Tag: 上海贵族宝贝

Nigerian forces retake strategic town of Bama

first_imgBoko Haram has been ousted from the town of Bama which is very strategicNigeria’s military says it has taken control Bama a town in the North East of the country that was under the control of Boko Haram.The army declared the victory saying several fighters were killed in the process.It is continuing with its operation against the militants in Bama the second largest town in Borno state.Boko Haram was reportedly also ousted from Goniri, its last base in neighboring Yobe state.The group recently swore allegiance to the Islamic State militants based in Syria and Iraq an allegiance that was accepted by the ISIS.The violence in Nigeria has killed more than 13,000 people since 2009.The conflict has since spread to neighboring countries, including Chad and Cameroon.Reports say Bama is an important town because of its closeness to the state capital Maiduguri and has witnessed some of the worst violence during this insurgency.The town was attacked several times by the jihadists before they captured it six months ago, our correspondent says.The military said those jihadists who fled Bama headed for the border with Chad and it had requested the Chadian army to pursue them.last_img read more

Syracuse shows improved doubles performance in 5-2 win over Pittsburgh

first_imgRhiann Newborn smashed an ace past her opponent and she turned to her doubles partner, Breanna Bachini, as both girls screamed and pumped their fists.A “Let’s go, Orange!” chant from the Syracuse team thundered through Drumlins Tennis Center.The Pittsburgh pair — Molly Wickman and Amber Washington — battled back against the Orange with lobs and drop shots as the struggle to win the doubles point carried on.“(The doubles point) was big,” Newborn said. “The match depended on us winning or losing. Coach told me to take it out when (Wickman) lobbed it.”No. 34 Syracuse (6-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast) eventually won the doubles point and bested Pitt (2-7, 0-4), 5-2, to pick up its first conference victory on the season. While the match didn’t yield a three-match doubles sweep — something head coach Younes Limam has looked for all season – it showed the improvement in Syracuse’s doubles attack and carried momentum into the singles section.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange evened its doubles record on the year to 5-5 after losing the doubles point to Notre Dame on Friday. SU is also still adjusting to conference-style doubles play, which is a first-to-eight format rather than the nonconference first-to-six format.“(The last doubles) was quite a match,” Limam said. “I definitely think it was gusty. We came in big in (the last doubles) and we had a chance to win the second match. I’m proud of the effort.”Komal Safdar and Valeria Salazar, formerly ranked as the 59th-best doubles pair in the nation, beat Pitt’s pairing of Katherine Castro and Lolade Ogungbesan, 8-2. Castro and Ogungsbesan, while unranked, had beaten a Notre Dame duo, then-ranked 14th, earlier in the season.Safdar and Salazar used their aggressive net play to force bad angles — and worse shots — in their favor. The SU duo forced quick reactions, spins, pirouettes and backhands until a Pitt unforced error ended the point.“We had the team all united,” Safdar said. “We had the fans and involved and that’s what made the difference.”In Syracuse’s last doubles match, freshman Nicole Mitchell and senior Amanda Rodgers faced Pitt’s Callie Frey and Audrey Ann Blakely. The 8-7 Pittsburgh victory was decided on a tiebreak and Mitchell and Rodgers had battled back from an early hole.That’s when Bachini and Newborn closed out the doubles point for Syracuse with an 8-7 (7-4) win.“When you’re winning points, it gives you momentum,” Safdar said. “The closer doubles point definitely gave us momentum going into the singles.”Newborn said she felt a shift in match momentum when she sent the winner past Pitt to close the doubles play. Her opponents were intimidated and her confidence was boosted, she said.Rodgers said the momentum from the doubles point, combined with her frustration at failing to capture the third set in her match on Friday, helped her adopt a better mentality and win her three-set singles match, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.“Doubles was huge for us today,” Limam said. “Winning the doubles and going into the singles in great position. We got out to a fast start. That’s something we talked about. We’re very glad we got the W today.” Comments Published on March 1, 2015 at 6:19 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Mandir showdown leads to multiple charges

first_imgA dispute between members of two families in Patentia, West Bank Demerara, which escalated on April 14 at the Patentia Mandir has led to multiple charges over threatening behavior.At the Wales Magistrate’s Court on Monday, Danmattie Sooknauth, 58, of Patentia Housing Scheme was placed on self-bail after she entered a not guilty plea on the charge of abusive language to Vindawattie Sookram. The married housewife who has three children, will return to court on July 29.Meanwhile, Sugnauth Sookram, 31, son of Vindawattie pleaded not guilty to the charge which alleged that on April 14 he unlawfully assaulted Roopnand Sooknauth [husband of Vindawattie] at the Patentia Mandir. The defendant who is a taxi driver was placed on $10,000 bail and will make his next court appearance on July 23.According the Prosecution’s case, the altercations between the two families exploded after a young man attached to the Sooknauths reportedly confiscated a quantity of Parsad [Hindu sweetmeat] during a Navratri observance at the Patentia Mandir. This caused a row between the two families where abusive language was hurled and some individuals assaulted.Vidawattie Sookram was previously accused of physically assaulting Danmattie Sooknauth while Roopchand Sugnauth was charged on April 25 for assault and bodily harm.last_img read more

49ers draft: What do Nick Bosa, others defensive ends offer?

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceSANTA CLARA – Here is a look at not only the top draft prospects but others who might fit with the 49ers. Today’s category: defensive ends.HIGH-FIVE1. Nick Bosa, Ohio State (6-4, 266): His NFL genes and beefy frame — if healthy — make him an ideal bookend opposite edge rusher Dee Ford. Aside from his impressive but limited college film, the 49ers know him well from at least four pre-draft meetings. 2. Josh …last_img read more

New Camera Imitates Eyeball

first_imgScientists at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have succeeded in manufacturing stretchable optical electronic sensors on curved surfaces.  This will open up a whole new world of new imaging products – inventions that imitate the human eyeball.  The team said this about the eyeball in their paper in Nature:1 The human eye is a remarkable imaging device, with many attractive design features.  Prominent among these is a hemispherical detector geometry, similar to that found in many other biological systems, that enables a wide field of view and low aberrations with simple, few-component imaging optics.  This type of configuration is extremely difficult to achieve using established optoelectronics technologies, owing to the intrinsically planar nature of the patterning, deposition, etching, materials growth and doping methods that exist for fabricating such systems.  Here we report strategies that avoid these limitations, and implement them to yield high-performance, hemispherical electronic eye cameras based on single-crystalline silicon…. In a general sense, these methods, taken together with our theoretical analyses of their associated mechanics, provide practical routes for integrating well-developed planar device technologies onto the surfaces of complex curvilinear objects, suitable for diverse applications that cannot be addressed by conventional means.Commenting on this new technology in the same issue of Nature,2 Takao Someya (U of Tokyo) remarked that flat-field imagers used up till now suffer from distortion and non-uniform brightness.  He said that the new breakthrough came because the researchers “have drawn inspiration from animals’ eyes and have succeeded in eliminating these fundamental limitations of conventional artificial-vision systems.”  What can we expect from this invention?  Compact health-monitoring devices, ultra-compact cameras with less distortion, adaptive focusing mechanisms, and more gadgets for industry and the home – maybe high-resolution, bright cell-phone cameras, for instance.    Someya even foresees using the technology to imitate insects’ compound eyes “with exceptional dynamic visual acuity” and fish eyes “that have a 360° field of view.”  It’s an exceptional advance in optical engineering, he said.  Where did it come from?  “These and other types of biologically inspired device should become feasible given the advances in optical engineering made possible by the advent of geometrically transformable and stretchable-compressible electronics and optoelectronics” – something animals, insects and fish have had all along.    The UK Telegraph said this invention “heralds a cyborg revolution.”  Reporter Roger Highfield quoted team member John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  “We believe that some of the most compelling areas of future application involve the intimate, conformal integration of electronics with the human body, in ways that are inconceivable using established technologies,” he said.  “This approach allows us to put electronics in places where we couldn’t before.  We can now, for the first time, move device design beyond the flatland constraints of conventional systems.”  See also the Science Daily report.1.  Rogers, Ko et al, “A hemispherical electronic eye camera based on compressible silicon optoelectronics,” Nature 454, 748-753 (7 August 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07113.2.  Takao Someya, “Optics: Electronic eyeballs,” Nature 454, 703-704 (7 August 2008) | doi:10.1038/454703a.How much did this discovery owe to the theory of evolution?  Zip.  The word was absent in all the papers and articles about it.  How much did it depend on intelligent design (i.e., reverse-engineering a contrivance with “attractive design features”)?  That was the whole point.    Now, if they can get their silicon eyes to work for 90 years, clean themselves, repair themselves, focus themselves, adjust themselves, point themselves, automatically process images, automatically concentrate on useful information, perform at 126 megapixel resolution with motion imaging and reproduce themselves, they will begin to approach the engineering your Creator installed in your eye sockets.  Let’s give credit where it’s due.  Speaking of long-lasting performance, Methuselah’s eyes apparently lasted 969 years.Footnote:  The prior week, Nature allowed the foul-mouthed, profane blooter for evolution, PZ Myers, to rant about the “scourge of creationism” in his review of a pro-evolution book by Ken Miller (07/31/2008 issue.)  Having eyes, they see not.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA to limit trans-fats in foods

first_imgAccording to the department, it was accomplished without noticeable effects on the availability, price or quality of foods previously containing high amounts of industrially processed trans-fatty acids. Alternative processing technologies Stakeholder consultation “It is the intention of the department to consult and provide an opportunity for those members of the food industry who will be affected to give inputs or comments on the proposed new legislation,” the department said in a statement last week. The legislation will affect all manufactured and pre-packaged foodstuffs, as well as foods prepared by restaurants and fast food outlets, containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient, or where such oil is used for deep frying. The Department of Health is to develop legislation aimed at limiting certain trans-fats in processed and prepared foods in South Africa. It is hoped that the new legislation will contribute to the reduction of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and obesity – all of which are associated with the presence of trans-fatty acids in one’s diet. The department is expected to consult stakeholders on the legislation, and will conduct a workshop on 22 October to provide an opportunity for inputs. The venue for the workshop has yet to be confirmed.center_img 19 October 2009 The workshop will include representatives of the industry, bodies dealing with diseases of lifestyle such as the Cancer Association of South Africa, as well as academic and research institutions involved in the promotion of healthy nutrition. It said manufacturers could use either alternative technologies for processing vegetable oil without the harmful effects on health, or choose to use more appropriate types of fats and oils in their products. Naturally occurring trans-fatty acids in animal fats, such as in dairy products and meat, are excluded from the proposed new legislation, as they are believed to have certain health benefits. Countries such as Denmark, Canada and the United States have introduced similar legislation since 2003. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Video Tutorial: Creating a 3D Timeline in After Effects

first_imgDisplay dates visually with a 3D timeline! In this After Effects tutorial you’ll learn how to create a dynamic timeline animation – great for documentary or corporate video projects.If you’re looking for a powerful way to showcase a chronology of events in your video projects – this After Effects tutorial has got you covered. In this AE video tutorial we’ll create a 3D timeline, complete with dates and images (although the images can easily be swapped out for video).This After Effects animation project can be completed with the tools in the app – no 3rd party filters or plugins required. You’ll learn how to create the visual timeline ticks and date markers using After Effects shape layers. Then, you’ll animate the timeline through 3D space using a combination of After Effects expressions, keyframes and the AE camera.This is an intermediate After Effects tutorial, so previous experience and familiarity working in AE is encouraged.Best viewed full screen:[color-box color=”gray”] This is Evan Abrams for Premium Beat.com and today we are going to be creating a 3D timeline in After Effects for playing photos and dates. We are going to be a bunch of tiny things, build them into a timeline and then show you how to quickly replace the content in those things with the pieces you really want.The first thing to do in After Effects is going to be create a new composition, and we are going to call this composition, Timeline Segment. The first thing you want to do is create the smallest parts possible, and then assemble those into larger parts, and then assemble those parts into your final piece. So we’re calling this timeline Segments, because we’re going to make segments we can use to build a timeline. We’re going to use the HDTV 1024 per second preset, and we’re going to use a duration of one minute, because the longest this comp is going to be is going to be a minute so we want all of the parts to be around for all of that time. We’re going to put a rectangle in there so just take your rectangle and double click and we’ll make a shape layer with a rectangle in it, and within that rectangle, we are going to change the size. It’ll be 4×50, that is 50 on the vertical and 4 on the horizontal, and we’re going to use a fill color that is 25% bright, and that’ll do for now. So the first thing we need to do is, since we are creating a timeline of days and months, is we have to create the units by which that scale will be measured. Visually I’m just going to cheat a little bit and I am going to go add Repeater and I’m going to set the Repeater to create 30 copies to represent the roughly 30 days that go into a month, and we need to have the transform repeater only move these 10 at a time.We now have what represents a month of tiny ticks here so we want 30 and then we need to times that by 12 for the 12 months which will compute all the months that we need. Now we need to have a marker for all of those months so I’m just going to duplicate this layer, hit UU to bring up everything I changed about it, and now I’m going to change the size to be 5 times 75, so it is both thicker and taller, and copy is going to need to be 12, but we need to change the spacing in between them all to be quite a bit larger. We know the spacing between each of the days is 10 and there are 30 of them in each segment. We are just going to take 10 and times that by 3 to give us 300 and now we have populated text that will stand in for the months.Now we also need a final set of ticks that are going to stand in for the years so we’re just going to duplicate this, and hit UU to bring up all of its properties, delete the repeater because it doesn’t need to be repeated, and it is now going to be 7 wide by 100 tall and that will stand as our marker for years. So we have years, days, and months being displayed, so I am going to change these to say year ticks, and then the next shape will be month ticks, and then the final shape will be day ticks. And you want to make sure you have them labeled so you know what they are.And now this is the final step, I am going to set them all to be three dimensional so that when I start using collapse formations, which are these and other comps, we will render them all correctly. So this is the timeline segment. We are now going to take that timeline segment, drag it on to a comp and create a whole new timeline.We are just going to rename this timeline Complete because it is going to be the completed timeline and this timeline segment, we are going to create collapse transformations on and make it 3D as well. Now we can duplicate and manipulate this in 3D space. So, we are going to duplicate it, and we know that we want it to start at the end of the other comp. so what we can do is we can call up the position of these and we can use an expression to make sure that this comp is at the end of this comp. So we are going to write an expression, then Alt, click on the Stopwatch, and we’re going to type in, “value plus” and then in the square brackets, “x,0,0”, and then we just need to go one line up and then define what “x” is equaled to, and just expand this so we can see what we’re doing. It’s going to give me an error because I existed prematurely, so we are going to say “x=” and it’s going to equal the index value-1 so if we have an index of 2, which is this number here, we would like it to be 1 so index minus 1 would generate a number, put that in round brackets and then multiply that number by 3600. And it’s 3600 because we have 12 months and each of those is spaced out by 300 so the total length of this thing is actually 3600 units so you can see by accepting that it pushes it to the end of the other one. So, now we just duplicate as many of those as you need. We’re going to have a total of five segments. And you can see when we go to a custom view 1that we have a timeline extended out into space.So now what we need to do is call up the positions of all of these, and we want to go from it having to be expression oriented to be key frame oriented, so we are going to go, animation, key firm assistant, convert expressions to key frames”, and what this will do is basically it will “bake” their positions so they cannot be changed when the index values change. So hit the stopwatch and remove all of those and now you’ve had the computer stick all of these in a line for you. If you need more than five, go ahead and make more than five, but do the entire process for all of those. So this is the timeline completed, but now we need to put elements on the timeline, so we’re going to create a marker that indicates where the years are and we will need to create a frame in which we can put content. So I am going to create a new comp, and I’m going to call this marker. Hit OK, and in the marker comp, I’m just going to make a simple rectangle. So make that rectangle by double clicking again.Open up its properties here, and change it to be something like 500 by 250 or maybe even 500 by 100, so it will create a small marker. And then inside that, we are also going to create a polygon and this polygon we’re going to change into being a triangle, and now we’re just going to go ahead and change its rotation to 90 degrees, and bring the outer radius down, and we’ll just align it to be correctly situated here as a point coming off of the rectangle, so you might want to go in there and just get really close to it, and do some fine adjustment of these things, so you have this path here. Go ahead and zoom in and use your arrow keys to nudge it into place so that there are no erroneous pixels and that looks good.So the next thing you want to do is just use its anchor point to align it in the center and we’ll do that by calling up the title in action safe, adjust the anchor point here until it comes to rest on the point of this object so everything will be in reference to the center of this comp. Now we go back to the timeline here, and we’ll just install the marker out there somewhere so you have the marker out there. We’re going to change the color to fuchsia and we’re going to make it 3D and now we will go in and position it somewhere that we want it. We’re going to take this and we’re going to parent it say to the second timeline segment so the next one along, and then will we parent it, we’ll call up the position and the rotation. First the rotation, we need to rotate it a good 90 degrees so the orientation is now 0-90-0, and then we just need to push this back until it arrives at the start of that line, and it’s going to be at 960 along.Now if we use the camera tools by cycling rules by cycling through hitting “c”, we can move this comp along to see exactly where this is positioned, and we just need to move this up a little bit so it is above the line of this timeline so that will put it at 960, 500 which is quite agreeable, and you can move this up even higher if you would like, so maybe even at 450, just so that it will floats above the line. And if you would rather have this tilted in or tilted out or tilted wherever, it’s totally up to you. In the original example, it was tilted in at 000 so I guess we’ll leave it there for this.The next component we want to make is the frame, so I’ll make a new comp. We’ll call this Frame, and within this we’re going to create again a rounded rectangle so that means we go into the rectangle here, and we set it’s roundness to be about 25 on its size. We are going to unlink those, and then we’re going to subtract 100 from each of these values so that sets it right there, and then we’re going to duplicate this layer and called his first one Frame Back, and we’re going to call this one Frame Cover and we’re going to duplicate that again and just call this one Frame. And so on Frame Cover, hit “UU”. I’m going to subtract 100 from these values again just to bring it in, and we’re going to give it a stroke of 10 and we’re going to leave it with a fifth so that’s okay. And the frame of above it, we’re going to give it a stroke of 10 and we’ll change its size down minus 100 on each of these so it’s the same size as the thing below it.The cover will basically define the alpha of a picture so just go ahead and grab a picture and I’m going to use one random pulled from Wikipedia, and make it large enough to fit in here and then we’re going to take the frame cover and make sure it’s the alpha mat of that picture. and then the frame on the top here just take its fill away. So that looks pretty good. The next thing to do here is on the Frame Back we want to go to its fill and make sure that it has an opacity change on its fill to be 50 percent or less, and give it a stroke to about 10 as well. So everything has strokes on here and you’ve created a frame of this thing so the frame is a picture and we’re ready to integrate this into our timeline. So we go to timeline complete. We would like to bring out the frame so let’s just place it above everything and we’re going to make it 3D, and now we need to position it basically where the marker is so we’re going to take it and parent it to the same layer here and then we’re going to call of its position in rotation and we’re going to put 960 and the orientation we’ll put 90 so it’s oriented correctly there. And now we’re going to use the anchor point to shift this all the way out so we’re just going to set this at 0 and then we’ll have to adjust this as we go. So we basically have our first piece is done on the timeline and so let’s change the color so that we’ll know where they are. So the timeline elements you see here are all the sandstone and then we have an orange and a fuchsia.We’re now going to take this timeline complete, drag it onto a new comp, make these 3D and collapse its transformations and then set it to be the active camera, and we’re going to create a new null object and a new camera and we’re going to make it a 50mm preset, and we’re going to go with two on the F stops and give it a blur level of 200 percent, and we’re going to take the camera and parent it to the null object. The null object we’re going to continue to move back and then we’re going to move up and down or to the side to get everything we want in frames, so we can see that as we animate that along, everything moves and rotates and comes into view so that is so far so good. So now we’re going to have a camera hang out there for another 50 frames, set a key frame for the position and we going to move ahead a bunch of other frames and set a new key frame by adding to the 3600 here so we just take this value and we go “+ 3600” because we know that is the distance to the next stop or however you’ve mathematically calculated that out to be, and now we need to add content here that we’re going to be looking at as well. If you go into the timeline, and since you already know that everything is well framed up outside, we’re just going to duplicate the frame and marker, shift them to be under the other frame and marker, and we’re going to set them to be parented to the next layer down basically. And now we’re going to go into their position, and then change these to be 960 again, which will fit them correctly right where they need to be here.Now in order to go through and complete the rest of the timeline, you’re just going to be duplicating the same steps you already did. So once you have all of these placeholders in, you’re going to want to take this framed comp you did over in the timeline, and you’re going to duplicate it, which will make Frame 2 and duplicated begin to make Frame 3, and the same with the marker. You’re going to duplicate, duplicate so that you have new instances that you can use to edit. For example, then you could go into Frame 2. You can go in here and make changes. You can swap this out for a new thing. You can just edit this one, for example, so that you can tell the difference, we’re going to fill this in with red real quick, and then we go back into the timeline. Then we go into frame, and we want to change this to be Frame 2, while hold down Alt, and after you’ve selected both of these things, click and drag, and then you’ve changed the one in to the new one. Then when we go back and we look at the final year, we’ve made that change can and now that is the new thing. And you need to just continue this process all the way down the line so that’s how you fill out the timeline. Now you can smooth out your new timeline by taking all of these key frames, hitting F9 to easy ease them, and then what I do is I go in here to the position and I take the last key frame, and I drag its handle so that you smooth into the motion a lot more so it accelerate hard at the get go and then moves slowly into it.These are basic methods and techniques by which you will create a 3D timeline. The rest of it is all going to be style and totally up to you but the idea is you want to create smaller units, use those tiny units to make big things. Then duplicate instances and replace them with unique instances so that you’re able to make create the entire timeline.So this has been Evan Abrams for Premiumbeat.com, showing you the basics on how to create a 3D time line or really any kind of complex 3D object, but in this case it’s been a timeline. Hopefully you have found this helpful and come to premiummeat.com and check our blog for all sort of tricks and After Effects and other programs, and of course come to Premiumbeat for all of your royalty free music and audio FX, because really no timeline is ever complete without excellent music and a whooshing sound when you go between eras. So again, I’m Evan Abrams, thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you next time if you subscribe which you should because there’s new stuff coming to Premiumbeat all the time. Thanks a lot and have a nice day. [/color-box]last_img read more

a month agoBlackmore calls for Man Utd to bring back Ibrahimovic

first_imgBlackmore calls for Man Utd to bring back Ibrahimovicby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United midfielder and coach Clayton Blackmore says they should re-sign LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.Ibrahimovic is thriving in the MLS having scored 49 goals in 50 starts for LA Galaxy.“I definitely think we should ask Zlatan to come back, we need a target man – he’s the best target in the world,” Blackmore is quoted by the Daily Express.“6ft 5in black belt, he’s proved in the MLS he can still do it.“I thought we let him go because his knee was dodgy – we’ve now given Zlatan and [Wayne] Rooney [away] for nothing.”We won [the] Europa League, League Cup and Community Shield when he played for us.“Thirteen years ago, the Barcelona goalie out-run Zlatan – he doesn’t run much yet he scores goals [at] every club he plays for.“We need a target man so all our kids with pace can play off him [in a] 4-4-2 [system], and close [them] down quicker.”Here ends the lesson, it’s a no-brainer.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Yukon men have issues with Yukon Men show

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe television series Yukon Men shows a world where people make a living by hunting and trapping game.But the show also has its critics.Some people in the Yukon want the show to change its name.APTN’s Shirley McLean has the [email protected]: @mcsquirllast_img

The Pitchers With The Best New Stuff This Season

Montgomery again! He shows up twice on my lists: No. 1 under MLB’s most-improved four-seamers and also among its most-improved curveballs. As was the case with his fastball, Montgomery managed to pick up more than 3 mph on his curve, to go with almost 700 extra rpm; it now breaks just over 50 percent more than it did last season. Those two drastically improved pitches go a long way toward explaining how Montgomery’s ERA has dropped to half of what it was during his lackluster 2015 season.We tend to frame velocity changes in terms of a pitcher’s fastball, but a slower curveball can cause problems, too. The Kansas City Royals’ Yordano Ventura has maintained his four-seam heat just fine, but he’s lost about 2 mph of velocity (plus some spin) on his curveball. All else being equal, slower pitches — of all types — are less effective because they give the batter more time to react and decide whether to swing. Perhaps for that reason, Ventura’s curve has gone from his best pitch to a far more mediocre offering, just as his ERA and fielding independent pitching have ballooned.Change-ups PITCHERCHANGE/100 5Randall Delgado-0.445John Lamb+0.31 3Mike Montgomery-0.543Jordan Lyles+0.34 8Vance Worley-0.108R.A. Dickey+0.09 10Trevor May-0.2910Hector Neris+0.22 3David Phelps-0.363CC Sabathia+0.41 7Hector Santiago-0.277Chris Sale+0.34 Every major league pitcher’s career is built from the raw materials of his pitch repertoire. Whether fastball, cutter or curve, all of a hurler’s offerings have to work together to help him confuse hitters and evade bats. And with a couple of months of 2016 PITCHf/x data in the books, I wanted to find out which players’ individual pitches have improved the most relative to last year.First, I had to quantify “improvement.”1I used PitchInfo data for all the analysis in this piece, since it corrects for park effects and improves on MLB Advanced Media’s raw pitch classifications. For each pitch type I looked at — four-seam fastball, slider, curve and change-up — I built a model to predict how much the pitch’s run value depended on its velocity versus spin rate.2Specifically, I used a mixed model that factored out the effects of the batter, pitcher, catcher and count in order to home in on the value of velocity and break for each pitch type. Then I looked at all the pitchers who had thrown more than 500 pitches each in both 2015 and 2016 and calculated the change in value for each pitch type in a pitcher’s arsenal, based on how its velocity and spin changed.Most pitches stayed close to their 2015 predecessors. For instance, the correlation between 2015 and 2016 for velocity on four-seam fastballs was 0.9, and the average velocity changed by only three-quarters of a mph, so it’s rare for a pitcher to completely reinvent a pitch from year to year. But whether because of injury or even a new grip, some individual pitches did change substantially. Here are the biggest year-over-year improvements — and declines — for each pitch in 2016, starting with fastballs:Fastballs 6Jesse Hahn-0.306Dallas Keuchel+0.36 Negative run values are better — the pitcher is allowing fewer runs.Source: Pitchinfo LARGEST IMPROVEMENTSLARGEST DECLINES Negative run values are better — the pitcher is allowing fewer runs.Source: Pitchinfo 5Dillon Gee-0.355Carlos Torres+0.34 LARGEST IMPROVEMENTSLARGEST DECLINES Biggest changes in four-seam fastballs from 2015 to 2016, by change in runs per 100 pitches 2Mike Wright-0.542Madison Bumgarner+0.36 Change-ups are generally deployed less frequently than the other pitch types I’ve mentioned, but they can be particularly potent weapons against opposite-handed batters. One pitcher who seems to have discovered this is lefty Padres starter Christian Friedrich, who has traditionally struggled to retire righties. With more reliance on a newfound change-up that spins nearly twice as much as last year’s version, Friedrich has managed to lower his weighted on-base average allowed to right-handers from .409 to .274, and his overall results have improved as well (2.12 ERA, 3.36 FIP).But then there’s Kendall Graveman, who shows up on three of the lists: He has the most-improved slider, fourth-most-improved fastball and the ninth-most-improved change-up. In theory, Graveman should be using his array of better pitches to overwhelm hitters; instead, he’s sporting a poor 5.28 ERA, an even worse 5.29 FIP and a depressingly sub-replacement-level WAR. When pitchers modify their repertoires, they tend to trade speed for spin, or vice versa. But in his transition from starter to bullpen ace, Seattle Mariners thrower Mike Montgomery has managed to add both speed and spin to his four-seam fastball this year, rapidly making it one of the most fearsome offerings in MLB. Montgomery’s heater now averages 95 mph, up from 91.3 mph last year, and it spins more than 150 revolutions per minute faster, giving it more “rise” than most fastballs.Montgomery’s trip to the bullpen at age 26 revitalized his fastball, but that makes him an exception: Most pitchers see their stuff decline from year to year. Specifically, pitchers tend to surrender velocity as they age, forcing them to become craftier — or lose their jobs. Take Dallas Keuchel, last year’s American League Cy Young winner, as an example of a pitcher with a deteriorating fastball: He’s lost almost 2 mph off his four-seamer since 2015, along with 290 rpm of rotation. PITCHERCHANGE/100 Biggest changes in change-ups from 2015 to 2016, by change in runs per 100 pitches 3Colin Rea-0.193Kevin Gausman+0.13 PITCHERCHANGE/100 PITCHERCHANGE/100 4Noah Syndergaard-0.374Alexi Ogando+0.40 1Jesse Hahn-0.551Jaime Garcia+0.53 6Nathan Eovaldi-0.346Brandon Maurer+0.34 PITCHERCHANGE/100 2Vance Worley-0.532Brett Oberholtzer+0.57 9Wily Peralta-0.329Chris Hatcher+0.23 4Kendall Graveman-0.314David Price+0.41 9Doug Fister-0.239John Lamb+0.29 Negative run values are better — the pitcher is allowing fewer runs.Source: Pitchinfo 6Mike Montgomery-0.126Adam Conley+0.10 1Kendall Graveman-0.541Aaron Sanchez+0.81 5Archie Bradley-0.175Derek Holland+0.12 Negative run values are better — the pitcher is allowing fewer runs.Source: Pitchinfo PITCHERCHANGE/100 3Robbie Ray-0.383Anibal Sanchez+0.41 9Martin Perez-0.319Johnny Cueto+0.26 8Martin Perez-0.268Jacob deGrom+0.29 LARGEST IMPROVEMENTSLARGEST DECLINES Biggest changes in curveballs from 2015 to 2016, by change in runs per 100 pitches 6Taijuan Walker-0.356Mat Latos+0.29 LARGEST IMPROVEMENTSLARGEST DECLINES PITCHERCHANGE/100 2Cody Anderson-0.422Taylor Jungmann+0.41 10Andrew Cashner-0.3010David Price+0.25 10Jhoulys Chacin-0.2210Marcus Stroman+0.29 7Robbie Ray-0.347Yordano Ventura+0.26 9Kendall Graveman-0.099Madison Bumgarner+0.08 Keuchel’s ERA is up more than 3 runs this year, and although not all of that can be pinned on his sagging fastball,3A loss of 2 mph would lead us to predict that Keuchel would allow only about 0.6 more runs per nine innings, so some element of bad luck is also likely at play. it’s a concerning drop-off for a pitcher whose stuff wasn’t exactly overpowering in the first place.Sliders Biggest changes in sliders from 2015 to 2016, by change in runs per 100 pitches 8Carlos Villanueva-0.328Chad Bettis+0.26 1Christian Friedrich-0.221Justin Miller+0.19 2Alfredo Simon-0.212David Price+0.15 PITCHERCHANGE/100 4Mike Foltynewicz-0.174Colby Lewis+0.13 4Adam Morgan-0.504Jose Quintana+0.34 7Trevor Bauer-0.337Randall Delgado+0.31 7Cody Anderson-0.117John Lamb+0.10 10Scott Feldman-0.0810Shelby Miller+0.08 It doesn’t rank No. 1, but perhaps the most impressive of all slider improvements has come from the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard, given the difficulty of tacking 3.5 mph on to what was already the ninth-hardest slider in the game. Although the man they call Thor has seen his slider slow a bit since his initial April outings — its average velocity has fallen from 93 mph heat to 91 mph — it’s still the fastest in baseball, and the increase has made it borderline unhittable. 5Danny Duffy-0.305John Danks+0.39 1Mike Montgomery-0.501Mike Leake+0.56 8Jose Alvarez-0.338Justin Verlander+0.26 Not bad for a pitch he threw only 2 percent of the time a year ago!Syndergaard gained all of that velocity at the cost of some spin on his slider, giving it slightly less horizontal movement.4Among sliders, the correlation between changes in velocity and spin rate was a statistically significant -0.34. Even more so than with the fastball, the trade-off between a slider’s speed and spin rate is a delicate balance that can make or break its effectiveness.Curveballs A former prospect, Graveman hasn’t converted his stuff into measurably good results, joining the long list of pitchers whose raw ability doesn’t translate into dominance on the mound.That’s why every hurler is more than just the sum of his pitches. Individual offerings play off each other in unexpected — and still inexplicable — ways. A pitcher’s stuff can be fantastic, but without command and control, the results will be poor. Factors such as deception and sequencing still resist most sabermetric analysis, and so a significant part of how pitching works remains unknown. In other words, we can measure what makes a pitch great, but it’s much more difficult to figure out what makes a pitcher excel. read more