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Island Belle SwStr - History

Island Belle SwStr - History



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Island Belle

(SwStr: t. 123, 1. 100'; b. 20'4"; dph. 6'7"; a. 1 32-pdr., 1 12-pdr. rifle)

Island Belle was purchased at New York from Luther Adams 4 September 1861. She fitted out at Washington Navy Yard and sailed 17 September to join the Potomac Flotilla. She served in the Potomac as a tug and a dispatch boat occasionally exchanging fire with batteries and riflemen on the Virginia shore. She sailed; to Hampton Roads, Va., 19 March 1862 escorting transports carrying troops to Fort Monroe in preparation for the Peninsular campaign against Richmond. She returned to Washington as soon as the soldiers were disembarked and again got underway for Hampton Roads escorting a second division of transports 23 March.

Island Belle devoted most of April and May to reconnaissance work, searching the Virginia rivers between Washington and Richmond for information valuable to either the Army or the Navy.

Island Belle was transferred to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron 22 May. Two days later Flag Officer Goldborough assigned her to duty in the James River where the Navy was valiantly supporting the left flank of General McClellan's mighty force as it advanced up the peninsula toward Richmond. She steamed up the James 25 May, carefully observing the river banks to detect any signs of Confederate military activity. When she joined Commander William Smith, the senior Naval offlcer on the James, he used Island Belle in a wide variety of ways. He sent her on reconnaissance missions to learn about enemy defenses in the Chickahominy River and other tributaries of the James; he entrusted her with his messages to General McClellan and to the other ships of his command; he used her to carry coal to the hungry furnaces of his steamships; and he kept her on call to help refioat ships which often ran aground in the tricky and everchanging currents of the river.

On 26 June Island Belle steamed up the shallow Appomattox River in an attempt to destroy the railroad bridge at Petersburg. The next day she ran hard aground. After strenuous efforts failed to redoat her. Island Belle was burned 28 June 1862 to prevent her falling into Confederate hands.


Setauket-East Setauket, New York

Setauket / s ə ˈ t ɔː k ɪ t / is a census-designated place (CDP) in Suffolk County, New York, on the North Shore of Long Island. As of the 2010 United States Census, the CDP population was 15,477. [1] The CDP encompassed the hamlets of Setauket (formerly West Setauket) and East Setauket. It was founded in 1655, the first settlement in what would become the Town of Brookhaven. As of 2020, Setauket-East Setauket was split into two separate CDPs called Setauket and East Setauket. [2]

Setauket was founded as an agricultural community in the mid-17th century, and was a regional center of activity during the American Revolutionary War noted for the Culper spy ring and the Battle of Setauket. Many of Setauket's early structures are intact and now form the Old Setauket Historic District. The Setaukets remain a mostly residential area, while bordering the more commercial enclaves of Port Jefferson and Stony Brook. The handful of businesses within the community largely cater to the over 24,500 students of Stony Brook University, which is adjacent to the CDP.


Boblo Island then and now: See historic photos and amusement park remains

Boblo Island Amusement Park ran from 1898 to 1993. This place brings back a lot of memories for many people in our region. Here are both historic pictures and pics of what the remains of the amusement park look like today. There's even old TV commercials.

Photo of the passageway to and from the docks taken by Emily Rose Bennett | MLive

The Boblo boats - 1970s

Photographer Joe Clark. Series: DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency's Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern, 1972 - 1977, via National Archives and Records Administration

From the top deck of the SS St. Claire, passengers watch the SS Columbia (built in 1902). Both vessels are bound for Boblo Island.

90-year old Captain Bob-Lo greets passengers - 1970s

Photographer Joe Clark. Series: DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency's Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern, 1972 - 1977, via National Archives and Records Administration

The Boblo boat took passengers on an 18-mile cruise down the Detroit river to Boblo Island Amusement Park.

Boarding the Boblo Boat - 1970s

Photographer Joe Clark. Series: DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency's Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern, 1972 - 1977, via National Archives and Records Administration

This photo shows people boarding the SS St. Claire (built in 1910) bound for Boblo Island.

The SS Ste. Claire - 2015

Photo: Tanya Moutzalias | [email protected]

The 106-year-old classic excursion steamer Ste. Claire, which used to take passengers to Boblo Island, sits on the Detroit River in August 2015.

On board the SS Ste. Claire - 2015

Photo from Tanya Moutzalias | [email protected]

The 106-year-old classic excursion steamer Ste. Claire, which used to take passengers to Boblo Island, sits on the Detroit River in Ecorse in August 2015.

Detroit Publishing Co via the Library of Congress

This appears to be the SS Columbia Boblo Boat, which was built in 1902.

Pirate Ship ride - 1981

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society

Black and white photo showing the ship in mid-swing. A woman leans against the fence in the foreground to take a picture of the ride. On the far side of the ride, people wait in line.

"Sky Steak" - 1983

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society

Black and white photograph of Boblo Island's "Sky Streak" roller coaster. The ride's train is halfway through its descent from a hill.

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society

Black and white photo of the double corkscrew portion. The ride's train is inverted in the second corkscrew. Several people watch from the ground in the lower right corner.

Inside the Dance Hall - undated

Valentine and Sons United Publishing Company - This image is part of the Canadian Copyright Collection held by the British Library, and has been digitized as part of the "Picturing Canada" project.

Henry Ford financed this dance hall which, at the time, was the second largest in the world. Designed by Detroit architect Albert Khan, and constructed of steel and stone, the east side of the building featured a tall cathedral-like glass wall. Construction started in 1912 and was completed in time for the opening of the park's 1913 season. The dance floor held 5,000 dancers at full capacity and featured one of the world's largest orchestrions from the Welte company: a 16 foot tall, 14 foot wide, self-playing orchestra with 419 pipes and percussion section."


Belle Isle

Rich with history and natural beauty, Belle Isle Park is a Detroit gem.

Rich with history and natural beauty, Belle Isle Park is a Detroit gem that became Michigan's 102nd State Park February 10, 2014 as part of a 30-year lease agreement. The City of Detroit maintains ownership while the Michigan Department of Natural Resources manages the island park. This 982-acre island park is situated on the Detroit River between the United States and Canada.

It is home to a wide assortment of educational and recreational opportunities. Whether your interests lie in nature, physical fitness, history, architecture, botany or athletics, there's definitely something for everyone.

Giant floral clock entryway • 200-acre woodlands • Fishing piers and bulkheads • Bicycle and nature trails • Handball/racquetball/basketball • Chip-N-Putt Family Golf Center • Driving range/putting greens • Nine baseball diamonds • Ten lighted tennis courts • Cinder running track • Half-mile swimming beach • Historical monuments • Picnic shelters • World Cup Soccer Field • Kid's Kingdom Playscape • Paddle Boats • Peace and quiet.

An $11 annual fee allows entry into all state parks. Individuals who walk, bike or jog to the island will not have to pay the entry fee.

Located close to the hub of downtown, travel time to Belle Isle by car or bus is about five minutes.

Once on the island, you may get about by car or take a leisurely walk along the many miles of trails, paths and roadways that connect all of Belle Isle's points of interest.

For information on shelter reservation, park rules and regulations, etc. please contact:


Pleasure Bay, M Street Beach, and Carson Beach recreation

Pleasure Bay, the M Street Beach and Carson Beach form a three mile stretch of parkland along the South Boston shoreline of Dorchester Bay.

Carson Beach offers some beautiful views and great public amenities:

  • Mothers' Rest Area
  • Public restrooms - closed
  • Exhibit space
  • Outdoor courtyards for relaxation

Carson Beach also features a walkway which allows one to walk, bike, or run along the water's edge from Castle Island to the Kennedy Library. The Boston Harborwalk, which spans most of the city's waterfront, is accessible from the park.


Bucco Nation Q & A

By Jason Shetler

Here is the offseason edition of Bucco Nation Q & A. You guys were kind enough to give me your Pirates questions, and so I will now answer them.

Do you think the Pirates will sign a second tier free agent pitcher? – Steve from Pittsburgh, PA

It’s possible, especially if they’re unable to re-sign either Francisco Liriano or Edinson Volquez. They certainly have the money to pursue someone like Brandon McCarthy, or they could go more cost effective with someone like Justin Masterson, who is coming off a down year and has a good chance to rebound in 2015.

What does the international money the Pirates received from the Athletics do for them? – Jack from Munhall, PA

It basically just gives the Pirates a better chance of signing top tier amateur free agents, which they’ve certainly put a ton of emphasis on since Neal Huntington took over as Pirates general manager.

What are the odds that Clint Barmes is playing for the Pirates next season? – John from Belle Vernon, PA

As you know, Barmes is currently a free agent. A month ago, the Pirates signed Justin Sellers to a minor league deal, and claimed Pedro Florimon off waivers this past week. Both Sellers and Florimon rate out as above average defensive shortstops, and one of them could be the primary backup to Jordy Mercer. That being said however, Barmes could always be re-signed, and let’s face it, he’s a favorite of Clint Hurdle. Odds of Barmes returning would be 50/50.

What can Pirates fans expect from Jameson Taillon if anything this season, and how much can we expect to see Tony Sanchez? – Tom from Troy, NY

From what I’ve heard and read, Taillon has been rehabbing down in Florida and hasn’t had any issues as he recovers from the elbow surgery. There’s a good chance that he could begin the 2015 season with Indianapolis right on schedule. Assuming he pitches well and has no setbacks, I could see him called up to Pittsburgh in July at the earliest with August being more realistic.

In regards to Sanchez, he could be the Pirates backup catcher to Francisco Cervelli, unless Chris Stewart returns. If that happens, Sanchez would head back to Indy to catch on days that Elias Diaz needs a rest, but most of his playing time could be spent at first base and DH. Should Cervelli or Stewart get hurt, Sanchez will be the first catcher recalled.

What is the one position that the Pirates need to improve the most on? – Seth from Pittsburgh, PA

I know it doesn’t count as a position, but the rotation needs the most improvement. The return of A.J. Burnett makes for a nice addition, but they’ll have to add another starter, should Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez sign elsewhere, as well as with the health of Charlie Morton and the inconsistencies of Jeff Locke.


51 Facts About Amelia Island

Amelia Island, one of the Sea Island chain of barrier islands on the southeastern coast, is one of the most scenic areas of Florida. While it&rsquos an amazing place, it&rsquos somewhat of a hidden gem, so there are many things that most people &mdash even natives &mdash may not know about this beautiful island. Here are 51 things you probably didn&rsquot know about Amelia Island:

The oldest saloon in Florida is in Amelia Island. It&rsquos still in its original location and rumor has it that during Prohibition, the Palace Saloon was the last bar in the country to close. It sold ice cream during the prohibition years (so it was said&hellip)


Image courtesy: https://b386363e680359b5cc19-97ec1140354919029c7985d2568f0e82.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/ckeditor_assets/pictures/transfer/136867/ps-04.jpg

There is an Indian burial mound on the grounds of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation site, believed to be from the 1670s.

There is also a Spanish Mission site that was found in 1985 at the site of Walker&rsquos Landing on the marsh side of the resort.

While Orlando is known for its fictional princesses, Amelia Island is named for a real-life princess, Princess Amelia , daughter of King George II. Her major legacy? Having Amelia Island named after her!


Jean-Baptiste van Loo, Sotheby's, Public Domain: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16188437

Amelia Island has been under the control of eight different countries.

The French flag was the first flag to fly over Amelia Island. Jean Ribault landed there in 1562 and named the island &ldquoIsle de Mar.&rdquo

Spain then took over the island under the forces of Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565. He renamed the island &ldquoIsla de Santa Maria.&rdquo

James Oglethorpe &ndash the founder of Georgia and a colonial governor &ndash renamed the island &ldquoAmelia Island&rdquo and negotiated a transfer of the island from Spain to Britain. This was the third flag to fly over the island.

But the Spanish weren&rsquot done with the region &mdash during the Revolutionary war, Spain cooperated with colonists against the British. Under the terms of the Second Treaty of Paris, Amelia Island was given back to Spain.

One requirement of the agreement was that all British inhabitants had to leave within 18 months or swear allegiance to the Spanish Crown and convert to Catholicism!

In 1812, the &ldquoPatriots of Amelia Island&rdquo seized control of Amelia Island (during the Seminole Wars between Native American and black settlers in Florida and the U.S. Army). They first raised the Patriot flag before replacing it with the United States flag.

The Patriot flag and U.S. flag stayed over Amelia Island for only a short time. Spain (AGAIN!) took over the island in 1813.

In 1817 a Scottish-born, South American freedom fighter named Gregor MacGregor seized and claimed the island for &ldquothe brethren of Mexico, Buenos Aires, New Granada and Venezuela.&rdquo The flag was the Green Cross flag of Florida.

Spanish soldiers weren&rsquot interested in sitting back and watching a Scottish South American soldier and they forced his withdrawal from the island. While the Spanish forces pushed MacGregor out, they weren&rsquot able to hold the island and the Mexican pirate Luis Aury sailed his ships into the harbor and raised the Mexican flag. Flag number six flew over the island.

The seventh flag to fly over the island was again the U.S. flag. The U.S. took control of the territory from Spain in 1821. Unfortunately, the Civil War broke out in 1861 and Amelia Island was under the Confederate States of America flag. The Confederate flag flew over the island until 1862 when Union forces occupied the island.

The U.S. flag has continually flown over the Amelia Island since 1862.

Although it&rsquos called &ldquoThe Isle of Eight Flags,&rdquo there have been 10 different flag changes.

While no one will ever confuse Amelia Island with Hollywood, we&rsquove had our share of big-time movies. Some of the famous movies filmed here include the big-screen adaptation of Pippi Longstocking in 1988. Other movies that have been filmed here include G.I. Jane, Sunshine State, and The Manchurian Candidate.

If you&rsquore hungry, bring your appetite to Amelia Island. There are more than 40 different restaurants in a 13-mile stretch &ndash that&rsquos a lot of great food to choose from!

Do you love shrimp? You&rsquoll be happy to know that Amelia Island is the birthplace of our modern shrimp industry! The boat-builders of Amelia Island were instrumental in creating the process of shrimping with large nets to haul in large loads of the plump, juicy, delicious crustaceans. I&rsquom hungry thinking about it!


If you love shrimp like I do, then you must visit one of the biggest festivals in North Florida. The annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival attracts more than 150,000 people to this area during the last weekend of April or first weekend of May.


Image/shirt design courtesy: http://www.shrimpfestival.com/

The oldest lighthouse in the entire state of Florida is located on Amelia Island. The Amelia Island lighthouse is still in operation but is no longer open to the public , except on Saturdays when it&rsquos open for viewing for three hours only. The city also offers tours of the lighthouse twice a month.


The lighthouse is now completely automated the last civilian light keeper was in 1956.

The current lighthouse historian, Ms. Helen O&rsquoHagan Sintes, is a direct descendant of the first keeper and lived in the lighthouse as a child!

Amelia Island is only 13 miles long and two miles wide but is full of nature. More than 10% of our small land area is made up of island park preserves. Natural beauty is what Amelia Island is all about!

Report for duty at Fort Clinch &ndash this is one of the most well-preserved forts in the country. Fort Clinch was an important garrison on the first coast. Today it&rsquos a historic attraction with period reenactors.


Fort Clinch was in operation during the Civil War &ndash and used by both Confederate and Union forces. It also was in service during the Spanish American War and again in World War II as a communications post.

Centre Street is a historic downtown district boasting more than 400 historic structures on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings are Victorian-era and date back to the 19th century.

Amelia Island has been inhabited for more than 3,000 years. The oldest-known inhabitants of the island date back to 1500 BC (based on pottery found in archaeological digs).

It&rsquos strongly believed that there could be buried treasure in Amelia Island. It&rsquos not as far-fetched as it seems! During its early history, Amelia Island&rsquos harbor would regularly have hundreds of ships moored and many of these were pirate and privateer ships.


Over a 200-year period, Amelia Island attracted the largest concentration of seafaring thieves in America. Some of these pirates were the most famous of all time, including Jean Lafitte, Blackbeard, and Red Legs Greaves. Funny names, not so funny people!


Amelia Island was a bit of safe harbor for pirates and privateers because the port is one of the deepest on the southeast coast of the U.S., which would allow the large pirate ships to enter even at low tide.

If you enjoy golf, you can swing away to your heart&rsquos content! There are seven golf courses on this small piece of land. That&rsquos basically a golf course every two miles!

Amelia Island boasts 117 holes of championship-caliber golf. Why is there an odd number of holes? That makes six full 18-hole courses and one beautiful 9-hole course throughout the island.


Image courtesy: http://www.villasofameliaisland.com/play-here/golf

Amelia Island was dubbed &ldquoThe Queen of Summer Resorts&rdquo in the 1896 edition of American Resorts magazine. This is because vacationers to the area included the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, DuPonts and other prominent U.S. families.

The first U.S. Customs House is said to have been in Amelia Island in what is now the famous Marina Restaurant .

Amelia Island was home to one of the first black resorts in the U.S. After the Civil War, freed blacks received land on Amelia Island but they were prohibited from swimming with white people.

A.L. Lewis was the President of Afro-American Life Insurance Co. He purchased 200 acres of beachfront property and named the beach &ldquoAmerican Beach&rdquo &ndash the resort area was used for company executives and agents.

The farms and land that made up American Beach was sold in 1972 &ndash the land was sold for the development of what is now Amelia Island Plantation .


There is a sunken U.S. Coast Guard ship off the coast of Amelia Island. This ship &ndash the Coast Guard buoy tender Spike &ndash was sunk purposefully and for a great reason. No fatalities are associated with this sinking, either. The ship was anchored to her spot by federal and local agencies to serve as an artificial reef.

The Amelia Island Museum of History is another first-of-its-kind establishment in Amelia Island. It is the first spoken-history museum in the state of Florida. The museum is based on a storytelling tradition of relating the history of the area.

Looking for somewhere to stay in Amelia Island? Well, you have a lot of great choices, but why not stay at the oldest inn in the state? The Florida House Inn is an 1857 inn and the oldest and longest continually operated hotel in all of Florida.


Image courtesy: http://www.floridahouseinn.com

The Florida House Inn has a famous signature on its guest list &ndash President Ulysses S. Grant visited and stayed at the inn.

The Florida House Inn was built by David Yulee, who the neighboring town of Yulee is named after. Yulee was the first Jewish member of the U.S. Senate. He also served in the Confederate Congress at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Ironically for Yulee, The Florida House Inn was used to house Union soldiers during the Civil War.

If you enjoy staying up to date on current events, especially on the First Coast area of the state, thank Amelia Island. The oldest newspaper in the state &ndash The Florida Times-Union &ndash was started here in 1864. It was The Florida Union and merged with Jacksonville&rsquos Florida Daily Times.

Who doesn&rsquot love visiting places known as one of the &ldquobest&rdquo? Amelia Island is rated by many publications, such as Conde Nast, as a top 10 island place to visit in the U.S.

Although people often think of Florida as a hurricane target, Amelia Island hasn&rsquot experienced hurricane weather conditions in 50 years!

There have only been three hurricane strength storms to pass near Amelia Island in the last 155 years.

According to the National Hurricane Center that means you are more likely to experience a hurricane living in New York City or Long Island than you are living in Amelia Island.


Come discover Amelia Island for yourself &mdash enjoy a beachfront vacation rental or make it permanent and buy a home here on Amelia Island so you can experience all of the awesomeness that we have to offer!


The Pitcher Plate Discipline Rankings 5/25

The Pitcher Plate Discipline Rankings are back! This week Daniel Port revisits Stephen Strasburg to see what's changed and puts Hyun-Jin Ryu's 2019 under the microscope!

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Plate Discipline Leaderboard. If you’re new to this post, the calculations of each metric are outlined below:

Plate Discipline A
O-Swing%
Inverse Contact % = (100% – Contact %)
2SwStr+1=(2*SwStr%+1%)
F-Strike %

The standard deviations above/below average for everything aside from F-Strike% is multiplied by three. Then, those three numbers are added to the standard deviation above/below average for F-Strike%, and that total is divided by four.

Plate Discipline B
Inverse xSLG = (100% – xSLG %)

The standard deviation above/below average is multiplied by one and one half.

Final Plate Discipline
The average of Plate Discipline A and Plate Discipline B.

Please note that since statcast data isn’t available yet, all data used today will be up-to-date through 5/22.

Year K% eK% BB% O-Swing% Contact% SwStr% F-Strike% xSLG
2017 29.1% 26.6% 6.7% 33.4% 73.7% 12.9% 63.5% .345
2018 28.7% 25.3% 7.0% 32.4% 74.2% 11.9% 61.0% .401
2019 30.6% 30.75% 6.3% 38.0% 68.7% 14.6% 66.2% .294

Normally I try to write about a new player every week, but this week I wanted to revisit Stephen Strasburg as I think that we can use his case as a prime chance to learn more about what the Plate Discipline Rankings are trying to tell us. Back on 4/24, we took a look at Strasburg’s peculiar situation as he was top 5 in our rankings yet the results had not shown thrown through. Just for reference, here were his plate discipline numbers and results at the time:

Year K% eK% BB% O-Swing% Contact% SwStr% F-Strike% xSLG
2019 as 4/24 31.2% 29.75% 7.2% 37.7% 69.1% 13.8% 63.2% .339
Year ERA IP FIP BABIP SIERA
2019 as of 4/24 4.11 30.1 3.57 .264 3.18

If you go back and read the original piece, Strasburg was putting up career highs in nearly all the relevant plate discipline categories but something was holding him back. After some investigation, I concluded that Strasburg was throwing his two-seamer/sinker far too often as it was really the pitch that found way too much of the plate for a sinker and was getting hit HARD, while his four-seamer and curveball were excelling. At the time, I prescribed that he needed to cut down on his sinker usage and throw his best pitch more often (especially for strikes) which meant more curveballs. Did Strasburg manage to make me look like I knew what I was talking about? Here are his usage numbers from 2018 and 2019 before 4/25:

Pitch Usage% K% SwStr% BB% Zone% AVG
Four-Seamer 2018 45.0% 20.8% 8.4% 7.9% 60.7% .280
Four-Seamer 2019 before 4/25 29.1% 32.3% 10.0% 6.5% 48.5% .097
Sinker 2018 7.0% 7.1% 7.9% 2.4% 40.1% .361
Sinker 2019 before 4/25 21.3% 10.0% 4.3% 16.7% 49.1% .292
Changeup 2018 19.9% 48.0% 21.5% 6.9% 23.3% .160
Changeup 2019 before 4/25 21.1% 40.0% 26.2% 3.3% 34.0% .207
Curveball 2018 19.5% 40.0% 12.1% 5.5% 47.2% .175
Curveball 2019 before 4/25 26.0% 48.0% 18.1% 0.0% 40.9% .125
Slider 2018 8.6% 15.6% 11.8% 6.7% 44.6% .286
Slider 2019 before 4/25 2.5% 0.0% 8.3% 0.0% 41.7% 1.000

You can see a difficulty throwing for strikes and the sinker getting hit really well which can cause a lot of problems. Now, what about his usage/results AFTER 4/24?

Pitch Usage% K% SwStr% BB% Zone% AVG
Four-Seamer 2019 after 4/25 36.1% 32.0% 12.1% 5.9% 52.2% .277
Sinker 2019 After 4/25 12.8% 5.5% 15.5% 5.5% 68.9% .235
Changeup 2019 after 4/25 16.1% 46.7% 28.3% 13.3% 28.4% .200
Curveball 2019 after 4/25 34.9% 45.5% 17.6% 4.5% 47.7% .098
Slider 2019 after 4/25 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% .000

Now that’s more like it. We actually see a couple of really interesting things going on here. For one thing, even with a near 10.0% increase in usage, Strasburg’s curveball retains its effectiveness. In addition, notice that 6.8% increase in Zone% for the curveball. I mentioned in the previous article that I’m a big believer in being able to throw your breaking pitches in the zone to establish that you can throw the pitch for strikes. This keeps the hitter from being able to lay off the pitch simply because they pick up on the spin or see the break. Often times, this ability is what takes an average pitcher with an elite breaker and turns them into a stud. To further emphasize my point, think of it this way. Before April 24th, Strasburg threw a mere 85 curveballs in counts where there were less than two strikes with 44 of them (51.8%) being thrown for strikes. After April 24th, Strasburg threw 116 curveballs on those same counts with 62 of them (or 53.4%) of them in the zone. All of that while maintaining its strikeout rate and swinging strike rate!

The other interesting effect we see here is that, in a smaller dose, the sinker suddenly became much more effective, dropping its AVG against all the way down to .235. What was most concerning about Strasburg’s sinker was where he was throwing it, as it seemed to end up either up in the zone or right down the pipe, both of which are exactly where you should throw a sinker if you want it to end up in the upper deck. Just for reference here were his sinker locations previous to 4/25:

And here’s his sinker locations since that date:

Glory, Glory Hallelujah! Now that’s more like it! Obviously, there’s still more pitches ending up in the middle of the plate than desired, but look at all those sinkers down and painting the black! Don’t miss the three glorious red squares on the other side that shows he’s able to use the pitch successfully against hitters on both sides of the plate. Now it’s hard to know if the sinker’s newfound location cluster and success is rooted in its reduced usage, but it is awfully coincidental. As it will be the entire rest of the season, we’ll have to continue to monitor Strasburg’s sinker usage/success and see if this new reality holds up for him. Oh? I haven’t told his overall numbers since 4/25? Feast your eyes on some tasty fantasy SP goodness:

Time Period IP ERA WHIP SO BB
2019 After 4/25 41.1 2.63 0.92 48 9

That’s Cy Young level results and it can’t be random that it matches up with the same time period as when Strasburg began throwing his curveball more and his sinker less/better. It will be interesting to monitor his pitch mix moving forward and see if the trend continues, returns to its previous numbers, or evens out somewhere in between. Either way, Strasburg’s ERA is down to 3.25 for the season and it’s reasonable to wonder if we might be seeing the best Strasburg we’ve seen yet. This is what these rankings are all about. We saw a discrepancy between his skill based plate discipline ranking and the results he was getting so far. This caused us to dig deeper into his pitch locations and pitch mix and locate the problem. Strasburg corrected the problem and since then, he has been pitching exactly like the skills indicated he should have been all along. It doesn’t always end up working out quite so cleanly but it is a great example of these rankings value none the less. Here’s hoping in the coming weeks we’re able to find more of these cases and see what we can discover about the relationship between skill and results.

Recommendation: Revel in every moment of Strasburg’s awesomeness this season!

Year K% eK% BB% O-Swing% Contact% SwStr% F-Strike% xSLG
2017 21.4% 23.8% 8.3% 31.6% 75.3% 10.9% 60.3% .444
2018 27.5% 24.7% 4.6% 29.1% 74.8% 11.6% 58.6% .365
2019 27.4% 24.6% 1.9% 33.6% 75.5% 11.8% 63.3% .354

For 82.1 IP last season, Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched like a man possessed putting together an astonishing 1.97 ERA with 89 strikeouts and a 1.01 WHIP. Then, as happens for so very many of Ryu’s seasons, it was abruptly ended by injury. At this point in his career, it’s pretty much like clockwork and so owning him comes with the understanding that it’s not a full season solution — but look at those numbers. That’s freaking video game numbers over roughly the same IP workload as elite closers and that’s not nothing. All that being said, there was no way coming into this season that we could reasonably expect Ryu to repeat those numbers and it turns out we were right. So far he’s actually been better than he was last year. Check it out:

Year IP ERA WHIP K% BB% FIP SIERA
2018 82.1 1.97 1.01 27.5% 4.6% 3.00 3.18
2019 59.1 1.52 0.74 27.4% 1.9% 2.61 3.02

As I like to say, peep that WHIP and BB% (I’ve never said that before in my life but still that WHIP and BB% are nutsie cuckoo). Obviously, there is some regression coming for Ryu at some point based on the FIP and SIERA (and common sense) but before we bring reality back into the picture take a moment to simply bask in the excellence of Ryu’s last 141.2 IP. Now, of course, this is the Pitcher Plate Discipline Ranks (The P.P.D.R.!) so we have to ask ourselves do the skills back up the results? As you can see above, yes and no. So far in 2019, Ryu has demonstrated elite ability, which has earned him an 87.7 Final PD Grade and a number 19 ranking on the board. There’s no arguing that, so far, Ryu has the underlying stats to back up excellent production but likely not this excellent. Honestly, just at a glance, the skills seem much more appropriate for output similar to his FIP and SIERA, which as you can see is pretty elite in and of itself. Yet with that being said, we’re still looking at 3/4 a full season’s worth of elite production so how has he been able to defy the PD and predictive numbers?

My first thought has to do with the forgotten PD number, F-Strike%. So far in 2019, Ryu has managed an astonishing 63.3% F-Strike%, which means that he is throwing a strike on the first pitch of 63.3% of his at-bats. That already goes a long way to limit walks and therefore keep runners off base and therefore helps explain the elite WHIP and indirectly helps explain some of the lower ERA. It goes further than that though. One of the main reasons we talk about F-Strike% is the effect that it has on suppressing runs and hits. Back in 2005, Craig Burley at the Hardball Times put together a seminal work on the effects that a ball or a strike has on the outcomes of a particular situation. About ten years later, Dan Meyer took it a step further and used that information to examine the same effect on wOBA in an AB. Check out the difference between a first-pitch ball and a first-pitch strike:

Count AVG OBP SLG LWR/PA Benefit wOBA
0-0 Strike .261 .296 .411 -.029 -.069 .262
0-0 Ball .280 .385 .459 .040 .069 .355

That’s a huge effect. We’re talking about 19 points of AVG, 85 points of OBP, 48 points of SLG, nearly .07 runs per PA! Simply Ryu is having that effect on opposing offenses 63.3% of the time! The real important part of F-Strike% comes into play though once you factor in its effect on the pitch that comes after it. Here’s the same numbers for the results each possible pitch has on the outcomes of AB with a 0-1 count:

Count AVG OBP SLG LWR/PA Benefit wOBA
0-1 Strike .231 .256 .349 -.085 -.058 .196
0-1 Ball .248 .319 .396 -0.27 .058 .293

Regardless of whether the followup pitch is a ball or a strike, you can see that both results have a negative effect on LWR/PA and tend to result in a below average wOBA. Consistently throwing a first-pitch strike sets a pitcher up for success in so many different ways and to see that Ryu is putting up a career-high F-Strike% this year gives us some insight into how he is outperforming his overall PD ranking and his FIP and SIERA numbers. The thing is…it’s not the whole story. Ryu ranks just 38th in the league in F-Strike%, so while he is one of the best at starting an at-bat with a strike it’s not enough, in my opinion, to simply explain his success. His pitch mix hasn’t radically changed from last year either. This leads me to wonder if the rest of our solution lies in the effectiveness of his pitches changing as opposed to how often he throws them. Ryu’s pVAL/100 history over the last three years makes me think I might be on to something. Note that Ryu’s arsenal according to Baseball Savant includes a four-seamer (his main pitch), a Cutter (his best pitch), a sinker, a changeup (his most effective pitch), a curveball (more than likely a slurve as it often gets classified as a slider as well):

Year FA/100 FC/100 SI/100 CH/100 CU/100
2017 -2.79 1.06 N/A 1.04 1.24
2018 1.78 -0.38 -0.05 3.11 1.37
2019 2.93 2.59 2.63 5.69 -3.74

Outside of his curveball, several pitches have made huge leaps this season so far in terms of effectiveness and it might be worth taking a look to see why. Let’s start with the four-seamer. Velocity has remained consistent as has movement the last two years — so it can’t be that. Honestly, the biggest change I can find right off the bat is that he is walking way fewer batters this year with the pitch (down from 6.7% all the way to 1.6%!) than ever before but that can only be part of the equation. In fact, several specific PD numbers for the pitch are significantly down (or up depending on the stat) this year contrary to what you’d expect for a pitcher having Ryu’s success.

Year FA SwStr% FA Contact% FA Z-Contact%
2017 7.5% 81.1% 87.2%
2018 12.1% 74.7% 79.9%
2019 7.8% 83.2% 90.3%

That 90.3 Z-Contact% is a bit troubling as hitters are making a ton of contact on his four-seamer in the zone, but when you consider the Dodgers elite defense, this might not be a completely bad way to go, especially when you consider it has only been barreled up once this season according to Statcast. How is that even possible with that much contact? Check out the heatmap for the pitch so far in 2019:

Man, if you were to ask me to find the perfect example of the current pitching Meta on four-seamers this might be it. That is all up in the zone and into right-handers. Those are pitches that are both hard to hit and nearly impossible to square up without elite bat speed. Combine this with the Dodgers defense and honestly, I’m seeing all I need to in order to understand the success of Ryu’s fastball. Now, how about that cutter?

Year FC SwStr% FC Contact% FC Z-Contact%
2017 6.3% 86.4% 90.3%
2018 6.8% 84.7% 87.5%
2019 14.2% 70.6% 84.2%

Here we see the opposite of the four-seamer which makes sense. That SwStr% makes it a truly deadly weapon. This article over at Fangraphs by the incredible Jay Jaffe from a week or two ago does a really great job profiling the changes in his cutter and changeup and I don’t want to step too much on his toes as he has forgotten more about baseball than I’ll ever know, but check it out as it really sums up how he has utilized the difference between command and control to become a much better pitcher. The cutter is running in on right-handed batters and away from left-handed batters while the changeup is largely falling down and in to left-handed batters and diving down and away from right-handed batters. It doesn’t get better than that. It’s not just that he isn’t walking hitters or throwing more strikes, it’s that he’s throwing better strikes and seemingly doing anything he wants with all the pitches in his arsenal. This may seem like a common comparison, but it reminds me a lot of Greg Maddux even though they had different styles and arsenals, the beauty of Maddux was that he was always in control of the at-bat. He put his pitches where he wanted, when he wanted in order to get you to do what he wanted you to. It seems like Ryu is doing something very similar this year and is looking like the best pitcher in baseball right now because of it. It’s unfortunate that based on his health record we won’t be getting a full season Ryu, but based on how he is pitching so far this year — while I do believe there has to be some regression coming — I think we are likely seeing a pitcher who will outperform his underlying metrics a bit because of his process and command and that is invaluable.

Recommendation: If you find someone who wants him don’t wait too long to sell high before he gets hurt or Dodgeritis’d but if you’d rather hold on to him enjoy the awesome innings he does give you — because a lot of this is for real — we just don’t know for how long.


Iron Belle Trail

The Iron Belle Trail is Michigan&rsquos showcase trail that touches hundreds of municipalities and crosses through 48 different Michigan counties. Using existing trails, networks and new connections, the trail extends more than 2,000 miles from the far western tip of the Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit, with a route of bicycling, and a route of hiking.

Use the interactive map to explore the Iron Belle Trail

Find detailed information about the existing and proposed hiking and biking routes. Zoom in to discover features such as trail segment length, trail width and surface type, trailhead and parking lot information, nearby campgrounds, restrooms and more.


Watch the video: The Magic of Belle Isle Trailer (August 2022).