and on-base skill with one number in the article about the hit tool.

Though some teams have scouts grade each of these components, it's the five core scouting grades that are paid attention to universally. It's common practice in scouting reports for scouts to explain in the comments when, say a 55 fielding grade includes some 60 or higher components and some 50 or lower components, but often a 55 means a number of average to above skills and doesn't merit much explanation. Scouts also use present and future grades for each tool. Present grades often are 20's for high school players while, in the upper levels of the minors, the gap between present and future grades is very small. A present 20 and future 50 grade on a tool is noted as 20/50.

For pitchers, it is much more straightforward. Scouts grade each of their pitches (fastball, curveball, slider, changeup, splitter, cutter being the most common) on the 20-80 scale, then either grade the command of each pitch separately or have one overall command grade. Some teams will do grade for components of command (throwing quality strikes) with control (throwing it in the strike zone, usually closely following walk rate), pitchability (feel to sequence pitches, keep hitters off balance, etc.) and other similar things. Some clubs go so far as to have scouts grade deception, arm action (how clean/efficient/loose the arm swing is in back) and other components that the industry feels predict health. That said, the three core pitches (fastball, changeup, best breaking ball) and command are the four core grades that scouts use to make decisions and that inform the overall grade.

Objective Tool Grades

Tool Is Called Fastball Velo Batting Avg Homers RHH to 1B LHH to 1B 60 Yd Run
80 80 97 .320 40+ 4.00 3.90 6.3
75 96 .310 35-40 4.05 3.95 6.4
70 Plus Plus 95 .300 30-35 4.10 4.00 6.5
65 94 .290 27-30 4.15 4.05 6.6
60 Plus 93 .280 23-27 4.20 4.10 6.7
55 Above Avg 92 .270 19-22 4.25 4.15 6.8
50 Avg 90-91 .260 15-18 4.30 4.20 6.9-7.0
45 Below Avg 89 .250 12-15 4.35 4.25 7.1
40 88 .240 8-12 4.40 4.30 7.2
35 87 .230 5-8 4.45 4.35 7.3
30 86 .220 3-5 4.50 4.40 7.4

This is a table showing the tool grades (fastball for pitchers, hit, power and speed for hitters) that have objective scales that every scout uses to grade. These scales will vary team to team, possibly shifted one notch in either direction, or maybe separate grades for fastball velocity for righties/lefties or starter/reliever but these are essentially industry consensus scales.

An 80 tool is called 80. It's really rare, so why do we need another name for it? 75 is almost never used because scouts will yell at you to make a choice and many don't use 65, though it's much more accepted than 75. These half grades like 65 and 75 don't have separate terms because many teams use a 2-8 scale rather than 20-80 and 2-8 is the scale that was predominant when many of today's top scouts were starting out. Now 20-80 is more commonly used, but often you'll hear older scouts at the ballpark throwing out single numbers like 6 or 7 while we might call that a 65 here. It helps in my situation to have more numbers describe things when I'm trying to differentiate between literally hundreds of prospects that have 50 or 55 power grades, for example.

One more important addition to the scale that isn't shown here is solid average (52.5) and fringe-average or fringy (47.5). Since so many tools fall close to 50 but you may clearly prefer one 50 to the other, many scouts will use these terms to differentiate. Again, given the thousands of players I'll be grading, it makes sense to use this and it will show up as 45+ or 50+, since no scout has or ever will write 52.5 or 47.5 (they just put 50 then say fringy or solid average in the comments).

Fastball velocity is pretty self-explanatory and this is used as a starting point, with many other pieces of information leading to 1-2 notch moves up or down. As mentioned above, lefty/righty and starter/reliever can be taken into account (though I and many teams don't do that, instead considering those factors in the overall grade at the end) while command, movement and deception are common other components to move up/down from the starting velocity grade.

I'll go more into the batting average/on base/hit tool thing in the hit tool article but it seems like even the most statistically-inclined people agree this scale is kind of agreeable for what it's trying to do. For homers, it's a similar situation that I'll get into later; ideally you'd like isolated power for projection purposes, but this scale works for what it's trying to do.

For the two different run grade scale, we have the 60-yard dash, which is a combine-style showcase measure of straight-line speed akin to the 40 from the football combine while the home to first base times from either batter's box are functional game speed. Often scouts use the raw times (comparing them with scouts nearby to verify accuracy) then round up/down based on wind/grass conditions for the 60 or how good of a jump out of the box and effort level on times to first base.

The Overall Player Grade

Hitter Starting Pitcher Relief Pitcher WAR
80 Top 1-2 #1 Starter —- 7.0
75 Top 2-3 #1 —- 6.0
70 Top 5 #1/2 —- 5.0
65 All-Star #2/3 —- 4.0
60 Plus #3 High Closer 3.0
55 Above Avg #3/4 Mid Closer 2.5
50 Avg Regular #4 Low CL/High SU 2.0
45 Platoon/Util #5 Low Setup 1.5
40 Bench Swing/Spot SP Middle RP 1.0
35 Emergency Call-Up Emergency Call-Up Emergency Call-Up 0.0
30 *Organizational *Organizational *Organizational -1.0

* "Organizational" is the term scouts use to describe a player that has no major league value; he's just there to fill out a minor league roster and be a good influence on the prospects, though sometimes org players can outplay that projection.

** I didn't continue down to 20 on either scale since it's almost never relevant for players that I'll be writing about or any of their tools, other than speed for big fat sluggers.

There have been plenty of articles here at FanGraphs breaking down this general idea and many adjacent ideas (and there will be more). I won't profess that the scales I'm presenting here are perfect, but it's a good combination of the objective, research-based scales and the more subjective ones that scouts have traditionally used (but are slowly becoming more objective as front offices have stat guys tweak them).

The concept that an 80 is just one or two big leaguers at each position is a traditional one while technically there could be a bunch of 7-win guys at any position. The "Top 1-2" notation for hitters is just to give an idea of typically how exclusive each group should be, realizing it isn't always true.

Most scouts agree there are only ever 8-12 pitchers that could be called #1s or aces at any given time, but then there's like 20 #2s and like 75 #3s. Many fans get tripped up by this term, thinking there are 30 of each type or that every team has exactly one version of each; that's an understandable misunderstanding. Scouts see tiers of pitchers and call them #1, #2, #3 starters and this is one of those things you only fully understand when someone takes the time to explain to you what they mean.

Relievers are hard to value in this sense, as many people and scouts would say you're crazy to not call Mariano Rivera an 80 since he's the best ever. The problem is that assumes he's as valuable as Mike Trout, which significantly fewer people believe, but still some people would (with some statistical adjustments for postseason leverage giving them something to point at). The WAR framework gives us a way to figure out where most players can be described and most elite relievers max out at around 3 wins, with very few racking up multiple seasons that good. You'd take a 60 position player over a 60 starting pitcher and either over a 60 reliever (all things being equal) due to attrition and these overall grades do their best to make the comparisons simpler.

The WAR-to-overall-player-grade conversion also isn't perfect, so don't assume someone is an 80 for the rest of time after one 7-win season by one of the WAR metrics. It's a guide to convert a scouting grade convention for minor leaguers and amateur players to a scale that can be understood for purposes like valuing players in trades. The WAR grade here is meant as a true talent level, so crazy BABIP and UZR swings or playing time varying year-to-year doesn't confuse us. I also may project a player's upside or future tool grades to be a 3-win player, but the overall grade is subjective and includes various types of risk in the determination.

Many teams call their overall grade an OFP, short for Overall Future Potential. One of the clubs I worked for called their overall grade FV, short for Future Value, as that more accurately describes what this number is trying to do. The scout isn't just averaging the core future tool grades; he's trying to use one number to describe how valuable this player is on the overall player market, taking into account risk, distance to ceiling and other factors.

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Why Sports Science Shows Pitching Lessons are a Dead End

Notes from Frans Bosch – Transfer of Strength Training: Implications from the CNS

Posted on March 21, 2013 by Simon Nainby
This was an important lecture for me as it introduced several concepts that prompted me to study many important aspects of skill acquisition as I mentioned in my introduction to What is good coaching?
Frans Bosch is professor of biomechanics and motor learning at Fontys University for Applied Science in the Netherlands and sprint consultant to the Welsh Rugby Union – you can read more about him here. My notes, in bullet point format, from the lecture are below:
  • The laws of motor learning should be central in designing a strength program rather than Newtonian laws
  • In order to maximise the learning result Strength exercises need:
    • Precise intention
    • Variable execution
  • Basic motor properties such as strength, endurance, flexibility, co-ordination etc don't exist
  • This is because there is no clear dividing line between properties – there should be a guaranteed transfer of that property between movement patterns but this is not the case
  • A well trained high jumper can get Maximum Voluntary Contraction to 95% executing a high jump (compared to an untrained person's level of 75%) but they couldn't do the same in a Javelin throw as it is a different movement pattern
  • If muscle is not pre-tensed in an isometric contraction prior to movement then it has slack
  • Up to 50% of a countermovement jump, for example, can be taken up with the muscle going from slack to taut
  • Resistance exercises like a barbell hang clean provide pre-tension for the muscles through the weight of the barbell providing a counterbalance
  • This results in the body becoming lazy as regards pre-tension – Frans has eliminated countermovements from lifts for his athletes for this reason
  • As a result strength cannot be considered a stand-alone bio-motor property and classic mechanics do not address motor control and is too reductionist an approach
A more in depth explanation of the concept of muscle slack is provided in this article
Frans' Rules of Specificity as the main requirement for transfer
  1. Types of muscle action must be similar to those used in competition (Inter/Intra muscular)
  2. Structure of the movement must resemble that used in competition (motion of limbs)
  3. Sensory information must resemble that present in competition
  4. Dominant energy systems used in competition must be called on
  5. Result of the movement must be the same as competition
  • 1& 2 are the usual suspects – 3 is a key factor often overlooked. Frans did not mention in his lecture but this is due to perception-action coupling which I mentioned in my blog What is good coaching? Two papers of interest on this are here and here.
  • Focussing on a movement outcome produces a better learning effect than focussing on performance of a skill
  • Frans detailed a study that split discus throwers in to 2 groups that received feedback from:
    • An elite coach – giving them Knowledge of Performance (KP – how well or poorly they executed the throw)
    • A measuring tape i.e. they were only told how far each throw went – giving Knowledge of Results (KR)
  • Those in the Knowledge of Results group attained results as good as those receiving feedback from a coach in the short term and performed better in the long term
  • KP results in an internal focus for athletes where they are thinking about where to position their limbs, sequence of movement which can result in overload (otherwise called reinvestment) and poor performance
  • KR leads to an external focus whereby the athlete is only thinking of achieving the goal
  • Therefore a Clean type movement is better than a High Pull as it has a clear outcome goal where the bar is racked on the shoulders
Frans Lecture Slide
I emailed Frans to ask about the study he mentioned and it was by Ballreich but pre-digital era and he only had a hard copy. The Wulf and Prinz Review mentioned on the slide is here.
Dynamic Systems Theory
  • There are many differences in running between an elite track sprinter and an elite rugby player such as more trunk lean and lower heel recovery height for the rugby player but how relevant are they?Attractor wells
  • Degrees of freedom – the number of parameters that may independently vary – click here for more info on this and here for a study on free(z)ing DoF
  • In the arm there are 1,000's of degrees of freedom through the various joints & muscles
  • Too many degrees of freedom can make control impossible therefore the body seeks to stabilise certain elements that then serve as attractor wells for the unstable elements (see pic on right)
  • We start with relatively unstable technique but as certain key elements stabilise they increase the depth of the well they sit in which attracts the unstable elements more easily
  • Skilled practitioners show a high variance in movement patterns that are repetitive
  • E.g a Blacksmith hitting an iron will have a different start position each time but hit the same end position each time – based on work of Bernstein (who interestingly coined the term "Biomechanics")
  • Therefore we should look to address 2 or 3 key attractors for a skill that are always the same rather than try to address every facet
  • E.g a Clean that finishes with a single leg up on to a step has the same attractors as running and the fluctuations (differences such as knee lift heights) are irrelevant
Clean Step Up
Decentralised Self Organisation
  • The body tends to be variable but the implement it is using or outcome it achieves is very precise
  • There is no hierachy of top down, brain to muscle signalling
  • The whole system is involved throughout a movement correcting errors as it develops (decentralised self organisation)
  • As the signal is filtered down through the system noise is fine tuned to remove errors
  • A squat in the gym has no pertubations whereas sport has many due to the chaotic nature
  • As a result instability in training (weights and surfaces) is very important due to the theory of differential learning
  • Aiming for perfect technique in a stable environment (e.g. back squat in a gym for a rugby player) does not improve competition performance whereas strength training that has variable performance in an unstable environment does
  • Learning a skill is not learning a perfect technique but learning how to correct errors
  • Therefore instability and variation in strength exercises are crucial for the learning effect
This lecture rattled a few cages from what I heard other delegates saying afterwards. As Ian King often says, there was an immediate over-reaction followed by a long term under-reaction on this as many came away thinking Frans was saying all strength training must be done on one leg on a upturned BOSU and therefore they would ignore what he presented.
I had my own opinion on the main point of the lecture and fortunately managed to corner Frans afterwards to clarify this. It is important to note the difference between General Preparation Means and Specific Preparation Means. This article does a good job of explaining these classifications. Once this is understood you can see that transfer is only really a consideration for Specific Preparation exercises.
Frans was not saying that all strength training must be done on unstable surfaces and every exercise must be on one leg etc. He was saying that within a program you must take in to account the fact that sport is chaotic and in order to properly prepare for this these are important considerations. He is a consultant to the Welsh Rugby Union and it is clear that their players are not waving 2.5kg dumbbells around sitting on Swiss balls all the time. They do traditional strength training as part of their General Preparation but also incorporate these methods around Specific Preparation such as speed and sport training with great success.
I think certain delegates (not all I hasten to add) missed the key messages surrounding motor learning and skill acquisition. As with most things in life, there is a blend of many factors necessary for success yet people are keen to polarise debate where this does not in fact reflect reality.
I personally found this lecture fascinating and it directed me to many interesting topics within skill acquisition which I feel are now benefitting me greatly.

Giants Top Minor League Prospects

  • 1. Tyler Beede 6-4, 215 RHP from Vanderbilt projects as top of the rotation starter when he works out his command/control issues. When he misses, he misses by a bunch.
  • 2. Christian Arroyo 6-1, 180 SS very efficient with the bat, good hitting approach, test will be how he handles advanced pitching
  • 3. Bryan Reynolds 6-2, 210 OF Switch hitter with average speed and polished hitting approach. Fits Giants mold of high-floor, low-ceiling prospects. .
  • 4. Chris Shaw 6-3. 230 1B Lefty power bat, limited defensively to 1B, Matt Adams comp?
  • 5. Andrew Suarez 6-2, 185 LHP Miami grad, not over powering, but gets guys out.
  • 6. Joan Gregorio 6-7, 180 RHP Misses bats, buts also missed the strike zone too much. Twenty five years old and in AAA, may be time to put up or move along.
  • 7. Stephen Duggar 6-1, 170 CF Another toolsy, under-achieving OF in the Gary Brown mold, hoping for better results.
  • 8. Sandro Fabian 6-0, 180 OF Dominican signee from 2014, shows some pop in his bat. Below average arm and lack of speed should push him towards LF.
  • 9. Aramis Garcia 6-2, 220 C from Florida INTL projects as a good bat behind the dish with enough defensive skill to play there long-term
  • 10. Heath Quinn 6-2, 190 OF Strong hitter, makes contact with improving approach at the plate. Returns from hamate bone injury.
  • 11.. Sam Coonrod 6-3, 215 RHP Hard-thrower got off to a good start in rookie ball, impressed with high K/BB ratio. Needs to keep ball in the yard.
  • 12. Austin Slater 6-2, 215 2B well-schooled from Stanford Univ. via The Bolles School in Jacksonville FL good size, speed combo with hit tool playing well through AA. Line drive, gap hitter with 15HR power potential

2017 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players

  • 1. Hunter Greene 6-3, 205 RHP Notre Dame HS (CA)
  • 2. Royce Lewis 6-0, 185 SS J Serra HS (CA)
  • 3. MacKenzie Gore 6-1, 170 LHP Whiteville HS (NC)
  • 4. D.L. Hall 6-2, 180 LHP Valdosta HS (GA)
  • 5. Jordan Adell 6-3, 205 OF Ballard HS (KY)
  • 6. Austin Beck 6-1, 190 OF North Davidson HS (NC)
  • 7. Hans Crouse 6-4, 185 RHP Dana Hills HS (CA)
  • 8. Nick Pratto 6-2, 195 LHP Huntington Beach HS (CA)
  • 9. Shane Baz 6-3, 185 RHP Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)
  • 10. Brady McConnell 6-3, 175 SS Merritt Island HS (FL)
  • Others: Bubba Thompson 6-2, 175 OF McGill-Toolen HS (AL) Heliot Ramos 6-2, 185 OF Leadership Christian Academy HS (PR) Blayne Enlow 6-3, 180 RHP St. Amant HS (LA) Matthew Sauer 6-4, 200 RHP Ernest Righetti HS (CA) Sam Carlson 6-4, 200 RHP Burnsville HS (MN)

2017 Top MLB College Draft Prospects

  • 1. Kyle Wright 6-4, 200 RHP Vanderbilt
  • 2. Brendan McKay 6-2, 200 LHP Louisville
  • 3. J.B. Bukauskas 6-0, 190 RHP North Carolina
  • 4. Alex Faedo 6-4, 220 RHP Florida
  • 5. Jeren Kendall 5-11, 190 OF Vanderbilt
  • 6. Pavin Smith 6-2, 210 1B Virginia
  • 7. Adam Haseley 6-1, 195 OF Virginia
  • 8. Alex Lange 6-3, 200 RHP LSU
  • 9. David Peterson 6-6, 240 LHP Oregon
  • 10. Seth Romero 6-3, 240 LHP Houston
  • Others: Brian Miller 6-0, 185 OF North Carolina Jake Burger 6-2, 210 3B Missouri State Keston Hiura 6-0, 185 OF UC Irvine Clarke Schmidt 6-1, 205 RHP South Carolina Griffin Canning 6-1,175 RHP UCLA Tristan Beck 6-4, 165 RHP Stanford Tanner Houck 6-5, 200 RHP Missouri Wil Crowe 6-2, 250 RHP South Carolina Nate Pearson 6-6, 245 RHP Central Florida CC Logan Warmouth 6-0, 190 SS North Carolina Brendon Little 6-2, 215 LHP State JC of Florida

2017 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects in Jacksonville Area

  • 1. Austin Martin SS 6-1-170 Trinity Christian Academy commit to Vanderbilt
  • 2. A.J. Labas RHP 6-3, 220 Trinity Christian Academy commit to University of North Florida

2017 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects in Tampa Bay Area

  • 1. C.J. Van Eyk 6-2, 200 RHP Steinbrenner HS commit to FSU
  • 2. Tim Elko 6-3, 225 1B Hillsborough HS Tone of raw power from the bat, limited defensively
  • 3. Jordan Butler 6-1, 180 LHP Alonso HS (Tampa) Heavy FB and above avg. slider. Florida commit
  • 4. Conor Grady 6-2, 185 RHP Tampa Catholic HS (Tampa) Sinking 88-90 FB, workable CB and change