When Derek Jeter retired last year, the pundits puzzled over who would be the next “Face of Baseball.” Jeter was the guy on the Wheaties box, after all. And more broadly, Jeter’s retirement seemed to close one era of baseball and open another. Without an elder statesman, the game belonged to the kids. But would there be enough excellent, prodigious young players to replace Jeter’s cohort? We already have an answer: The kids are damn good, and they’re part of one of the most significant youth movements in baseball in the past 25 years.Baseball’s excellence is supremely concentrated in its young players at the moment. To get a sense for the balance of power in MLB, I calculated the average age of all position players in the league while weighting each player’s age by how good they were in a given year (using wins above replacement1FanGraphs’ version.). For example, the age of an MVP-type player counts for roughly eight2Here, I am contrasting an average MVP-level of performance — about 8 WAR — with a below-average player’s performance — about 1 WAR. times as much as a below-average scrub because he’s eight times better according to WAR. So, if the MVP is young, he’ll pull the weighted average down toward him. By weighting the ages in this way, we get a sense for where in MLB the production comes from — specifically, whether it arises from the grizzled veterans or the youngsters.The youngsters are winning.Since the early 2000s, the MLB’s weighted age has consistently fallen, hitting its low point (of 27.76) this year. This graph tells us that in recent years, more of the positive value in the league has been coming from younger players.The twin faces of the youth movement are undoubtedly Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, still only 22 and 23, respectively. Despite the best efforts of opposing pitchers, Trout is performing at his now-routine MVP level. Harper seems to have finally discovered consistent success with an overwhelming power stroke. But Harper and Trout have been joined by a generation of super-prospects who are outperforming even the loftiest expectations. Kris Bryant is the most obvious, but others include Joc Pederson, Carlos Correa, Mookie Betts and Addison Russell.There are several ways that baseball’s production could be getting younger, but it turns out that there are two straightforward explanations. One is that the oldest players have become less productive. The second is that the youngest players are on pace to create a tremendous amount of value.Let’s start with the veterans. Players ages 333Roughly the oldest 15 percent of players in MLB. and up have produced only 24 WAR so far this year, on pace for the second-lowest total of the past 25 years. Over a full year, that prorates to 54.8 WAR, which is less than half the total achieved by the equivalent group of players around the turn of the millennium.It’s not clear what is driving older position players down. One possibility is that new pace-of-play rules are making it harder for older hitters to make use of their experience. On the other hand, older position players seem to be getting worse not only at hitting, but also with the glove — and even on the base paths.There could be a connection between the fluctuating pattern of production by older players and the steroid era. Certainly, some of the confirmed steroid users managed to be productive well into their 30s, suggesting that steroids might confer their beneficial effects especially upon older hitters. But in the absence of data on who used what steroids when and how, it’s difficult to pursue this idea beyond a hypothesis. Regardless of the cause, it looks as though the current trend of age and production is more of a return to the norm of the early 1990s than a novelty.At the same time, we are witnessing a historic youth movement. Just as the very old players have gotten worse, the youngest have become much better. Players 24 and younger4Roughly the youngest 15 percent of players in MLB. have produced 48.7 WAR this year, which puts them on pace for about 110 WAR in a full year. If it holds, that would be the most WAR put up by this age group since 2007.That year saw a generation of future stars cement their place in the league. David Wright, at that time 24, had his best season, an MVP-caliber effort. Wright was joined by a host of talent, from Troy Tulowitzki to Jose Reyes to Miguel Cabrera. In total, 13 young hitters put up WAR values greater than 4, in the neighborhood of All-Star-level performance. Many of those players, and even some of the tier below them, have gone on to become superstars.Young players have traditionally relied upon their defense to build their value, and this year is no exception. The 24 and under group typically performs anywhere from 100 to 500 runs below average on offense but makes up for it to some extent with 100 to 200 runs from their defense.5I am also including the FanGraphs positional adjustment here. Less than halfway through this season’s games, young position players have been worth 93 runs defensively. Prorated to a full season, this would be the best defensive performance for that age group since 2001, when the overall value of the youngsters was near its low point.Except today’s kids can do something those 2001 ones couldn’t: rake. With an average mark of 94.6, young hitters are putting up the best Weighted Runs Created+ (wRC+) since that marvelous 2007 class (which was at 99.2). The average wRC+ is set at 100, so the young players are adding decent hitting to their superlative defense. Much of the hitting stems from a power surge: The young hitters are racking up a slugging percentage of .400, slightly better than the league average of .397.6Relative to the league average, this is the second-best number in the past 25 years (second, of course, to 2007).The young players are even providing value with their baserunning. Reds speedster Billy Hamilton, 24, leads the way, but the group is already up to 27.1 runs of baserunning value (Hamilton alone is responsible for nearly a third of this number). If it holds over a full season, that will be the best mark since 1990.Some of these statistics will not hold up over the length of a full season because of injuries or regression to the mean, of course. And many of the averages will be distorted by September call-ups. But two-thirds of the total WAR in this year’s young group comes from the 10 best players, all of whom are firmly ensconced in starting roles.A wave of young talent has arrived, just as the old veterans are fading into irrelevancy. Whether your preference is for Nolan Arenado’s slick glove work, Harper’s absurd power or Bryant’s eyes, we are witnessing the rise of a generation of future superstars.
Hard to believe, after all the news around Ray Rice’s potentially career-ending domestic violence case and Adrian Peterson’s child abuse drama, that another NFL player would be photographed in handcuffs for similar charges any time soon. And then there was Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday.Dwyer, from metro Atlanta and Georgia Tech, was was arrested Wednesday for investigation in two altercations that occurred on July 21 and 22 at his Phoenix residence, just days before the Cardinals reported to training camp. His wife left the state after the incidents but came forward a week ago after Dwyer apparently sent suicidal text messages including a photo of a knife.In the first encounter, police say Dwyer attempted to kiss and undress his wife, but she refused. Someone who heard the argument reported the assault to police, who showed up at the apartment but did not make an arrest. Dwyer hid in a bathroom and the wife denied he was in the home because the running back threatened to kill himself in front of her and their child if she told police about the assault, police said.The next day, Dwyer punched his wife with a closed fist on the left side of her face, according to police. He also punched walls and threw a shoe at his 17-month-old son, who was not injured, police said.As his wife tried to call police, Dwyer grabbed her cellphone and threw it down from the home’s second story. Witnesses told police that Dwyer’s wife said, “I’m calling the police,” as she held her swollen face and clutched her son.During his police interview on Wednesday, Dwyer acknowledged hiding in the bathroom when police responded to the first argument and sending a photo of a knife with suicidal threats. Dwyer denied committing an assault, though he acknowledged that he punched walls in his home, threw a phone and that his wife bit his lip during the disputes, according to the police report. As he was released from jail Thursday, he said he never hurt his son.The Arizona Cardinals say they first learned of the domestic abuse accusations Wednesday afternoon. Hours later, “the serious nature of these allegations” led the team to deactivate the running back from all team activities.Dwyer was released early Thursday after posting bond, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said. Police said they were carrying out a search warrant at Dwyer’s residence in pursuit of more evidence.The 25-year-old player denied committing any assault against the 27-year-old accuser, police said.Authorities depicted a stormy relationship between Dwyer and the woman that escalated into violence on July 21, four days before the Cardinals reported to training camp.Neighbors heard a fight and called police, who showed up at the residence but left without making an arrest because Dwyer hid in the bathroom, and the woman said she was the only one at the home, Sgt. Trent Crump said.“She said she was in an argument on the phone only,” Crump said.The next day, Crump said, Dwyer snatched the woman’s cellphone and threw it from the second floor of their residence to prevent her from calling police about another dispute.Crump confirmed there was an allegation that Dwyer threw a shoe at or toward the couple’s 18-month-old son. Crump said he couldn’t elaborate on it.Crump said the woman moved out of state with the child but came forward last week and provided police with information about her injuries and text messages indicating Dwyer ”was going to harm himself because of what had been going on.”The NFL has been jolted by domestic violence issues since a videotape surfaced that showed Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator. Peterson has been deactivated after child abuse charges were filed against him.So, a league that was reeling since the Rice news continues to spiral in a public relations mess.
Posted: January 3, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings Legal sale of recreational marijuana enters second day in San Diego January 3, 2018 KUSI Newsroom, Updated: 3:38 PM KUSI Newsroom Categories: Local San Diego News Tags: Marijuana FacebookTwitter 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Booming business continued Tuesday on the second day of legal recreational marijuana sales for those ages 21 and up in California.The store, Urban Leaf, had previously only handled medical marijuana prescribed by physicians. It is tucked away in an industrial park. near the 15/94 interchange, across a freeway from a Costco and two miles east of downtown.Manager Peter Yousif told City News Service there was a long line out the door of the dispensary.“We’ve been slammed since opening at 7 a.m.,” said Yousif. ”We have a line out the door right now. We expected it.”Yousif said about 250 people had visited the dispensary during its first four hours of operation on New Years Day.The marijuana dispensary operator said he felt there was a lot of pent-up demand for the now-legal drug.“I think it will be like this for at least a few months,” Yousif said. ”Before, some people were reluctant to try it because they were concerned about getting a medical marijuana card. But now that it its legal, people are more willing to try it.”Yousif cited a case in point.“I had a lady who came in here today who hadn’t done marijuana in 30 years,” he said. ”She said, ‘Now that it is recreational — I want to try it out again.’“Urban Leaf in Golden Hill will be open until 9 p.m.In 2016, Californians voted to legalize sales of recreational marijuana for anyone age 21 and older. It is now legal to purchase marijuana for recreational use at licensed shops as well as to grow, possess and use limited quantities of cannabis.The state led the country in efforts to legalize marijuana. Through Proposition 215, passed in 1996, California became the first state to legalize the drug for medical use.In November 2016, state voters passed an amendment legalizing recreational use of marijuana taking effect Jan. 1, 2018.Join the conversation on our Facebook page: