Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Distorted Incentives for Prosecutors and the Justice Department Ferguson Report


Image result for justice department investigation into ferguson

Here I think outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder saved his best work for last and he should be applauded for that. The Ferguson Police Department investigation threw water on the fire rather than gasoline and is very well done.  

One wonders how many other communities, whether they be predominantly white or black, are chafing under the yoke of a police department that operates as a "revenue generator" rather than protector of the community.  The same dynamic plays itself out in the obscene levels of incarceration seen in some areas of this country that have turned entire neighborhoods into American Gulags.
Posted: 09 Mar 2015 03:18 PM PDT
You get (more of) what you (don't) pay for.
When a local prosecutor sends a convicted felon to prison, the cost of keeping him locked up--an average of $31,286 per year--is paid for entirely by the state, not the county where the prosecutor holds office. The problem with this setup, some argue, is that prosecutors end up enjoying a "correctional free lunch," meaning they can be extremely aggressive in their charging decisions without having to worry about how much it will cost the local taxpayers who elected them. If prosecutors were forced to take the cost of incarceration into account, the theory goes, there might not be 1.36 million people in America's state prisons.

This is the first paragraph of an excellent piece in Slate on the distorted incentives that prosecutors face. The piece, by Leon Neyfakh, is titled "How to Stop Overzealous Prosecutors."

Of course, if the locals pay all the costs of an incarceration, you might get "under zealous" prosecutors. Why? Because the benefits of prosecution don't all flow to the locals. Some of the benefits arguably go to people in other parts of the state and, maybe, other parts of the country.

I don't worry about this incentive in the other direction, though, when I look at police behavior and D.A. behavior. I think the downside from too few prosecutions is much less than the downside from too many. It seems unlikely that prosecutors would substitute by prosecuting more marijuana crimes and fewer murders.

As almost anyone who looks at the criminal justice system in America (and I use the word "justice" loosely) can see, it's what my military officer students call a Charley Foxtrot. The Justice Department report on Ferguson's system as a revenue generator rather than a justice seeker was highly informative. (See pp. 9-15 of the report.)

I do have one problem, though, with the proposal from W. David Ball that the Slate author mentions. Neyfakh writes: "Ball argues that states should take the money they're currently spending on their prison systems, distribute it among counties based on their violent crime rate, and allow local decision-makers to spend it as they see fit." Professor Bell is proposing that the more violent crime a county has, the more money it would get. Do you see a problem?

(9 COMMENTS)


III. FERGUSON LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS ARE FOCUSED ON GENERATING REVENUE 

IV. FERGUSON LAW ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES VIOLATE THE LAW AND UNDERMINE COMMUNITY TRUST, ESPECIALLY AMONG AFRICAN AMERICANS 

V. CHANGES NECESSARY TO REMEDY FERGUSON'S UNLAWFUL LAW ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES AND REPAIR COMMUNITY TRUST 

A. Ferguson Police Practices 
1. Implement a Robust System of True Community Policing
2. Focus Stop, Search, Ticketing and Arrest Practices on Community Protection 
3. Increase Tracking, Review, and Analysis of FPD Stop, Search, Ticketing and Arrest Practices
4. Change Force Use, Reporting, Review, and Response to Encourage De-Escalation and the Use of the Minimal Force Necessary in a Situation 
5. Implement Policies and Training to Improve Interactions with Vulnerable People
6. Change Response to Students to Avoid Criminalizing Youth While Maintaining a Learning Environment 
7. Implement Measures to Reduce Bias and Its Impact on Police Behavior
8. Improve and Increase Training Generally 
9. Increase Civilian Involvement in Police Decision Making
10. Improve Officer Supervision 



How will Joe Panik do for the Giants in 2015? - McCovey Chronicles


http://m.mlb.com/video/?content_id=36820485&topic_id=6479266
Panik's two-run homer


My guess is Mr. panik will do pretty well for the Giants this year. A HR yesterday, on a pitch it looked like he just slapped at and did not get all of, gives a glimpse of the power that I believe will come from his bat later in his career. Joe is now at 3 HR's this spring, tied for the team lead with Brandon Belt.

I love this observation from McCovey Chronicles about Panik because I think it cuts to the heart of what hitting is all about:

A lack of power usually means a player who can't turn a superior eye into gaudy walk totals. Major league pitchers generally have the ability to challenge hitters, partially negating the talents of even the most disciplined hitters if there isn't the threat of a double behind it.
Note: this is what I think some in the SABR crowd have difficulty quantifying and projecting in hitters, JMO .

BTW: I like the recent surge by Daniel Carbonell lately ( .316 BA ) like Matt Duffy, he is going to make the decision to send him out a lot tougher on Bruce Bochy and the staff.

from McCovey Chronicles:
How will Joe Panik do for the Giants in 2015? - McCovey Chronicles:
The projection systems, as well as analysts/scouts like Keith Law, aren't quite as impressed with Panik. 
 Steamer: .255/.305/.337
 ZiPS: .264/.316/.344
 PECOTA: .257/.307/.333 
These systems don't hate you, your favorite sports team, or America. Probably not. They're emotionless, barely sentient spreadsheets. They suck up the minor league numbers, compare them against players who had similar numbers in the past, and spit out major league projections based on what those other players did. History tells us that Panik probably isn't going to hit for enough average or power to be anything close to an above-average hitter. Not yet. All of those systems suggest that he'll have enough defense and baserunning grit to make up for it, but don't expect a repeat of last year's .305 batting average. 
Those disappointing projections are based on a couple of things: Panik had a .343 batting average on balls in play, which is higher than the typical player (while not obscenely so), and he has never hit for a lot of power, even doubles power, in the minors. 
A lack of power usually means a player who can't turn a superior eye into gaudy walk totals. Major league pitchers generally have the ability to challenge hitters, partially negating the talents of even the most disciplined hitters if there isn't the threat of a double behind it.
'via Blog this'

The Baby Elephant Syndrome


This is what being a willing accomplice to fear can lead to. Learned Helplessness.

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The Baby Elephant Syndrome
There is a story about elephants and their owners in Africa. Look at an adult elephant; it can easily uproot huge trees with its trunk; it can knock down a h...
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There is a story about elephants and their owners in Africa. Look at an adult elephant; it can easily uproot huge trees with its trunk; it can knock down a house without much trouble.

When an elephant living in captivity is still a baby, it is tied to a tree with a strong rope or a chain every night. Because it is the nature of elephants to roam free, the baby elephant instinctively tries with all its might to break the rope. But it isn't yet strong enough to do so. Realizing its efforts are of no use, it finally gives up and stops struggling. The baby elephant tries and fails many times, it will never try again for the rest of its life.
Later, when the elephant is fully grown, it can be tied to a small tree with a thin rope. It could then easily free itself by uprooting the tree or breaking the rope. But because its mind has been conditioned by its prior experiences, it doesn't make the slightest attempt to break free. The powerfully gigantic elephant has limited its present abilities by the limitations of the past—-hence, the Baby Elephant Syndrome.
Human beings are exactly like the elephant except for one thing—We can CHOOSE not to accept the false boundaries and limitations created by the past…
" Don't let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you become."
- Anonymous  
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The Elephant Syndrome: Learned Helplessness
The concept of learned helplessness should resonate clearly for most of you because the evidence of its existence is so easily seen in...
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THE ELEPHANT SYNDROME: LEARNED HELPLESSNESS

elephantThe concept of learned helplessness should resonate clearly for most of you because the evidence of its existence is so easily seen in most any organization or home environment. Helplessness is any condition where a desired escape or change is impossible. When we speak of learned helplessness, we are referring to a state in which a person perceives (incorrectly) that there are no opportunities for escape or means by which they can effect a change.
Most of you have probably seen television documentaries or read stories about how elephant trainers control their huge wild animals in captivity. A full-grown male African Elephant can measure 7 ½ meters in length and weigh 6 tons or more. But a baby elephant is quite manageable in size and strength and is easily restrained to a small area with one end of a chain fastened to its leg and the other to a good sized tree. The elephant soon learns that escape is impossible. However, this inescapable condition is soon outgrown. The questions then becomes, why doesn't the animal escape? Because it has over-learned that the specific act of escape from the restraint is impossible. Not only this, but the animal submits to the overall authority of its master because its submission to the restraint is generalized to other areas. This intelligent animal learns at an early age that it must submit to the will of its master. It is quite amazing to see these mammoth giants being guided around by a puny rope or ridden like a pony on steroids. But this is only possible because of the conditioning that the animal experienced early in its life. In essence, the elephant has learned that it is helpless, that it can not escape and that it must submit to the will of its master.
Dr. Martin Seligman, Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, I is widely accepted as the father of learned helplessness. His work on learned helplessness began in the animal laboratory of Richard Solomon at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 1960's. Solomon was studying what is called avoidance behavior. Avoidance behaviors are established when subjects learn that a warning stimulus or signal (in this case a light) is followed by an averse stimulus (in this case a mild shock). These researchers were studying the ability of dogs to learn the warning stimulus and avoid the averse stimulus. In essence, they were conditioning (training) dogs to expect a shock if they did not react appropriately to a warning light.
What they found was that dogs could and would act (be motivated) by their own expectations that an averse stimulus (shock) would result if they did not act. However, these results were logically problematic for the researchers to explain. If what they were seeing was simply a tendency to be motivated by the absence of a shock, then wouldn't these animals be equally as motivated to engage in all behaviors (eating, grooming, barking and pooping) that were not followed by shocks? This mystery led to further experimentation in order to determine the conditions under which dogs would develop such expectations. Clearly, eating and other normal animal behaviors were not motivated by a desire to avoid any clear averse stimuli.
In 1967, Overmier and Seligman first began a set of experiments designed to discover what conditions were required for the development of this avoidance behavior. Dogs experienced one of two laboratory conditions. The animals were first treated with either escapable shocks ( shocks that could be terminated by a response) or inescapable shocks. These same dogs were then tested in a different apparatus (a different setting with a different averse stimulus). What they found was that the animals that had received the escapable shocks first learned normally in later conditions. However, animals that had initially received the same shocks but under inescapable conditions failed to learn later. In addition, future studies showed that an experience of escapable shock "immunized" the animals so that a later exposure to inescapable shock was without effect on later learning. Overmier and Seligman had made an important discovery, but they had yet to come up with a viable explanation for this behavioral phenomenon.
Although there were many well developed theories that offered insights into the behavioral contingency that Seligman and Overmier had discovered, none of them explained the phenomenon adequately. The researchers knew that the animals that experienced inescapable shocks were learning that their responses to the shock and the termination of the shock condition were independent of one another. The realization that these two factors (shock and escape response) were independent of one another meant that, like the giant elephants, the dogs did not expect that any attempt to escape would succeed. Given this learned condition, the animals' escape response discontinued and they lay passively while receiving the mild shocks. This phenomenon became known as learned helplessness.
The findings of this animal research apply reasonably to our experience as humans. We know that initial failures (like an inability to escape shocks) can have a powerful influence over our belief that further efforts will result in different (and better) results.  Seligman and others went on to perform experiments with humans. What they found was that the same consequences appeared in people with animals, but the effects of helplessness were moderated by the person's ability to rationalize what was happening. Since animals have limited rational capabilities, it stood to reason that human would react to the induction of helplessness conditions differentially, depending upon how they perceived the circumstances.
Seligman explained that learning helplessness in humans is modified by their explanatory style.  A person's explanatory style is what influences their "self-talk" or their explanations for what they experience (the causes of our successes and failures, escape or inability to escape). Seligman found that people with optimistic explanatory style were far more resilient toward conditions of learned helplessness. Unfortunately, not every person has an optimistic explanatory style.
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Milgram experiment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanl...
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Results

Before conducting the experiment, Milgram polled fourteen Yale University senior-year psychology majors to predict the behavior of 100 hypothetical teachers. All of the poll respondents believed that only a very small fraction of teachers (the range was from zero to 3 out of 100, with an average of 1.2) would be prepared to inflict the maximum voltage. Milgram also informally polled his colleagues and found that they, too, believed very few subjects would progress beyond a very strong shock.[1] Milgram also polled forty psychiatrists from a medical school, and they believed that by the tenth shock, when the victim demands to be free, most subjects would stop the experiment. They predicted that by the 300-volt shock, when the victim refuses to answer, only 3.73 percent of the subjects would still continue and, they believed that "only a little over one-tenth of one percent of the subjects would administer the highest shock on the board."[7]
In Milgram's first set of experiments, 65 percent (26 of 40)[1] of experiment participants administered the experiment's final massive 450-volt shock, though many were very uncomfortable doing so; at some point, every participant paused and questioned the experiment; some said they would refund the money they were paid for participating in the experiment. Throughout the experiment, subjects displayed varying degrees of tension and stress. Subjects were sweating, trembling, stuttering, biting their lips, groaning, digging their fingernails into their skin, and some were even having nervous laughing fits or seizures.[1]
Milgram summarized the experiment in his 1974 article, "The Perils of Obedience", writing:
"The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous importance, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.
Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.[8]
"
The original Simulated Shock Generator and Event Recorder, or shock box, is located in the Archives of the History of American Psychology.
Later, Milgram and other psychologists performed variations of the experiment throughout the world, with similar results.[9] Milgram later investigated the effect of the experiment's locale on obedience levels by holding an experiment in an unregistered, backstreet office in a bustling city, as opposed to at Yale, a respectable university. The level of obedience, "although somewhat reduced, was not significantly lower." What made more of a difference was the proximity of the "learner" and the experimenter. There were also variations tested involving groups.
Thomas Blass of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County performed a meta-analysis on the results of repeated performances of the experiment. He found that the percentage of participants who are prepared to inflict fatal voltages remains remarkably constant, 61–66 percent, regardless of time or country.[10][11]
None of the participants who refused to administer the final shocks insisted that the experiment itself be terminated, nor left the room to check the health of the victim without requesting permission to leave, as per Milgram's notes and recollections, when fellow psychologist Philip Zimbardo asked him about that point.[12]
Milgram created a documentary film titled Obedience showing the experiment and its results. He also produced a series of five social psychology films, some of which dealt with his experiments.

Applicability to Holocaust

Milgram sparked direct critical response in the scientific community by claiming that "a common psychological process is centrally involved in both [his laboratory experiments and Nazi Germany] events." Professor James Waller, Chair of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, formerly Chair of Whitworth College Psychology Department, expressed the opinion that Milgram experiments do not correspond well to the Holocaust events:[18]
  1. The subjects of Milgram experiments, wrote James Waller (Becoming Evil), were assured in advance that no permanent physical damage would result from their actions.However, the Holocaust perpetrators were fully aware of their hands-on killing and maiming of the victims.
  2. The laboratory subjects themselves did not know their victims and were not motivated by racism. On the other hand, the Holocaust perpetrators displayed an intense devaluation of the victims through a lifetime of personal development.
  3. Those serving punishment at the lab were not sadists, nor hate-mongers, and often exhibited great anguish and conflict in the experiment, unlike the designers and executioners of the Final Solution (see Holocaust trials), who had a clear "goal" on their hands, set beforehand.
  4. The experiment lasted for an hour, with no time for the subjects to contemplate the implications of their behavior. Meanwhile, the Holocaust lasted for years with ample time for a moral assessment of all individuals and organizations involved.[18]
In the opinion of Thomas Blass—who is the author of a scholarly monograph on the experiment (The Man Who Shocked The World) published in 2004—the historical evidence pertaining to actions of the Holocaust perpetrators speaks louder than words:
"Milgram's approach does not provide a fully adequate explanation of the Holocaust. While it may well account for the dutiful destructiveness of the dispassionate bureaucrat who may have shipped Jews to Auschwitz with the same degree of routinization as potatoes to Bremerhaven, it falls short when one tries to apply it to the more zealous, inventive, and hate-driven atrocities that also characterized the Holocaust.

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Milgram experiment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanl...
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Fastball-changeup interplay featuring Jacob deGrom - Beyond the Box Score



I remember deGrom just mowing down the Giants one game last year and now, thanks to the latest whiz-bang technology and sabermetrics, I can see why both visually and graphically. Great stuff.

from Beyond the Box Score:
http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2015/3/27/8297039/fastball-changeup-interplay-with-jacob-degrom-mets-mlb-pitchfx

One element of the fastball-changeup interplay is the velocity difference. deGrom's velocity difference between his four-seam fastball and changeup according to Baseball Savant's numbers: 9.7. It's 9.8 by Brooks' numbers. deGrom has the velocity difference covered.

Another element is the release point. If hitters can tell which pitch is coming based on where the release point is, then there won't be much deception. deGrom has the release point stuff covered. Here is a Tableau screenshot of deGrom's average release points for his four-seam fastball, sinker, and changeup.

degrom release point

All three of them are basically on top of each other. So, when deGrom is at that release point, the hitter can't tell if it will be a fastball or a changeup. deGrom has the deception part covered.

Overall, deGrom has the fastball-changeup interplay covered. He throws them from the same release point and can locate each pitch in the same place, but the velocity differential and vertical movement appear to play havoc with opposing hitters. I would imagine the deception plays a role in his changeup's markedly higher swing rate compared to other right-handed pitchers' changeups. deGrom's curve might be the better pitch in terms of making hitters miss when they actually swing, but his changeup has the highest whiff rate of his whole arsenal. The fastball-changeup interplay can make an unremarkable pitch on its own into something rather remarkable.

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The Rays Changup Revolution

Image result for baseball rays culture of innovation


Whether it's defensive shifts, locking up key players like Longoria to long-term deals before they get to arbitration, conditioning pitchers and here with innovative and unique pitching strategies, the Rays have been a franchise noted for their ability to effectively cut against the grain. They seem to do it not just for the sake of doing it, or out of blind necessity, but simply because it works.  

In my opinion, this was part of the culture that flourished under Joe Maddon, and he gets a large part of the credit. Hopefully, it is not lost with Maddons move to the Cubs.

Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: The Rays' Changeup Revolution


The Rays' Changeup Revolution

“The game evolves constantly,” Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey tells me on a Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, after wrapping up a bullpen session an hour before first pitch. Evolution in baseball works a lot like it does in real life: traits that confer a competitive advantage tend to be passed on. But before a new approach is adopted around the league, Hickey says, “someone’s going to have to be successful doing it.”
The Rays are often that someone. If the Rays have an identity—aside from their status as a team that doesn’t draw, locked into a lease that never expires—it’s that they do things differently. Driven by their need to make the most of their limited resources and the creativity of their front office and field staff, the Rays under General Manager Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon have authored a long list of innovations. Shifting more aggressively than almost any other team. Giving defensive specialist Jose Molina a starting job for the first time at age 37. Opening an academy in Brazil. Refusing to sign free agent starters (before Roberto Hernandez). And so on.
One minor innovation Maddon has made hasn’t received much mainstream attention: the manager’s tendency to stack his lineup with same-handed hitters against certain starters, intentionally surrendering the platoon advantage that most teams seek. Dubbed the “The Danks Theory” by Tommy Rancel of DRaysBay, who picked up on it after it was employed against White Sox starter John Danks in 2010, Maddon’s unorthodox tactic is an attempt to deprive opposing pitchers of their nastiest stuff. He’s broken it out against pitchers who throw one of their best offerings almost exclusively to batters who don’t hit from the same side, among them Danks, Mike MussinaDallas BradenShaun MarcumJered Weaver, and Jon Lester. Combat selected righties with righties and selected lefties with lefties, Maddon’s thinking goes, and what you lose in platoon advantage, you more than make up for by eliminating one or more of a pitcher’s most effective options from his arsenal.
More often than not, the Danks Theory is put to the test against starters with good changeups. There’s a reason for that. Traditionally, changeups have been thrown much more often to opposite-handed hitters. “I can remember myself as a minor league pitcher, that was unheard of,” says Hickey, who spent seven seasons in the White Sox, Dodgers, and Astros systems in the 1980s. “You didn’t throw a changeup as a right-handed pitcher to a right-handed hitter.”
The pitchers whom the Rays have deemed susceptible to the Danks Theory still pitch like Hickey did three decades ago; the left-handed Lester, for example, has thrown 93.8 percent of his changeups to right-handed batters this season. But if other teams were to try the Danks Theory, they’d have a hard time turning it against its creators. Most of Tampa’s changeup artists don’t pitch like Lester. Instead, they’re making what Hickey says was once a “taboo kind of pitch”—the right-on-right or left-on-left changeup—into a conventional weapon.
***
Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last March, Bill James said, “A lot of baseball’s conventional wisdom starts to sound silly when you become 13.” That may be true of many conventional baseball beliefs: closer usagelineup construction, sacrifice bunts and the intentional base on balls. But while baseball’s loose ban on same-sided changeups is certainly conventional, it’s not entirely unwise. The theory behind it has some stats to support it.
As Dave Allen noted in a 2010 study on pitch-type platoon splits, if a pitcher releases his changeup with roughly the same initial trajectory as his fastball and aims it around the middle of the zone, “the pitch will end up down and away to the opposite-handed batter and down and in to the same-handed batter. All else being equal a down-and-away pitch is much better than a down-and-in pitch.”
Matt Moore, one of the relatively few Rays who throws almost all of his changeups to opposite-handed hitters, concurs. “When you think of lefties, they like to drop the head, it’s more of a sweepy swing,” says the southpaw starter. “The bottom of the zone, for lefties, it’s such a sweet spot. For me, typically where [the changeup] is going to go is down and in to a lefty, down and away to a righty.” Rays catcher Jose Lobaton, who likes the pitch, says, “The only problem people say with the changeup is that righties against righties, if you hang it, they’re going to hit it pretty good. With some lefties…when they hang it they can hit a popup, righties can hit it better. They say the ball moves inside to them.” If you make a mistake, changeups to same-sided hitters can be bad news.
***
According to Max Marchi’s research, the so-called “straight change” shows a reverse platoon effect: it’s more effective against batters who hit from the opposite side. But what Max called the “power change”—a harder one “with significant lateral movement,” or “movement similar to the fastball”—is platoon neutral: it works well against both righties and lefties.
Despite Max’s study (and others with similar conclusions), there hasn’t been any league-wide movement toward throwing same-sided changeups, at least since the start of the PITCHf/x era.
Year
Same_Side
Opp_Side
Changeups
Same_Side_Pct
2008
20077
60005
80082
0.2507
2009
22110
62594
84704
0.261
2010
23295
64830
88125
0.2643
2011
19440
59758
79198
0.2455
2012
16129
58783
74912
0.2153
2013
8908
30381
39289
0.2267

Giants Top Minor League Prospects

  • 1. Kyle Crick 6-4,220 RHP Power pitcher in the Matt Cain mold. High K-rate comes with High BB-rate. Low 90's FB with sink. Can be a top of the rotation starter once command/control issues ironed out. Mechanics are sound.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. Clayton Blackburn 6-3, 220 RHP Good low 90's FB with sink, excellent command of stuff, good secondary pitches. His 8.64 K/BB ratio is off the charts efficient.
  • 4. Adalberto Mejia 6-3,195 LHP Throws strikes and mixes pitches well. Good secondary stuff, projects as middle rotation guy. Keeps ball down and gets outs.
  • 5. Ty Blach 6-1, 210 LHP Glavine comps will give him a chance to rise fast.
  • 6. Keury Mella 6-2, 200 RHP Dominican signee is really opening eyes with a nice power arm
  • 7. Chris Stratton 6-3, 185 RHP Mississippi State Decent four-pitch mix, solid pitching frame. Can run FB to 94 MPH with movement. Throws SL/CB, with the slider the better of the two.
  • 8. Mac Williamson 6-4, 240 OF Wake Forest grad with five-tool potential if he hits advanced pitching.
  • 9. Derek Law 6-2, 210 RHP power arm with some deceptiveness in his delivery, could be a dark horse to contribute in 2014
  • _10. Joan Gregorio 6-7, 180 RHP potential closer material
  • _11. 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
  • _12. Daniel Carbonell 6-2, 215 Cuban signee, speedy, switch-hitting CF with power potential. Could be a five-tool player if he hits.
  • _13. Ryder Jones 6-2, 200 3B polished bat with some pop. Good athleticism for the corner IF
  • _14. Steven Okert 6-3, 210 LHP Oklahoma product, another power lefty prospect.
  • _15. Christian Arroyo 6-1, 180 SS very efficient with the bat, good hitting approach, test will be how he handles advanced pitching
  • _16. Martin Agosta 6-1, 180 RHP FB up to 94 mph with some sink. Plus secondary stuff, shows ability to mix pitches.
  • _17. Luis Ysla 6-1, 185 LHP from Venezeula cruises at 92-94MPH snd touches 97 on occasion, max effort delivery concerns, iffy slider, projects as reliever.
  • _18. Gustavo Cabrera 6-0, 190 OF INTL signee, 16 year-old compared to Justin Upton. Injuries slowed his progress in 2014
  • _19. Dylan Davis 6-0,215 OF Good size and speed package from Oregon State. Has a good arm so may challenge in RF down the road.
  • _20. 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.

2015 Top MLB College Draft Prospects

  • 1. Michael Matuella 6-6, 225 RHP Duke Nice four pitch mix, mid 90's FB and 12-6 CB. Potential top of first rounder.
  • 2. Nathan Kirby 6-2, 185 LHP Virginia Dominant starter, 92-93 MPH FB and power curve ball. Added an effective change-up.
  • 3. Carson Fullmer 6-0 RHP Vanderbilt Mid 90's FB compliments effective breaking ball and change-up for effective three pitch mix.
  • 4. Riley Ferrell 6-1, 200 RHP TCU closer for TCU upper 90's FB touches 98-99. Nasty high 80's slider makes him virtually unhittable as closer, can transition to starter
  • 5. Alex Bregman 5-11, 180 2B/SS LSU BS Freshman of Year in 2013 has all the tools, instinctive player.
  • 6. Kyle Funkhouser 6-3, 205 RHP Louisville FB cruises at 92-94 and touches 97.
  • 7. Walker Buehler 6-1, 170 RHP Vanderbilt Low 90's FB and competitive streak, will compliment Fullmer at top of rotation for defending champs.
  • 8. Kyle Cody 6-7, 245 RHP Kentucky Fastball sits at 93-96, 3:1 K/BB ratio in Cape Cod League, secondary stuff needs work
  • 9. Cody Pence 6-6, 240 RHP Cal Poly Pomona Nice four pitch mix, 95-96 MPH FB, plus cutter and curve
  • _10. Ian Happ 5-11, 190 OF Cincinnati Switch hitter with compact, line drive stroke, hard-nosed, high energy player
  • _11. Gio Brusa 6-3, 190 OF Pacific Switch hitter with above average power
  • _12. Phil Bickford 6-4, 200 RHP Cal State Fullerton (??) Good FB, power curve ball mix.
  • _13. Marc Brakeman 6-1 180 RHP Stanford 90-95 MPH FBm 47:7 K/BB ration in Cape Cod League, good swing and miss change and slider
  • _14. Richie Martin 5-10, 170 SS Florida Athletic ING with good speed and arm strength
  • _15. C.J. Hinojosa 5-11, 180 SS Texas Good instincts, confident player. Good arm, fringy power bat
  • _16. Kevin Newman 6-1, 180 SS Arizona Back to back Cape batting titles. Average arm, speed, controls strike zone well
  • _17. Alex Young 6-3, 200 LHP TCU Low 90's FB and slider, two pitch mix, projects as a starter
  • _18. Steven Duggar 6-2, 190 OF Clemson Good speed 6.3 60yd, good bat speed from left side. Potential five-tool guy
  • _19. Kyle Twoney 6-3, 170 LHP USC Easy delivery, good FB command 94 MPH FB
  • _20. Kevin Duchene 6-2, 205 LHP Illinois High 80's FB with nice change, strike thrower, repeatable delivery, good mound presence

2015 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players

  • 1. Justin Hooper 6-7, 230 LHP De La Salle HS (CA) 6-6 athletic lefty with mid-90's FB. UCLA commit.
  • 2. Kolby Allard 6-2, 175 LHP San Clemente HS (CA) easy mid 90's FB tops at 95MPH, good command with plus breaking ball and change. UCLA commit.
  • 3. Brendan Rogers 6-0, 195 SS Lake Mary HS (FL) Good speed and power, athletic IF. Florida State commit.
  • 4. Ashe Russell 6-4, 200 RHP Cathedral Catholic HS (IN) FB that sits at 92-94 and tops at 95 with average potential breaking ball. Could rise fast. Texas A&M commit.
  • 5. Daz Cameron 6-1, 185 OF Eagles Landing HS (GA) Athletic and toolsy player with power and speed. Son of Mike Cameron. Florida State commit.
  • 6. Mike Nikoriak 6-4, 205 RHP Stroudsburg HS (PA) FB sits at 94-96 with sionk. CB is inconsistent. QB prospect with Alabama commit.
  • 7. Beau Burrows 6-1, 200 Weatherford HS (TX) RHP FB workable breaking ball and change. FB sits at 94, tops at 96 with tilt. Texas A&M commit.
  • 8. Trenton Clark 6-0, 200 OF Richland HS (TX) speedy (6.6 60 yd) OF, solid line drive stroke with power potential, Texas Tech commit.
  • 9. Kyle Tucker 6-3,190 OF Plant HS (FL) Solid CF who can hit. Florida commit.
  • _10.. Nick Plummer 5-10, 200 OF Bloomington Brother Rice (MI) Physical, athletic lefty hitter with good bat speed.
  • _11. Chandler Day 6-4, 162 RHP Watkins Memorial HS (OH) solid 93 MPH FB
  • _12. Donny Everett 6-2, 220 RHP Clarksville HS (TN) Power pitcher tops at 96 MH FB
  • _13. Cole McKay 6-5, 215 RHP Smithson Valley HS (TX) Strong frame, power pitcher with some feel for pitching. 92-94 FB with late stuff. Curve and change are both above-average with sink to the change. Louisiana State commit.
  • _14. Chris Betts 6-2, 220 C Wilson HS (CA) Plus pure arm strength, arm stroke gets long for a catcher. needs work receiving, above average raw power from left side, good athlete. Tennessee commit.
  • _15. Hunter Bowling 6-7, 215 LHP American Heritage HS (FL) Great pitcher's build, projectible body. FB touches 93 MPH wit downward tilt. Slider is average, Florida commit.
  • _16. Ryan Johnson 6-3, 200 OF College Station HS (TX) Good bat speed and power bat. TCU commit.
  • _17. Luken Baker 6-4, 245 RHP/OF Oak Ridge HS (TX) Big, strong, physical two-way player. 94 MPH FB with extreme power bat. TCU commit.
  • _18. Wyatt Cross 6-3, 190 C Legacy HS (CO) One of the stronger arms behind the plate, plus pop time. Good strength and athleticism. North Carolina commit.
  • _19. Austin Riley 6-3, 220 RHP/INF DeSoto Central HS (MS) Two-way player and FB prospect as QB, FB touches 92-94 has power potential with bat from right side.
  • _20. Devin Davis 6-2, 210 1B/OF Valencia HS (CA) Two-way player who leads with the power bat. Hitting ability is advanced with natural power leverage in his stroke. Loyola Marymount commit.
  • _21. Thomas Szapucki 6-2,185 LHP Dwyer HS (FL) Three pitch arsenal with deceptive delivery. FB is low 90's with 93 top. Slider can show above average, with a workable change.
  • _22. Sati Santa Cruz 6-3, 230 RHP Sahaurita HS (AZ) Physical, power pitcher challenges hitters with a heavy FB that sits low 90's and touches 95. Secondary stuff needs work. Arizona commit.
  • _23. Corey Zangari 6-4, 230 RHP Carl Albert HS (OK) Also a catcher, his FB cruise at mid 90's and tops at 97. Breaking ball has potential but lacks consistency. Oklahoma State commit.

2015 Top Tampa Bay Area High School Baseball Players

  • LHP Nick Kennedy Alonso HS
  • OF Kyle Tucker 6-3, 175 Plant HS Good pure hitter and defensive OF. Solid skills across the board. Florida commit.
  • RHP Jake Woodford Plant HS Florida commit.

2015 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects (NW Suburban Chicago Area)

  • C Brandon Krennrich Johnsburg HS Kentucky commit.
  • OF Bobby McMillen Naperville Central
  • OF Brandon Post Elk Grove HS
  • OF Eric Giltz Wheaton Warrenville HS
  • RHP Anthony Holubecki Kaneland HS/IMG Academy(FL) - JR
  • RHP Bradley Parchute Marengo HS
  • RHP Brady Huffman Genoa-Kingston HS - JR
  • RHP Brenden Heiss Jacobs HS - JR
  • RHP Jake Esp Marmion Academy
  • RHP Mitchell Boyer Batavia HS
  • RHP/3B Joe Dittmar Richmond-Burton HS - JR
  • SS Connor Dall West Chicago HS