” Strasburg, Fernandez on four-seam fast(ball) track “

JUPITER – The radar gun readings at Roger Dean Stadium are listed after every pitch on the scoreboard. Bench coach Rob Leary before Saturday’s Nationals-Marlins game said he’d take a peak every now and then.

The readings for Stephen Strasburg and Jose Fernandez didn’t tell Leary anything he doesn’t already know.

“You can see when the ball is coming out of someone’s hand really well,” said Leary, who is managing this weekend while Mike Redmond and a split squad are in Panama playing the Yankees. “It comes out differently when you see guys throwing that way, and Jose and a guy like a Strasburg, you can tell there’s something a little different coming out of the hand.”

 

Two of the game’s better four-seam fastballs were on display through four innings of the 2-1 Nationals’ win. Last season, Strasburg’s average velocity on four-seam, or straight, fastballs was the majors’ sixth-best at 96.06 miles per hour. Fernandez was two spots behind at 95.05 miles per hour according to PITCHf/x, a Sportvision-created tracking system that records the velocity, movement, release point, spin and pitch location of every major league offering.

Per Brooks Baseball’s PITCHF/x analysis, Fernandez threw 1,297 four-seamers, 48 percent of which he dropped in the zone. Of Strasburg’s 1,625 four-seamers, he threw 44.7 percent for strikes.

 
“They’re comparable,” said Marlins’ catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who’s faced Strasburg and caught Fernandez. “I think Jose’s mechanics, as a hitter, he comes at you really hard, almost full force it seems like where Strasburg is a little more fluid and his arm is whippy.”

Velocity is a significant component, but arguably it’s not the most important. Any successful pitcher, regardless of how hard he throws, needs fastball command. Strasburg and Fernandez last season both showed great ability to move the pitch all over the strike zone.

 

In seven of the nine quadrants that comprise the zone, Fernandez last season filled seven of those with 10 percent or more of the 623 four-seamers he threw for strikes, the exceptions being glove-side up and glove-side down.

Strasburg topped the 11 percent mark of 727 four-seam strikes to six of the nine quadrants in 2013. The three boxes he missed to hit double figures was arm-side up and down, and glove-side up.

“Both are getting really good at not falling into patterns,” said Nationals’ first baseman Adam LaRoche, who totaled five plate appearances against Fernandez last season and two off Strasburg as a Brave before joining the Nationals. “You go in with a scouting report on some guys and it’s, ‘Hey, this guy stays away.’ He may show in for a ball, but he’s going to stay away and you see that in those boxes.”

Neither pitcher shied away from using four-seamers in two-strike counts. Strasburg went to it 23 percent of the time and Fernandez 22.3 percent. The swing and miss rates on the pitch virtually were the same: Fernandez’s at 7.02 percent and Strasburg at 6.95 percent. Fernandez did have the edge in whiff rate on two-strike counts, 12.8 percent to 9.6 percent.

Opponents also logged a batting average and slugging percentage off Fernandez’s four-seamer of .232 and .335, respectively. They hit .245 and slugged .394 off Strasburg’s, per Brooks Baseball.

Among other tools for measuring the effectiveness of individual pitches are linear weights. On Fangraphs, the statistic “wFB” represents total runs saved using the fastball. Fernandez’s 2013 wFB (13.9) ranked 12th, 11 spots ahead of Strasburg (6.4). Another statistic (“wFB/C”) corrects for usage and gives a value on a per 100-pitch basis. Fernandez (0.90) was 14th and Strasburg (0.62) was 23rd in that category.

Evaluating a fastball in and of itself doesn’t offer a complete portrait. As LaRoche and Marlins infielder Ed Lucas pointed out, the quality of secondary pitches directly impact the effectiveness of a fastball. Both Fernandez and Strasburg feature multiple “plus,” or above average, offerings they’ll throw anytime.

“If a guy is throwing 97, 98 but he doesn’t have a breaking ball, it’s a completely different mindset for a hitter than facing a guy who you know can throw his breaking ball for a strike,” Lucas said. “Knowing he has that other stuff in his back pocket makes whatever he’s throwing – 94, 95 – play even a little bit harder. That’s also what makes Jose special and allowed him to flourish in the second half last year, his ability to throw any pitch, any count.”

Added LaRoche: “You can throw 100 in this league and if you don’ have anything to back it up and you get guys comfortable sitting on that fastball, you’re going to get touched up a little bit. When you have to honor a couple of other pitches, that’s what makes it more difficult to be on time with the fastball.

“For starting pitchers, I’d put them both top two for the ability to rear back and let it go when they need it, and it’s not just early in the game. I don’t know that you’ll find [better]. They may go top two, top three as far as what I’ve faced.”

” Profiles in Diversity Journal Features 60 trailblazers for Black Heritage Month “

Westlake, OH, March 13, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King expressed to audiences that, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

In honor of Black Heritage month, Profiles in Diversity Journal is highlighting 60 African-Americans who have never stopped moving. These 60 trailblazers have built a legacy of leadership for future generations of African-Americans in their respective fields. Their stories show the advancements made by people of color since the very day Dr. King uttered his call to action.

“You’ll learn how these accomplished professionals give back to their communities and pass on their acquired wisdom to a new generation,” said Kathie Sandlin, Profiles in Diversity Journal Editor-in-Chief. “They range from executives and community activists to board members who broke down barriers in the work place.  These individuals shared their opinions on the state of the African-American community, advice for a successful career and giving back.”

Building on History

“It’s easy to forget our history and the challenges those before us faced,” said Monique Hunt McWilliams, Chief Diversity Officer of Eli Lilly and Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. “We have to constantly reflect on that. We now have generations of young people who’ve not experienced those tough times, so it’s hard for them to understand that even when you’re in the middle of something challenging, you don’t give up.”

Each generation stands on the shoulders of a previous generation that worked hard to make the world a better place. This generation of professionals has either been in the fight for equality or is continuing the fight in the work place. “During my days in the civil rights movement, I learned that advocacy, coupled with passion, can transform the ideas held by others,” said Gene L. Locke, Partner of Andrews Kurth LLP of Houston, Texas.

The economic standing of the African-American community has changed dramatically through business, entertainment, food, etc. Now, more than ever before, African-Americans wield a lot of influence and power over the future of the economy. African-American Segment Leader of Wells Fargo, Lisa Frison understands the important role she and her entire community play in the economic future of the United States. “Through a combination of education and better decision making, we have an opportunity to harness that power and move increasingly along the continuum from being spenders to savers to owners to investors to philanthropists, and claim more of an ownership stake in securing our financial future,” she said.

Advice for Young Business People

The 60 trailblazers have made their mark on multiple industries and have made a real impact in their respective fields. Their knowledge of how an organization works, the time spent in the trenches and their hard work allow them to extend career advice to young professionals.

“Don’t just take inventory of your skills and abilities, but also be clear about your passions. You may not always be able to align those two at every step of your career, but you should strive to keep them in balance as much as you can. There may be a lot of things you CAN do, but you should live your life with no regrets by also focusing on doing the things you WANT to do and enjoy doing,” said CVS Caremark Vice President of Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer, David L. Casey.

Power in numbers was the philosophy for the fight in the 1960’s and it remains a key in being successful today. The Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Southern Company of Georgia, Kenneth E. Coleman, has lived by this very practice. “Building relationships is important to success. No one can be successful solely on his or her own. Over the course of my career, there have been a number of individuals, including my peers, who have helped me–from giving me wise counsel to helping me find business opportunities, and everything in between,” he said.

Pamela Petrease Felder, Lecturer at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, offers a direct message to young people searching for the right career. “My advice would be to find a career where you will be able to love what you do. Opportunities will come and go. But doing what you love to do will transcend these opportunities in ways that will sustain you,” she said.

The Value of Mentoring

Dr. Tamkea L. Taylor, President of Compass Consulting Services, LLC. of Beachwood, Ohio, believes in the importance of building confidence in others as well as motivating people to take action. “Mentoring allows me to directly impact their lives and assist with their unique needs and concerns. It also helps me grow. When I am unable to give of myself and my time, I try to contribute financially to the community, even if it’s a small amount. Every little bit makes a difference,” she said.

The American Express Senior Vice President and General Manager, National Client Group, Suzan B. Kereere has dedicated her time to mentoring young women. She works with Zawadi, which sponsors the college education of young women with the goal of making them strong female leaders. She is proud of her role as mentor to a lot of young women of African descent who currently attend numerous colleges and universities around the United States.

The importance of education is a constant theme among the trailblazers. They attribute their success to and the future successes of the African-American community. Many believe that through scholarships, personal mentorships or reforming the system is the way to make change. Ronald Wood, Vice President of Underwriting for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is committed to the higher education of young people.

“I am a cofounder of the Organization of Black Alumni at my alma mater, Wayne State University. Through this organization, we developed mentoring programs and scholarship opportunities for young men and women pursuing educational opportunities at the university,” he said.

Giving back to their communities gives the trailblazers the opportunity to help young people to have the chance to aspire to and achieve success in a multitude of career fields. The trailblazers are using their intellect and their checkbooks to pave the way for the next generation.

“Profiles in Diversity Journal is using this Black Heritage Month to celebrate the work that has been done and the work that continues. We invite you to read their stories-we think you’ll be heartened by them- and join us in celebrating the drive, the integrity, and the irrepressible spirit of these outstanding African-American corporate and community leaders,” said Editor-in-Chief of Profiles in Diversity Journal, Kathie Sandlin.

The full interviews of the 60 trailblazers are available online at diversityjournal.com.

Profiles in Diversity Journal is a bimonthly magazine dedicated to promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion in the corporate, government, nonprofit, higher education and military sectors. For more than 16 years, Profiles in Diversity Journal has helped to stimulate organizational change by showcasing the visionary leadership, innovative programs and committed individuals that make it happen.

 

” Do’s and Don’ts when buying or selling a property “

 

Do…

Don’t…
Do see your trusted home dealers such as Simple Home Solutions before you start the process. Don’t sign anything without first seeking advice from your lawyer.
If you are buying do ask Simple Home Solutions about the different types of home loans and the implications for you if you should sell before the end of the loan term. Don’t over-stretch yourself by borrowing more than you can afford to service in interest charges, not just now but longer term. (Simple Home Solutions Considers all types of home owners)
Do seek advice from your trusted home dealer on the best method of selling your property: multiple listing, sole agency, tender, auction – remember, your lawyer gives independent advice. Don’t sign an unconditional contract unless you are certain you want the property at the price contained in the agreement and you know you have all the required finance secured – and you’ve taken advice from your lawyer?
If you are selling,doshop around for a real estate agent with a good track record in selling property in your price range and knows the area. If you are buying don’t be persuaded into buying something that doesn’t meet all your needs.
 

Do check the property out at different times of the day, to ensure that the property gets the amount of sun you want. In winter you will often see the property at its worst.

 

Do be prepared to negotiate to get the best deal for you – your lawyer can help with this.

 

Do be patient, and prepared to wait for that dream property.

” Winter Selling Tips “

  • Clear snow and ice away from walkways and stairs. If you live in an area with lots of snow and ice, keep walking areas salted and shoveled. Buyers and agents want to see that your home is well maintained, and, of course, you’re not likely to wow a house hunter if they fall on the way in and break a leg. Learn more about boosting your winter curb appeal.
  • Stage it outside. Even if the grass is brown and the patio is snow-covered, you can still do some outdoor staging. Tasteful winter wreaths and garlands can make your home seem welcoming. Just like inside the house, pick decorations that will appeal to a wide variety of buyers — blow-up snow globes and giant plastic Santa’s are probably no-nos. Learn more about staging for the holidays.
  • Make it cozy.

When it’s cold outside, a toasty, warm interior is sure to appeal to buyers. If you have a wood or gas stove or fireplace, a showing or open house is the perfect time to light it up and show it off. Burn some scented candles and place warm, fuzzy throws on the furniture to make your house seem even homier.

  • Clean up your windows.

In the winter, dull, dusty windows can go unnoticed. Making them sparkling clean will let much-needed light in. You can have a gorgeous room, but if the windows are dirty, it won’t look as beautiful or as bright. Pull back dark window treatments and adding a shade or valance for a touch of color. Or, you can also replace window treatments with ecru or white sheers for an elegant look.

” Don’t overbid at real estate auctions “

While it’s possible to get a deal on your dream home at the auction house, buying a home at auction isn’t always a bargain. The starting price may seem reasonable, but several bidders can force the price well over market value.

Avoid overbidding by doing research. Are any outstanding property taxes or liens that you’d have to pay for upon purchase? What are comparable homes in the area selling for? Is the neighborhood on the way up or on the way out? On auction day, set a strict budget and don’t let emotions take hold of your paddle in a bidding war.

” Do invest in a professional inspection “


Sellers don’t always disclose the whole truth to potential buyers, or they might have done a Band-Aid job to cover up issues until the deal closes. The average home buyer takes 15 minutes or less to choose a home, but many potential problems, like plumbing and wiring trouble, might not be visible to the naked eye.
Home inspectors can look beyond the fresh coat of paint to find costly underlying problems. Splurge on an experience professional — it will save you time, money and house-induced heartache later on.

” Showing the Property to the Tenants “

Showing units can be a pain because 50% of the time, tenants will not show up. To combat this, I use one of two techniques:

  1. I give them the address to drive by first and tell them to call me back if they are interested in seeing the inside. This eliminates the people who are disinterested because of the location.
  2. I try to “batch” all the showings to one time. I will tell all the callers that I will be at the house from “5:00 to 5:30 on Friday afternoon” and if they want to see it – show up then. Having multiple tenants look at a property at the same time can be a little bit awkward, but it creates a sense of competition and scarcity which allows for more applications.

It’s also a good idea to include the criteria and application process with the application. This makes it easy for the prospective tenant to understand how the process is going to work and gives you yet another way to pre-screen for duds.