As the band boomed the Fight Song for the final time of the night, senior wide receiver De’Quan Hampton clambered up the director’s ladder and shoved the sword in his left fist into the air. Hampton bobbed up and down, shimmying and bouncing to the beat. On the field, his teammates cheered for him — “Yeah, ‘Quan! Get it, man!” It lasted for a minute, this moment in the spotlight. But for a transfer senior who’s seen little of the field and even less of the endzone, it was a moment to soak in. And after a 36-14 victory of UCLA — which he could take 12 points worth of credit for — Hampton was loving every second of it.“It was amazing,” Hampton said. “It felt like a dream.”Hampton’s role this season had been fairly secure — playing back-up behind the talented wide receiver unit of junior JuJu Smith-Schuster and senior Darreus Rogers, scrapping for minutes where he could get them. In the first 10 games of this season, he snagged four catches for a total of 22 yards, ranking 12th in team receiving yards behind redshirt sophomore Jalen Greene.But the UCLA game — like all rivalry games, tempestuous and unpredictable — called for a hero. And for three plays and a handful of minutes, Hampton became that player for the Trojans.It takes a perfect combination of variables to create a breakout game. For Hampton, that was a hip flexor and his quarterback’s trust.Smith-Schuster was hurting from the first drive of the game. He roped in a 28-yard catch to bring the Trojans to the 1-yard line, and sophomore running back Ronald Jones punched it in to tie the game with a typical USC offensive play. But in the second quarter, redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold threw an interception and Smith-Schuster, favoring his hip, limped into the locker room. The Bruins scored off a 7-yard touchdown pass, and suddenly the Trojans were trailing 14-7 in their rival’s home stadium.They needed someone to step up, and Hampton did it in style.He touched the ball three times in total, despite coming second behind Smith-Schuster in receiving yards for the game. But those three touches changed the momentum of the final game of conference play.The first time, Hampton ran his route down the left side of the field, stutter stepped, then lept into the air and snatched the ball from over the outstretched arms of his defender. Hampton had 6 inches on his defender, but the lofted toss required trust from Darnold that his receiver could make the play. For Darnold, it wasn’t hard to trust Hampton.“[Our coaches] really preach giving our guys a chance when they have one-on-one coverage,” Darnold said. “I think you’re never wrong throwing it to a guy one-on-one, especially when he’s in the position [Hampton] was. I always feel great throwing it up to them.” His second touch was a simple 6-yard pass that happened to be in the end zone, and happened to put the Trojans up 30-14 in a momentum-swinging third quarter. And the third was a 14-yard catch for a first down at the 50-yard line. Together, the three plays doubled Hampton’s season yardage. For head coach Clay Helton, this type of break-out play is necessary for the team to continue the success of their seven-game winning streak. “You have kids who have just been dying for their opportunity and they made the most of it,” Helton said. “That’s what a team is. You hope that when one guy goes down, another one has prepared himself to make those types of plays.”Saturday’s success was a welcome change for Hampton. Last year, he expressed frustration with the one-track focus of former quarterback Cody Kessler, who completed three times as many passes to Smith-Schuster than to any other receiver. It was a long season for Hampton. He had transferred from Long Beach Community College as a junior and caught the ball only 15 times in his first year as a Trojan, and this year was going even more slowly until the game against UCLA. But Hampton said that after this year, he trusted that he would have his moment.“I didn’t doubt it, because I’ve seen chances come for other players,” Hampton said. “So I just say that means just keep grinding, because my chance might come this game or the next or the next. I just have to be ready.” When that moment came, he was an easy guy to cheer for, Darnold said. He describes the senior as a “goofy guy,” the type to lead dance parties on and off the field, cheering on his teammates from the sideline no matter how many minutes he played.The party in the Rose Bowl ended eventually, with Trojan fans booming out chants and singing along to “Tusk” as UCLA fans trickled out of the stands. After the final notes of the Fight Song rang out, Hampton climbed down from the ladder, joining his teammates in the locker room and basking in a flock of reporters’ cameras and recorders pressed into his face. That might be it for his moment. As a senior, he’ll have one, at most three, games left with the team. But if that’s the note he ends on — two touchdowns and a rivalry win — well, that’s just alright with him.“It was worth the wait,” Hampton said. “As much frustration as I had being in the position I was, waiting for the opportunity, when it came it’s all worth it.”
Joy Sports can confirm that players and management members of Asante Kotoko have been attacked in the early hours of Sunday morning hours ahead of their league game with Hearts.The team was lodging at the Tadoma Hotel in Taifa, a suburb of Accra when the incident happened.Team officials tell Joy Sports that players and officials were woken up by robbers, while General Manager Opoku Nti and Operations Manager George Kennedy were tied. An official said “systematic stealing took place and the robbers had machetes, knives and other weapons.”The four armed robbers mugged General Manager Opoku Nti; Operations Manager, George Kennedy. They also raided the rooms of striker Dauda Mohammed; Assistant Coach, Michael Osei and Head Coach, David Duncan.They ripped bedsheets of their victims, tied their hands and legs before throwing them out of their rooms. A total of GHÈ¼25,000 was detected missing after the attack which lasted two hours. The incident has been reported at the Mile 7 Police Station. Opoku Nti, George Kennedy, Michael Osei, David Duncan and Dauda Mohammed although shocked by the frightening experience are all doing well and assisting the Mile Police in their investigations.However, information says the team have decided to go ahead with the much-awaited clash with Hearts at the Accra Sports Stadium which kicks off at 3:30pm.The team’s official Twitter account said: “It’s an unfortunate incident but our players & technical team are unfazed by this and are working in earnest for the big game.”It went on to tweet photos of the team outside the hotel getting themselves ready: “Players [are] being taken through some warm up drills to shake off the nerves after the incident,” the statement from the account said. Crucial clashSunday’s game, a week 25 fixture of the FIrst Capital Plus Premier League, is anticipated primarily because both teams are surprisingly in the bottom half of the table. Hearts, in 14th, are facing relegation while Kotoko are not far off, in 11th.Joy Sports has been building up all week long to this big game with a series of previews. Click here to read the final, big preview – team news, stats and more Also, the following articles provide more perspective on the clash CLICK TO READ: ANALYSIS – 8 players to define Sunday’s Super Clash CLICK TO READ: Best 5 moments of last Hearts v Kotoko games in AccraCLICK TO READ: Ahmed Toure wants total Kotoko focus CLICK TO READ: Ali Maradona lashes out at ‘inconsistent’ GFA DC CLICK TO READ: Eddie Ansah: “We’ve got Kotoko figured out” –Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith. Get more updates on Facebook/Twitter with the #JoySports hashtag. The Joy Sports team will be providing an hour-long buildup from 2pm on the Sports Arena. Catch the online updates on Facebook and Twitter @Joy997FM
It’s not just horizontal gene transfer that can obscure evolutionary history. Scientists have found bacteria recycling fragmented DNA from long-dead organisms. The impact on evolutionary theory could be substantial.A paper in PNAS by an international team of researchers from multiple fields and institutions made a startling discovery: dead DNA can rise like zombies and invade the living. The world is awash in fragmented DNA from dead organisms, gradually decaying the older it gets. No one considered it a factor in genome evolution – till now. When lateral gene transfer was discovered in microbes a few years ago, evolutionists worried that the process could obscure phylogenetic studies, making it impossible to build Darwinian “trees of life” (2/01/07, 9/24/07). This new finding compounds the problem enormously.In “Bacterial natural transformation by highly fragmented and damaged DNA,” the authors described how they found bacteria taking up dead DNA with the recA recombinase enzyme. It was a surprise, because “Fragmented DNA is recognized as nutrient source for microbes, but not as potential substrate for bacterial evolution.” Then they tested the process, and found a bacterium able to uptake fragmented DNA from a mammoth bone thought to be 43,000 years old. Here’s the upshot of what they found:Our findings suggest that natural genetic exchange of DNA from dead and even extinct organisms to contemporary bacteria can take place over hundreds of thousands of years. Hence damaged and degraded DNA may be a previous unrecognized driver of bacterial evolution with implications for evolutionary theory….Our findings reveal that short and damaged, including truly ancient, DNA molecules, which are present in large quantities in the environment, can be acquired by bacteria through natural transformation. Our findings open for the possibility that natural genetic exchange can occur with DNA up to several hundreds of thousands years old.The finding, summarized on PhysOrg, has implications for more than evolution. Hospitals cannot assume that sterilizing a room of live antibiotic-resistant bacteria confers protection, because new bacteria colonizing the room might find fragmented DNA containing resistance genes, take it up and become resistant themselves.The authors could only speculate about the implications of this process to evolutionary theory. On the one hand, it might be considered an additional source of genetic variation or mutation. It might be a way for microbes to share beneficial mutations. On the other hand, any hopes for establishing a phylogeny, or determining the history of microbes, are compromised by microbes’ ability to incorporate DNA fragments of widely varying ages from very different organisms, like those from the mammoth bone. In their concluding discussion, the authors stated some potential implications for evolutionary theory:The genetic process described here suggests that early horizontal genetic transfer could have occurred in primitive cells after uptake of short DNA segments, which would have augmented evolutionary change. In addition to its main function as an important nutrient source, short DNA fragments may have contributed to exchange of beneficial mutations in early cells and continue to do so in extant microbial populations.The potential for bacteria to take up degraded DNA, leading to single or a few nucleotide changes, adds another perspective to our understanding of the factors that drive microbial genome evolution. Models of population genetics and molecular evolution often rely on “memoryless” Markov processes, which predict the future genetic state of a reproducing population solely from its current state. Such models may not fully represent dynamical feedback between the diversity of environmental DNA and the replicating microbial gene pool. We propose that rates of molecular evolution in naturally transformable species may be influenced by the diversity of free environmental DNA. Furthermore, our findings suggest that bacterial recombination occurs with DNA fragments of considerable age, even from extinct microbial species. This suggests an additional, previously unrecognized contributor to molecular evolution. Recombination with DNA from temporally separated populations or species will bypass generations of cellular division and result in the transfer of genetic information over evolutionary time. We call this phenomenon “anachronistic evolution.”They also dub it “second-hand evolution.” PhysOrg put a positive spin on the story, claiming the news is “great for our understanding of how microorganisms have exchanged genes through the history of life.” The article compared the process to humans looking through a junk pile for “second-hand gold” they can use. Such thoughts beg the questions of what constitutes a “beneficial mutation,” how the useful genes originated in the first place, and how bacteria obtained the machinery to recognize them as useful and incorporate them. More ominously, the article recognizes this as a paradigm shift: “That DNA from dead organisms drives the evolution of living cells is in contradiction with common belief of what drives the evolution of life itself.”This is why scientists should avoid the phrase “now we know.” Here we see a factor completely ignored by evolutionists appearing out of nowhere, threatening to rewrite the textbooks on the evolution of microbial life. Treat the spin doctoring with skepticism. They want to turn this into a plus, saying it provides more ways for evolution to proceed. On the contrary; how can they make any claims about how a microbe evolved when its genome has been potentially scrambled by significant chunks of DNA from who-knows-what, who-knows when? This erases the phylogenetic history of single-celled organisms. It casts serious doubt on the evolutionary significance of genome comparisons.It’s too early to evaluate what this finding will mean. Creationists might find a designed purpose in this ability of microbes to adapt to new environments, or to rescue their genomes from upsets by incorporating “junk” copies of essential genes from the soil. How this potentially paradigm-shaking discovery plays out in evolutionary circles remains to be seen, but it could be the beginning of something big. (Visited 95 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
7 December 2011An important process that started three years ago will begin to move forward this week as the first round of negotiations to establish a free trade area covering 27 countries in east and southern Africa kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday.It is envisaged that negotiations for the proposed free trade area (FTA), which promises to be an important instrument for the future of trade and industrialisation in Africa, will be completed in about 36 months.The three trade blocs involved – the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) – decided in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008 to move towards a free trade agreement.Boosting intra-regional trade, industrialisationThe intention is to boost intra-regional trade. Because the market will be much bigger, there will be more investment flows, enhanced competitiveness and the development of cross-regional infrastructure.At the same time, the FTA will act as a spur to industrialisation, as countries move from selling primary products to making goods to sell.Competition with older, established and also bigger emerging economies might be a stumbling block initially, but the huge new market may make it possible for locally manufactured goods to compete with those imported from outside the FTA.With close to 600-million people live within the FTA, and a combined gross domestic product of $1-trillion, the region could find itself competing in the same league as the likes of China, India, Russia, Brazil, the US and the EU.The next economic frontierAnd it is becoming easier to make the world believe this, because the continent is already being touted as the next economic frontier.A glance at some figures confirms this view:Africa’s combined consumer spending was US$860-billion in 2008, and will be an estimated $1.4-trillion in 2020. With 43% of Africans currently under the age of 15, by 2040 there will be 1.1-billion Africans of working age. Urbanisation enhances growth – Africa already has 52 cities with more than a million inhabitants, more than Europe. By 2030, around fifty percent of Africa’s populationi will be living in cities. Africa’s returns on foreign direct investment (FDI) are the highest in the world. South Africa well placed to benefitSouth Africa, with its advanced and sophisticated economy, is best suited to exploit the advantages offered by such an expanded market.Already, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has rated South Africa first in the world for the strength of its auditing and reporting standards and for the regulation of its securities exchanges. The soundness of the country’s banks – rated second in the world – is an important asset these days when banks everywhere else are shaky.Add the certainty offered by the government’s recently announced National Development Plan, which sets out the country’s path until 2030, and it is clear that South Africa’s competitiveness will only be enhanced by the establishment of an African FTA.South Africa’s fellow BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – all started their upward economic trend based on huge domestic markets. With the establishment of an FTA, South Africa will have access a market 12 times bigger than the 50-million domestic customers it now has.Tough negotiations expectedHowever, the road to setting up the FTA could be a rocky one. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has warned that negotiations over industrial policy could be tough. South Africa has just set out to implement its Industrial Policy Action Plan, and talks around the trade in manufactured goods will be of particular concern.But South Africa does have an advantage. As Davies points out, unlike exports to the rest of the world, a high percentage of exports into Africa are already made up of value-added products.Other problems would be the levels of protectionism between African countries, restrictive trade permit needs, and very obvious economic disparities.Additionally, the fact that three existing trade blocs aim to merge into one is a stumbling block as they are at different levels of integration, with different rules and regulations.All of this will be part of the negotiations that start this week.The fact remains that economic growth in all participating countries will be boosted by increased intra-regional trade. For Africa as a whole, intra-regional trade currently stands at only 12% of all cross-border trade, whereas in Asia the figure is rising toward 50%, and in the European Union towards 80%.The FTA would also be an important building block towards achieving the vision of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 – a continent-wide African Economic Union.The December talks may be the first concrete sign of Africa rising to take its rightful place in the world.Source: Brand South Africa
BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad CEBU – Talk about going for the kill.Pradera Verde, even with its biggest gun resting, cracked par for the second straight day on Wednesday and is now on the verge of slaughtering the PAL Ladies Interclub Championship division field over a Cebu Country Club layout here that has been at the mercy of Lubao-based squad’s young roster.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC NU fights off UST, improves to 2-1 Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:10PNP-HPG to field 695 personnel to secure ‘Undas’05:18After the Typhoon Part 201:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Saso, the 16-year-old former Philippine Team mainstay, birdied all the four par-5s in the opening round as she maximized her length off the tees to conquer the 5,100-yard layout.The Filipino-Japanese will also be looking to put the individual championship in the bag, and she would most likely have to do it at the expense of teammate Effendi and Constantino.Constantino came out for the second straight day and has a total of 109 points, one-under for two days.Meanwhile, Rita Horan fired 49, Christine Popp shot 42 and Jocelyn Garcia 39 as Alabang wrested the Founder’s Division lead with a second day 129 for 255, two points ahead of Manila Southwoods-Legends. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Indonesian Michela Effendi fired a three-under-par 69 worth 57 points, Harmie Constantino chipped in with 56 and Kristine Torralba accounted for 53 as Pradera pooled a second round 166 for 331, the highest ever two-round score recorded in the event’s 12-year history.READ: Newcomer Pradera leaves PAL field gaspingFEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBreaking par for the second straight day has also never happened before, and taking the brunt of that was reigning six-time champion Manila Southwoods-Masters, which could only come up with 153 to be 34 points behind.And unless Pradera fails to come to the venue to play the third and fourth rounds, it’s all over but the shouting as the rookie squad announced its coming in style and will dethrone SW-Masters in the most convincing way in the next two days. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary View comments Cebu CC fired 133 points for 273, 24 points behind SW-Masters.Bernice Ilas shot 53 points, Mika Fortuna contributed 52 and Sofia Chabon never got going and accounted for just 48 as SW-Masters sputtered for the second straight round.Coach Norman Sto. Domingo, despite the big lead, is not about to take it easy as he bared that he will have the talented Yuka Saso leading his third round crew to do the mop-up job this early.Saso played in the first round on Tuesday and fired 59 points. She will lead a team that will debut 13-year-old Annika Pineda-Cayabyab.“We will go all out and try and extend our lead,” Domingo said after watching his last player hole out on the difficult 18th hole of the age-old layout. “We would want to get this done early so that the players can relax on Friday (in the final round).”ADVERTISEMENT
MOST READ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds ANTIPOLO—Rock-solid San Miguel Beer kept a top two finish in sight after scoring a 109-97 decision of Alaska in a Petron Saturday Special game at Ynares Center here.It was the second straight win in a 7-2 card for the Beermen, who would still need to sweep their last two assignments—against Blackwater and GlobalPort—to earn at least a playoff for a twice-to-beat bonus.ADVERTISEMENT Children’s meet draws OSY bets Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Alaska, which took a sixth straight loss in a 4-6 card, is in danger of missing the next round.Idle Star is setting the pace with an 8-2 record, but will lose the No. 1 ranking if the Hotshots fall into a tie with the Beermen at the end of the elimination round on June 2.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingIn the first game, NLEX goes into a long break with its confidence at a high after posting a second straight win, 116-114, to end its campaign here while dealing Phoenix Petroleum a critical loss.The Road Warriors almost lost a 23-point lead but hung tough in the stretch as they take something positive from a tournament they opened up with nine straight defeats. Phoenix ended its elimination round campaign with a 4-7 record and can get booted out of the playoffs if Alaska and GlobalPort win their final matches.“We just wanted to make a good last impression,” NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said.Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra shoots for a share of the lead and officially take Meralco out of the race for a top two berth when the Gin Kings and the Bolts collide 6:45 p.m. Sunday also at Ynares Center here.Defending champion Rain or Shine, in the meantime, tries to better its quarterfinal ranking when it slugs it out with TNT KaTropa in the 4:30 p.m. contest.At 5-5, the Painters can qualify in the middle of the pack with a victory.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Departing Chelsea midfielder Cesc: Hudson-Odoi has the lotby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveDeparting Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas is convinced by the potential of Callum Hudson-Odoi.Cesc, who is set to leave Stamford Bridge after five seasons, spoke to Chelsea’s club website about Hudson-Odoi’s talent after the Blues beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 yesterday.He said: “He has got everything to make it in world football.I have told him that if he does not really make it at the very top I will be disappointed because he is one of these talents you can see can be fantastic.“He can be world class, so he just needs to keep his feet on the ground, keep working hard.“He is a humble boy, he really loves playing football and hopefully he can really make it very soon.”
NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 01: Alabama Crimson Tide fans react in the second half of the AllState Sugar Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)If you’re a college football fan – or, really, anyone who is not a coach – and you’re thinking about contacting a recruit, just stop. Don’t do it. Whether you’re simply trying to encourage a recruit to come to your school or berating a prospect for committing elsewhere, you’re 99 percent of the time going to come off in ill form to the 17-or-18-year-old high schooler. The following Alabama fan is someone who, unfortunately, does not follow the advice previously stated. This person somehow got the phone number of four-star linebacker Darrell Williams, an Auburn commit, and proceeded to text him about the Crimson Tide. We realize you’re passionate about your college football teams, people, and that’s why we love you, but please, don’t ever text a recruit.
Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Grau, who is fluent in English, French and Spanish, has almost 25 years of experience working in arts and culture, and communications. She will retain ownership of Touchwood PR, a boutique publicity and promotions agency she founded in 2009. Her clients have included Cineplex, Fan Expo Canada, Pathé International, eOne, Unifrance Films, Telefilm Canada, the Academy of Canadian Film and Television, Reel Asian Film Festival, CMPA’s Prime Time in Ottawa, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, and several high-profile personal clients. Prior to Touchwood PR, Grau ran the TIFF Communications department for eight years. In this role she successfully developed and executed media strategies to position TIFF as a leader in the industry.Social Media:Twitter: @TIFF_NETInstagram: @TIFF_NETFacebook: Facebook.com/TIFF LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Login/Register With: TORONTO — Piers Handling, Director & CEO of TIFF, today announced the appointment of Andréa Grau to the role of Vice President, Public Relations and Corporate Affairs, effective February 5, 2018. Grau will lead TIFF’s in-house agency, Dept. 30, comprised of the Communications, Marketing, Digital, Creative and Editorial teams. She will be part of TIFF Senior Management, providing leadership and guidance for the organization.Reporting to Michèle Maheux, Executive Director and COO, Grau is responsible for upholding and expanding the integrity of the TIFF brand internationally and at home, and developing and executing the PR strategy as the organization enters a new strategic plan and CEO transition“Andréa has been a part of this organization in some capacity for the past 23 years,” said Piers Handling, Director & CEO of TIFF. “She first entered as an intern fresh out of university, later returned to run the Communications department, and now comes back in a much larger leadership role to help us navigate the changing PR landscape. The industry and media relationships that she has developed over the years are impeccable. On behalf of the Senior Management team, we are delighted to have her back.” Twitter
CJ.T. Realmuto4.0–5.8– LFAndrew McCutchen2.4–4.2– * A player’s established level of WAR is based on a weighted average of his WAR the previous three seasons.Stats as of May 6, 2019.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs.com PosPlayerEstablishedLevel*Actual RFBryce Harper3.1–3.0– Bryce Harper’s first couple of weeks in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform could scarcely have gone better. Harper introduced himself to his new team — and its infamously passionate fan base — with a .333 average, four home runs and a 1.299 on-base plus slugging in his first 10 games of 2019. Along with such pro-Philly acts as donning Phanatic cleats and ringing the bell at a Sixers game, it was a great first impression for Harper to make after inking what is now the second-richest contract in baseball history.But just like he did last season, Harper has followed up that red-hot start with an ice-cold slump. Since April 10, Harper is hitting .187 with a .632 OPS, including a .617 OPS in the past two weeks and a .477 mark in the past seven days. And despite all of his attempts to endear himself to teammates and fans, he’s already been criticized by Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta for getting himself ejected from a game, and he was booed at Citizens Bank Park last week.Harper is a streaky player, and he’ll break out of this stretch soon enough. More importantly, the Phillies haven’t suffered too much despite Harper’s issues. The team is still .500 since April 10, it still leads the NL East, and our projections call for it to finish with the NL’s fifth-best record. Harper hasn’t remotely been the Phillies’ best player; he hasn’t even been the team’s best offseason acquisition. According to wins above replacement,1Averaging together the versions from Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. Philly has gotten far more out of new catcher J.T. Realmuto, left fielder Andrew McCutchen and shortstop Jean Segura than it has out of Harper so far. Harper was merely one of the Phillies’ top pickupsAmong top four offseason pickups for the Philadelphia Phillies, preseason established* and actual wins above replacement in 2019 WAR per 162 games SSJean Segura3.9–3.8– That may not last, but it was always going to be much closer to the case than you might expect from the breathless coverage Harper’s free agency received this winter. Harper is not Mike Trout; a few of the fellow newcomers listed above actually had more WAR last season than Harper did. He is a piece of Philly’s potential postseason puzzle — perhaps even the most important one — but he’s just one of multiple talented pieces.Even so, the Phillies should be encouraged that Harper’s extremely poor defensive metrics — the single biggest drag on his WAR last year — have, predictably, reverted toward his pre-2018 form. According to an average of the fielding values found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs, Harper has been an average outfielder in the early going this season, albeit with some disagreement between the two sources.2Just like last season, Baseball-Reference is lower this year on Harper’s defense than FanGraphs is. The reality is that Harper is probably a below-average defensive outfielder — but nowhere near as bad as some of his 2018 numbers made him out to be.So once Harper’s hitting numbers start ticking up again — his batted-ball metrics are better than his stats would indicate, and his exit velocity ranks among the top quarter of MLB hitters — he’ll quickly rise up in the Phillies’ WAR pecking order. It’s concerning that Harper’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is his worst since 2014, but FanGraphs still projects him to put up the majors’ sixth-best OPS over the rest of the season. The boos will turn into cheers before long.Of course, Philly fans expecting Trout-like production from Harper will still inevitably be disappointed (and maybe the free-agency hype did drive expectations in that direction). A more reasonable outlook would have expected Harper to be one of the driving forces behind the Phillies’ improvement — just not the sole one. Given that the rest of the team has played pretty well despite Harper’s up-and-down start, Philadelphia’s postseason aspirations should be stronger than ever when he heats up again.Check out our latest MLB predictions.