It wasn’t long ago that a career .265-ish hitter with some pop and a versatile glove was destined for cult status. (Think Ty Wigginton or Fernando Tatis.) And in a way, I suppose Ben Zobrist, whom the Kansas City Royals acquired Tuesday from the Oakland Athletics with an eye on Friday’s trade deadline, has achieved just that. But here’s the twist: The denomination that worships Zobrist most is the Church of Sabermetrics — coincidentally, a movement that has essentially taken over baseball in the past decade-plus. And that makes Zobrist a fascinating case study in how the right player with the right metrics at the right time can be elevated to stardom.There was little about Zobrist’s early career that suggested breakout potential. He didn’t make his major league debut until he was 25 years old, a good six years later than the Mike Trouts and Bryce Harpers of the world. Drafted out of college with the 184th overall pick in 2004, Zobrist hit well in the minors1His career minor-league OPS (on-base plus slugging) was .885. but was older than his peers at almost every stop along the way. He certainly never made any top prospect lists and did little to impress in his first two MLB seasons. And although he flashed signs of potential — an .844 OPS (on-base plus slugging) with good power — as a part-time player during the Tampa Bay Rays’ magical 2008 World Series run, Zobrist wasn’t a major league regular until the following season, at age 28.All he did that season was lead the American League in wins above replacement (WAR).2Among position players. Then, two years later, he did himself one better, leading the entire majors. Over the 2009-12 period, he topped all major league position-players in WAR. Before the 2013 season, you could have made a case — on the basis of sabermetric statistics, at least — that Zobrist’s name belonged on the list of candidates for Best Player In Baseball, perhaps even at the top.WAR is Zobrist’s best friend, its modular nature being well-suited to detecting the strengths of Zobrist’s well-rounded game. Given Zobrist’s versatility, it’s no surprise that he fares best in a holistic metric whose components range from batting3Which uses Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), that most advanced creature in the evolution of hitting metrics, as its basis. to baserunning, double-play avoidance, fielding quality by position and — perhaps most importantly — positional scarcity.Zobrist played eight different positions — everything but pitcher and catcher — for the Rays in 2009 and was better than average at darn near all of them. His defense alone added something like 2 to 2½ wins above average to Tampa Bay’s ledger during his best years there. (Amazingly, there’s even an argument to be made that WAR underrated Zobrist, because his position-switching theoretically freed up extra roster spots for his team.)Baseball scouts traditionally quantify a player’s worth by grading his “tools” in five categories: hitting ability, power, running speed, fielding and arm strength. But we can give that toolbox a bit of a modern makeover, evaluating a player’s core skills (contact- and power-hitting, plate patience, speed and defense4Measured, respectively, by strikeout rate, isolated power, walk rate, speed score and defensive WAR.) by setting his rate statistics relative to the league on a scale where 100 is average and 15 points represents one standard deviation of performance. After we do that, Zobrist shows up as one of the only “five-tool” players in MLB’s post-World War II era:Traditional forms of evaluation don’t properly appreciate a player like Zobrist. Even in his most valuable years, he hit just .268 with about 20 home runs and 85 RBIs per season. But with the growth and mainstream acceptance of sabermetrics, Zobrist came along at the right time for his particular mix of skills to be both comprehended and acknowledged.
Month: September 2019
7Billy HarrisF+8.1 On an individual basis, Gretzky’s performance may never be topped — his next-closest active challenger by PSAR, Jaromir Jagr, would have to maintain his career rate of per-season production until age 50 just to catch The Great One. (Although … maybe we shouldn’t completely rule out that possibility.) But we can’t just leave it there — hockey is such a dynamic, free-flowing sport that a player’s individual numbers don’t always capture his contributions to victory.Some of that, as hockey quants have learned over the last decade or so, is due to the noise around infrequent events such as goals. Instead, on-ice shot margin (after adjusting for numerous contextual factors) is a sturdier gauge of team skill — and hence, an individual’s ability to influence it is an important consideration in modern player evaluation. We don’t have these fancy numbers for Gretzky’s career, but we do know his teams were probably not dominating possession, deriving their high-scoring offense instead from a high shooting percentage.Which brings us to Gretzky’s fabled ability to elevate the performance of his teammates. On a shot-by-shot basis, there’s some evidence that Gretzky’s otherworldly passing led to higher shooting percentages for his teammates than when they played without him. (At FiveThirtyEight, we’ve applied this with or without you — WOWY — technique before, to NFL wide receivers.) Among all players with at least 200 career adjusted assists, Gretzky ranks fifth in terms of hikes in teammates’ shooting percentages3Indexed relative to the league average. while playing alongside him, compared with the rest of their careers.Current stathead thinking suggests that only the most transcendent of passers can help a team sustain a sky-high shooting percentage, and the bread crumbs of evidence are there to suggest a real Gretzky Effect on his teammates’ numbers. Then again, it’s not clear how much of that can be untangled from the shooting percentage machine that was the 1980s Edmonton Oilers overall. 8Kris LetangD+8.1 6Clark GilliesF+8.3 9Jari KurriF+7.8 2Paul CoffeyD+10.4 Source: Hockey-Reference.com 4Kevin LoweD+9.1 Lots of Oilers top the WOWY list 1Glenn AndersonF+10.7 5Wayne GretzkyF+8.3 3Charlie HuddyD+9.9 10Jim PappinF+7.5 Wayne Gretzky, widely considered to be the greatest player in NHL history — so widely, in fact, that even Boston homers have to admit it (however tongue-in-cheek the manner) — was born exactly 55 years (and a day) ago. That’s really all the excuse we need to go spelunking in The Great One’s statistical treasure chest.Hockey stats, even the “advanced” ones, are famously lo-fi; even still, there’s a preponderance of evidence to confirm that Gretzky was far and away the most productive hockey player of all time. Yes, his teammates were outrageously talented. Yes, he played in an offensively inflated era, facing small goaltenders who employed archaic techniques. But even when we adjust Gretzky’s numbers for the scoring environment in which they were produced, nobody generated more goals — particularly with his playmaking — than No. 99.One of my favorite stats in all of sports history is that Gretzky could be the NHL’s all-time scoring leader even if he never scored a goal, on the basis of his assists alone. That’s not quite true after adjusting his stats for the era — Gordie Howe’s 2,190 adjusted points eclipses Gretzky’s 1,717 adjusted assists — but the difference between Gretzky’s adjusted helpers and those of No. 2 Howe is roughly the same as that between Howe and No. 28 Mats Sundin. The man’s hockey sense and vision were unparalleled.To pull all of Gretzky’s individual accomplishments together, I like to use my personal modification of Hockey-Reference.com’s point shares, which I call point shares above replacement. (A modification is necessary because, as currently constructed, the distribution of PS between positions is all kinds of messed up. PSAR fixes that and essentially mirrors Hockey Prospectus’s goals versus threshold, with the added benefit that it gets updated in-season.) Among modern1Going back to the 1950-51 season, the first season for which I have data. skaters, Gretzky is the career leader in PSAR by a mile — he beats No. 2 Ray Bourque by the equivalent of about 420 extra goals, or 60 to 70 wins. And compared with his fellow forwards, Gretzky laps the field to a degree that is even more striking:2In this chart, the “share” of a team’s available ice time is the proportion of a team’s minutes (from the 1998-99 season onward) or games played (1997-98 and earlier) at a position that a player played. In an individual season, it effectively acts as a percentage, but across years it can be added up as a cumulative measure of ice time, because every team divvies up roughly the same amount of playing time among its players each season. (It also serves as a way to normalize playing time across different schedule lengths — handy in case of season-shortening lockouts and the like.) PLAYERPOSWOWY Nos. 1 through 5 on the teammate shooting WOWY list all played for the Oilers during that era, so this might be more of a team stat, shared by linemates, than an individual metric. Further evidence: The Oilers collectively maintained a third-place finish in shooting percentage in 1988-89 (down only slightly from first in ’87-88), despite Gretzky departing Edmonton for LA over the summer.All of this also assumes, perhaps incorrectly, that the state of today’s hockey-analytics art can even be applied to the NHL of Gretzky’s heyday. In the run-and-gun air hockey 1980s, Corsi was a player, not a metric, and the possession-is-king rule that guides today’s enlightened clubs doesn’t seem to have been as hard and fast. (For instance, Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh Penguins, another incredibly high-scoring team, also defied what I estimated to be modest possession numbers by sustaining a high shooting percentage over a string of years.)All of this is why, between absent data and changes to the fabric of the sport, deep analysis of historical hockey is inherently limited, despite our best efforts. We’ll never know Gretzky’s zone start numbers or have a player usage chart for his record-shattering 215-point 1985-86 season. But we can appreciate what numbers we do have from his career — and nobody produced stats more glamorous than The Great One.
The Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams are a fascinating exercise in modern NFL team-building. While their opponents in Atlanta, the dynastic New England Patriots, seldom break the bank for anybody other than quarterback Tom Brady — who has been under center for a record nine Super Bowls with the Pats — the Rams spent aggressively after the end of last season. They opened the pocketbook for homegrown stars such as Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley, who each signed massive extensions, and also made a handful of outside pickups, including Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Dante Fowler Jr.All told, the spree left L.A. with 34 percent of its 2018 salary-cap dollars committed to returning veteran players on fresh extensions (tops among playoff teams) and an additional 22 percent of the cap spent on incoming veterans (third only to the Bears and Texans among playoff teams), according to data from ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. The result was a star-studded roster that many called the dreaded D-word — “dream team” — a label that has come to symbolize a roster concept that doesn’t always work in the NFL. But unlike previous dream-team iterations, the Rams have made it work, primarily by relying less on the newcomers and more on the talent they’ve developed. And that might provide a blueprint for future champions, if not exactly future dynasties. The dream-team paradigm has gone through several permutations over the years. In the era before the salary cap, star-powered rosters could stay together for many consecutive seasons, resulting in monstrous talent collections such as the Steel Curtain-era Pittsburgh Steelers (who had an absurd nine Hall of Famers on their roster in 1978) and even more recent teams such as Bill Walsh’s San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys. But the advent of free agency in 1993 — and the subsequent addition of the salary cap — made such dream teams more difficult to keep together, whether by pre-emptively forcing teams to let useful players go or penalizing for years teams that tried to skirt the cap by pushing player paydays into the future.More recent dream team attempts have been the subject of ridicule, such as when the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles signed a group of veteran free agents that included Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin and — of course — Vince Young. When Young was asked to describe Philly’s new squad, he infamously responded with a smile and two words: “dream team.” In the end, the Eagles went a disappointing 8-8, writing a cautionary tale for future free-agent spending sprees.But around the same time, the NFL’s current preferred team-building strategy began to come into focus as young, cheap (at the time) quarterbacks such as Baltimore’s Joe Flacco and Seattle’s Russell Wilson won Super Bowls. With a change to the league’s collective bargaining agreement significantly lowering the price tags on incoming rookie QBs, teams realized that they could use the draft to acquire the most important asset in football — a star quarterback — for a relatively low price and then trick out the rest of their roster with the savings. The dream team concept was reborn.Take the 2017 champion Eagles, who spent a combined 4.5 percent of the cap on signal-callers Carson Wentz and Nick Foles — the former of whom vied for league MVP honors before a knee injury ended his season and the latter of whom was the Super Bowl MVP. That Philly team was laden with non-QB talent, and many of its members were productive veterans (Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi, Alshon Jeffery, Timmy Jernigan, etc.) who had been plucked from other teams.This season’s Rams have taken a version of that same formula and run with it even further. They got 40 total points of Approximate Value1Pro-Football-Reference.com’s single-number measure of player value. out of veteran newcomers, which would rank 10th among Super Bowl winners, and that was with Talib, Peters, Suh and Fowler all having relative down seasons.That last part makes the Rams a bit different from other successful dream teams of the past. The 1994 49ers, for instance, were jam-packed with talented veteran newcomers — including Rickey Jackson, Ken Norton Jr. and Bart Oates, each of whom posted double-digit AV the previous season. The crown jewel, of course, was Deion Sanders, who arrived from Atlanta in free agency. They were all meaningful contributors to the Niners’ Super Bowl win that season, most notably Sanders, who won defensive player of the year honors. Similarly, the 1999 St. Louis Rams picked up Marshall Faulk from the Indianapolis Colts, along with many other newcomers, and went on to win the Super Bowl thanks to Faulk’s NFL offensive player of the year season.2An MVP turn from QB Kurt Warner didn’t hurt, either.The 2018 Rams don’t have anyone with the instant impact of a Sanders or Faulk. But one thing that makes them intriguing is how they’ve supplemented the dream-teamers they do have with younger, cheaper talent. The average age (weighted by AV) for the 10 Super Bowl champs most laden with new veteran talent3Ages are as of Dec. 31 for each season. I used a quick-and-dirty calculation that multiplies together AV from the current and previous seasons for incoming veteran players, to capture both established production and current-season value. was 27.6 years old; for L.A. this season, that number is 26.8. The Rams’ four best players by AV — Gurley, Donald, Jared Goff and Robert Woods — are all 27 or younger, and none of them were among the newcomers L.A. brought in this season. (And only Donald and Gurley were playing on contracts guaranteeing more than $30 million.) Whereas yesterday’s dream teams rose or fell more on the performances of their incoming stars, the new formula for general manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay has been to use them as supplemental pieces to help support a young core.Not that the current Rams have nothing in common with their dream-team precursors, mind you. Even though teams have gotten much savvier about using contractual tricks to free up cap space and avoid the kind of “salary-cap hell” that, say, the 49ers found themselves in during the late 1990s, the Rams’ aggressive roster moves have still ratcheted up the pressure to win in a relatively short window of time. While most of the Rams’ key starters are still locked up in 2019 as well (with the exceptions of Suh, Cory Littleton and Rodger Saffold), they will begin facing tough salary constraints in the offseason before 2020 — when most of the current secondary and offensive line hits free agency — and particularly before 2021, when Goff will need to sign an extension. Compounding things, L.A. also traded away its second- and third-round draft picks this spring to snag Peters and Fowler.4On top of downgrading from the fourth round to the sixth in 2018 and losing a 2020 fifth-rounder. Even a smartly managed win-now strategy has an expiration date.But then again, so does every team-building tactic in the NFL — unless we’re talking about the Patriots. The Rams are exactly where they knew they’d need to be to justify their all-in roster strategy. They have the young stars and the veteran talent, plus the right coach to steer things in McVay. All that’s left is one more win to prove that dream teams are a viable way to build an NFL champion after all.
The NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night pitted the repeated good luck of Cleveland against the long-standing bad luck of New York — and somehow, New Orleans won. The Pelicans landed the No. 1 overall pick despite having just a 6 percent chance to do so, and they’re widely expected to use it on Duke star Zion Williamson. “It’s just an incredible blessing for our organization,” Pelicans general manager David Griffin told reporters.Of course, any team would be likely to make the same pick. The one-and-done college basketball megastar could have become a new centerpiece for a Cavaliers franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs without LeBron James since 1998; he could have brought a change in luck to the Knicks, who haven’t had a No. 1 pick since Patrick Ewing in 1985; or he could have bolstered a Bulls frontcourt that already features Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen.But in the first year of the new lottery format, the Pelicans got lucky. The explosion of Williamson in the past six months and the messy, dramatic saga of Anthony Davis are now intertwined. Davis requested a trade from New Orleans in January, and that storyline dominated the rest of the Pelicans’ season. New Orleans declined to trade its superstar in February, and its ultimate response still isn’t clear, but now Griffin has lots of possibilities.So the No. 1 question from Tuesday night: Does the allure of playing with Williamson make Davis think twice about leaving New Orleans? Williamson became a spectacle during his one college season, leading all of Division I men’s college basketball in both effective field-goal percentage (.708) and player efficiency rating (40.8), according to Sports-Reference.com. At 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds, he has the athleticism to throw down windmill dunks, while drawing a charge from him has been compared to getting hit by a Jeep.If Davis stays, the Pelicans can win with a core of Davis, Williamson and Jrue Holiday. On offense, the Williamson-Davis tandem would be a matchup nightmare. They would thrive on pick and rolls, or they would attract the defense to the paint and kick the ball out to shooters on the perimeter. Adding the best athlete in the draft class would also boost New Orleans’s transition offense, which ranked second-to-last in the league in points per possession during the regular season.On defense, that trio is even more formidable. Davis on the inside ranked fifth in block rate and 13th in defensive rebound rate, even in a season marred by a finger injury and the trade drama. Holiday is an All-Defensive first-team honoree who can guard the 1, 2 and 3 positions. Adding Williamson would give New Orleans another flexible piece on defense. It’s unclear what kinds of players he will be asked to guard in his career, but he’s versatile. Duke’s defense was underrated last season — the program’s best since 2010 in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com.Davis did warm up for the Pelicans’ season finale in April wearing a shirt that read, “That’s All Folks!” If he still ends up departing, New Orleans has more work to do, but the options look much better than they did Monday. Any trade involving Davis would command a more promising return, and it might include players more likely to stay and excel during the early stages of Williamson’s career. (Davis can become a free agent after next season.) The Pelicans could snag a young player like Jayson Tatum from Boston or Ben Simmons from the Sixers. And then there’s the lingering Lakers option, which can now include that juicy No. 4 pick that Los Angeles picked up Tuesday night.The new lottery format, with less favorable odds for the top contenders, altered a number of franchises. The Cavaliers and the Knicks — who along with Phoenix had a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick — ended up with the fifth and third picks, respectively. If New York doesn’t use the pick as trade bait, it will be guaranteed a chance to select one of the draft’s other, slightly less-hyped prospects in Williamson’s Blue Devil teammate RJ Barrett or Murray State point guard Ja Morant.But as expected, it all comes back to Williamson. Asked what he would bring to whichever team drafts him, Williamson said on ESPN on Tuesday night, “Whatever that team needs me to do, I’m going to be able to do it.” That is a common refrain from pro hopefuls, who are coached by agents to say it. But with a once-in-a-generation talent like Williamson, it just might be true.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who in February announced that he was gay, may not be among the 256 men chosen in this year’s NFL draft, which begins Thursday. In fact, based on a historical assessment of players who were rated similarly by media scouting projections, Sam’s chances of being drafted are only about 50-50.Sam, the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, is rated as a sixth-round pick on the Scouts Inc. draft board, which is available through ESPN Insider. That might seem to imply that he’s likely to be drafted, because the NFL draft has seven rounds.But players projected to be chosen late in the draft are hard to differentiate from one another. You can think of NFL prospects as representing the tail end of a bell curve. At the extreme end of the tail are a small number of potential franchise talents, such as Andrew Luck and Bo Jackson. The curve gets denser and denser with players the farther down the draft board you go, however. Players who are projected as sixth-round picks often fall out of the draft entirely.I looked at what happened to projected sixth-round picks since 2005, as according to the Scouts Inc. draft board. Specifically, I looked at defensive ends and outside linebackers, the two positions that Sam might play in the NFL. (That some scouts regard Sam as a “tweener” is one reason he may not be drafted highly.)There were 67 such players between 2005 and 2013. Of those, 37 players — 55 percent — were not drafted. Twenty-four others were drafted between the fifth and seventh rounds, while six were chosen in the fourth round or higher. Only about 10 percent were chosen in the sixth round exactly.Isn’t it a bit contradictory to describe prospects as sixth-round draft picks when they’re far more likely not to be drafted than to be chosen in the that round? There are more projected sixth-round picks than sixth-round slots. This year, for example, Scouts Inc. lists 71 players as sixth-round picks, but there are only 39 selections in that round (this includes a number of compensatory picks given to teams who lost free agents).The alternative, however, would imply a false precision in differentiating between sixth-round picks, seventh-round picks, guys just off the draft board and so forth. Picks late in the draft are intrinsically hard to project, because each team has different assessments of the players, and some teams prioritize need while others look for talent.But leave these semantics aside. There’s a more pressing issue in the case of Sam. Has his draft status been harmed by his public declaration of his sexuality?Sam’s ranking has fallen on some news media draft boards, including the one prepared by ESPN and Scouts Inc., since he came out as gay. Determining the cause and effect is harder. On the one hand, Sam got middling reviews at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. On the other hand, some NFL scouts and general managers have told members of the media that they’re worried Sam could be a “distraction.” In a league that has employed the likes of Aaron Hernandez, that could be cover for homophobia.But suppose that Sam were projected as a fourth-round pick, which is how he was often described at the time he came out. Would he be assured of being drafted?Not quite. Among the 70 defensive ends and outside linebackers projected by Scouts Inc. as fourth-round picks since 2005, 15 — 21 percent — weren’t drafted. Others were chosen as high as the second round.In other words, if Sam is not chosen in the draft, we won’t be able to say for sure it’s because of his sexuality. Draft projections are an inexact science, especially in the late stages of the process. (If Sam is neither drafted nor signed as a free agent, that would be a clearer signal that the league is evaluating him on something other than his football talent.)Personally, however, if the odds are something like 50-50 on Sam being drafted, I think I’d take his side of the bet. Why? A player only needs one team to draft him. A player like Sam who generates polarized opinions might have a better chance of being chosen in a late round by a team like the New England Patriots or the Seattle Seahawks than one who everyone agrees is mediocre.
Then-junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) looks for an open receiver during the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl against Clemson Jan. 3 at Sun Life Stadium. OSU lost, 40-35. Lantern file photoOhio State senior quarterback Braxton Miller will miss the entire 2014 football season, an OSU spokesman confirmed Tuesday evening.Miller re-injured his throwing shoulder attempting to complete a short pass in practice Monday afternoon, according to the release.The OSU star was in the process of returning from off-season shoulder surgery in February.The two-time Silver Football award winner said in a press release that he would like to return to the Buckeyes in 2015.“I love Ohio State and Buckeye nation, and my goal is to come back from this injury stronger and better than ever,” Miller said in the release. “I am on course to graduate in December, and I want to attend graduate school and then return to lead the Buckeyes next season. In the meantime, I want to give all the support I can to my coaches and teammates as they chase a championship this season.”Miller’s 8,346 total yards and 84 total touchdowns are each good for second in school history.Coach Urban Meyer offered his sympathies to his senior leader in the release.“My thoughts and prayers are with Braxton and his family,” Meyer said. “This is an unfortunate injury to a young man who means so much to this program and to Buckeye nation.”On Saturday, Meyer said redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett had moved ahead of redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones in the team’s backup quarterback battle.Barrett’s only experience for the Buckeyes outside of practice came in OSU’s 2014 Spring Game, when he finished 17 of 33 on pass attempts and totaled 151 yards through the air.Jones has the only game experience of any other quarterback on the roster as he took 39 snaps in games against Florida A&M, Penn State and Purdue last season.OSU is scheduled to take on Navy on Aug. 30 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon.
Ohio State then-junior guard Kelsey Mitchell looks to the basket in her drive against Penn State’s defense during the Buckeyes’ game on Feb. 1. Credit: Summer Cartwright | Campus EditorOhio State women’s basketball guard Kelsey Mitchell has been invited to the 2017 USA Women’s National Team Training Camp, which will be held Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 in Santa Barbara, California.The senior is one of just five collegiate athletes — including Connecticut forward Napheesa Collier, Connecticut guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson, Louisville guard Asia Durr, South Carolina forward A’ja Wilson — invited to the training camp. Twenty-five WNBA players earned invites as well.The training camp — which will be led by USA National Team and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley — will be used to help identify and prepare athletes for future events, including the 2018 FIBA World Cup of Basketball, according to a release.This will be the second opportunity for Mitchell to represent her country on the court. The two-time Big Ten Player of the Year earned a spot on the USA Basketball Women’s Under-23 National Team, which competed in the Four Nations Tournament in mid-August.Last season, Mitchell led the Big Ten with 22.6 points per game and was named a second-team All-American for the second time in her career. The Associated Press also named her a first-team All-American after the 2015-16 season.Ohio State opens the season on Nov. 10 when the Buckeyes host Stanford as part of the Countdown to Columbus, an event marking the beginning of the college women’s basketball 2017-18 season.
Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder wrestles Steven Holloway in the dual-meet against Iowa on Jan. 21 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorWith two matches remaining, all the No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team needed in order to beat No. 1 Penn State was No. 1 197-pounder Kollin Moore to beat an unranked Nittany Lion and for senior top-ranked heavyweight Kyle Snyder to beat of No. 6 Nick Nevills. But nothing went according to plan.Moore fell to Anthony Cassar in shocking fashion, requiring Snyder to win via major decision in order for the Buckeyes to take home the victory. Though Snyder has won by major decision or a pin in each of his matches this season, he was unable to do so, beating Nevills 15-10 for a decision win. That allowed Penn State to eek by with a 19-18 victory Saturday night.Everything went right for Ohio State early in the meet. No. 4 Nathan Tomasello gave Ohio State the first win of the meet via major decision, beating 125-pounder Carson Kuhn 21-12 after trailing 8-7 following the first period. Ohio State’s No. 2 Luke Pletcher earned a 5-4 decision against Corey Keener at 133 pounds. Then, No. 11 Joey McKenna upset No. 6 Nick Lee to give the Buckeyes a 10-0 lead after the first three matches, which silenced Penn State’s crowd at Rec Hall.Penn State No. 1 149-pounder Zain Retherford and Ohio State No. 5 157-pounder Micah Jordan each earned technical fall wins. The Buckeyes held a 15-5 lead heading into intermission, but that advantage quickly began to slip away.Vincenzo Joseph, one of Penn State’s three top-ranked wrestlers who competed Saturday, dominated No. 14 Te’Shan Campbell with a 12-3 major decision victory. With the lead shrinking, Ohio State needed an upset in one of the next two matches between evenly matched competition. But neither No. 3 Bo Jordan (174 pounds) nor No. 2 Myles Martin (184 pounds) could pull the upset on No. 2 Mark Hall or No. 1 Bo Nickal, respectively.Hall hit a decisive takedown late in the third period to beat Jordan 6-4 and bring Ohio State’s lead down to three. Nickal then dominated Martin, winning with a 10-2 major decision, which gave the Nittany Lions their first lead of the night.Snyder and Moore, both ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes, could not regain the lead for Ohio State. Following Moore’s loss to Anthony Cassar, if Snyder won with a major decision, the Buckeyes would have won the match since they owned the tiebreaker. But on their home mats, the Nittany Lions did exactly what they needed to do to clinch the victory and extend their dual meet win streak to 43.Ohio State will attempt to bounce back from its first loss with a meet against No. 4 Michigan at 6 p.m. Feb. 11.
And 18 per cent of surgeries closed by 3pm at least one day a week – even though three quarters of these were receiving extra funds to improve patient access, the report said.The NAO report said patients at practices with shorter opening hours had higher rates of A&E attendances, and higher mortality levels. Demand on emergency services is risingCredit:Andrew Fox Yesterday the NAO report suggested the plans could still leave a shortfall of almost 2,000 doctors.And the Royal College of GPs estimates a shortfall of almost 10,000 doctors, based on recent retirement rates.Last month the head of the RCGP warned that patients were being placed at increasing risk by waits of up to one month to see a GP amid winter pressures.The NAO report yesterday said short opening hours among practices were associated with higher rates of A&E attendances, and higher death rates. The NAO report on Wednesday called for more to be done to improve access to family doctors.In total, 46 per cent of practices found to be closed at some point during the “core hours” of 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday. It comes amid a deepening crisis across A&E departments.Earlier this week:New figures revealed record casualty attendances and a doubling in the number of patients left to wait on trolleys for at least 12 hours;Senior doctors warned that lives were at risk as overstretched hospitals become “paralysed by spiralling demand”Jeremy Hunt said the situation had become “unacceptable and extremely distressing” in too many hospitals;The Royal College of Emergency Medicine said four in ten A&Es have now reached dangerous levels of overcrowding. A five year forward view by NHS England, which is led by Simon Stevens, promises 5000 more GPs by 2020 Credit:PA MPs said that practices needed to “get the basics right”Credit:PA Health officials are currently advertising 25 posts, around half of which have been filled, Pulse magazine disclosed.NHS England plans to roll out the Lincolnshire scheme more widely to meet the Government’s target of 500 GPs from overseas.Dr Kieran Sharrock, medical director at Lincolnshire local medical committee, said the scheme has been “really successful” and has appointed 13 GPs so far – from Poland, Croatia, Lithuania, Greece and Spain – with “more interviews in the next few weeks”.Under the scheme, doctors from countries all over Europe will be able to come to Britain after undergoing 12 weeks of paid training at a campus in Poland.The induction programme will provide medics with English language lessons and teach doctors about the culture of the NHS.The first round of recruits are due to start training next week, in order to start work in England from April, with the next wave due to start training within three months.Dr Sharrock said practices had agreed the pay rates “based upon local average salaried GP salary” with “increases annually to encourage the GPs to stay in the scheme”.The average family doctor in England earns around £100,000 annually, but the majority of those receiving six-figure earnings are GP partners, with several years’ experience.Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said: “These really do sound like desperate measures. It is horrifying to think of all the money we have spent training doctors who have left to work in New Zealand and Australia, only for us to have to trawl abroad to find GPs.”“Patients need a GP who can chat to them about their concerns, not someone who has just finished an English language course,” she added.“I fid it terrifying that we have reached this crisis point, with so many people flooding into A&E because they can’t see a GP. I do feel the NHS has taken a wrong turn in letting things get so bad.”The plan is an attempt to attract doctors ahead of restrictions that could arise from Brexit.The overseas recruitment drive appears at odds with the Government’s plan for the NHS to become less reliant on foreign doctors and in the long-term “self-sufficient” in producing medical staff.However, NHS England has since confirmed that it is looking to expand on the Lincolnshire scheme and push on with plans to recruit 500 doctors from Europe, as part of plans to recruit 5,000 more GPs by 2020.The area has one of the biggest shortfalls in GPs anywhere in England. On average, practices open for less than 45 hours a week had eight per cent higher rates of A&E attendances than those which were open longer.MPs warned of a lottery in care, with just one quarter of areas offering a full day service Monday to Friday. NHS England has promised to recruit 500 GPs from overseas by 2020Credit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Patients need a GP who can chat to them about their concerns, not someone who has just finished an English language courseJoyce Robins, Patient Concern As the health system extends practice hours across the country, it must not lose sight of the need to get the basics rightMeg Hillier, chairman the Committee of Public Accounts The health service is to recruit hundreds of GPs from countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Greece with promises of £90,000 salaries and “generous relocation packages” in a bid to tackle a spiralling NHS crisis.The new scheme run by NHS England will see doctors from across the EU undergoing 12 weeks training in Poland before they start work in Britain.Health officials are trawling EU countries for medical staff in a bid to plug shortages of family doctors, amid warnings that long waits to see GPs are fuelling the Accident & Emergency (A&E) crisis.Medics from Croatia, Lithuania, Greece, Spain and Poland have now been recruited, as part of plans which aim to bring 500 doctors in from the EU ahead of Brexit.Last night patients groups said the measures were “desperate” and said the NHS had “taken a wrong turn” in failing to attract enough home-grown doctors. On Wednesday a report by the National Audit Office warned that poor access to GPs during the working day could be fuelling Britain’s A&E crisis.The watchdog said almost half of practices had closures during office hours, with one fifth regularly closing their doors by 3pm.It followed warnings that rising numbers of patients are being forced to wait a month to see a family doctor, with estimates of a shortage of up to 10,000 GPs by 2020.The new scheme, being piloted in Lincolnshire by local medical committees and NHS England, is being used as a blueprint for national plans to hire 500 GPs from overseas.Doctors will be promised a guaranteed annual salary of £90,000 and a “generous relocation package” to move to England.