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Entries in pitchfx (9)


Who Is Benefiting from an Expanded Strike Zone?

Minimum 300 pitches thrown out of the strike zone (Click image to enlarge)

The above graphic shows all the pitches that were called strikes by umpires this season even though though they missed the strike zone. The list is sorted by called strike percentage, showing which pitchers have benefited the most from a generous strike zone.

Umpires seem to like the AL East; seven of the top ten pitchers with the highest called strike rate on balls out of the strike zone play in that division. Then again, Luis Perez of the Blue Jays has the worst rate in the league at 2.9%. Livan Hernandez of the Washington Nationals has the highest total number of called strikes out of the zone with 182.


Most Squeezed Pitchers to Date

(2011 data through June 15th - Min. 150 pitches thrown within the strike zone)Brandon League of the Mariners remains near the top of the list.  However, Cubs' righthander Marcos Mateo has taken over the top spot.

And here's the flip side of the coin, pitchers with the highest percentage of strikes called on balls within the pitchFX defined strike zone:

(2011 data through June 15th - Min. 150 pitches thrown within the strike zone)Apparently, pitching in relief for the reigning World Series Champions helps umpires correctly identify strikes. 



Most Squeezed Pitchers

Most Called Balls within Strike Zone
(Data through May 8th)

C.J Wilson (TEX) has had a tough time with close pitches this season. According to PitchFX data, 59 pitches thrown by Wilson could have been called strikes but were not. Four of these pitches came with three balls, resulting in a walk.

Wilson's heat map indicates that the majority of these called balls were on pitches low in the zone.

C.J. Wilson Called Balls in Strike Zone 2011
(Click to enlarge)

Umpires tend to have a tougher time consistently calling pitches on the top and bottom of the zone due to the fact that player height slightly alters the zone. Wilson typically locates the majority of his pitches low in the zone, so it's not that surprising to find him near the top of this list.

It's one thing to lose a strike in the middle of a count. However, it hurts a bit more when the missed call comes with two strikes. Here are the leaders for missed called strikes with two strikes on the batter.

Called Balls in Strike Zone w/ Two Strikes
(Data through May 8th)

Basically, these pitchers missed a chance at notching a strike out looking. Of course, they could have still gotten the K later in the AB. However, the walk column shows how many times they missed a K with a full count. Instead of gaining an out, the missed call resulted in a free base for the opposing team. And in case you're wondering, two players did so with a bases loaded full count this season resulting in a run: Joakim Soria (KC) and Jim Johnson (BAL) walked in one run each due to a pitch called a ball within the strike zone.

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