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Entries in umpires (9)


Umpire Review: Opening Weekend (Part One)

Throughout the 2012 season we will take a look at the accuracy of MLB umpires by comparing their ball/strike calls to PitchFX data. With every team now having completed at least one series, let's take a look at the numbers.

First up, let's see which umpires expanded their strike zones during Opening Weekend:

All MLB Games through April 8, 2012

Ed Rapuano manned home plate duties in the Wednseday night MLB opener between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins.  He seemed to be giving pitchers some help as 16 of the 94 pitches taken out of the strike zone by batters were called strikes. As a point of comparison, league average called strike rate on pitches out of the zone last season was 9.7%.

Again, Rapuano's expanded zone on Wednesday was a product of 16 erroneous strikes. Over the remainder of the season, he'll likely move closer to his average from last season (9.3%).

137 Taken Pitches / 49 Total Called Strikes / 16 Strikes Outside the ZoneFrom the above graphic, you can see that Rapuano was favoring the outside strike for both lefties and righties. Five of those strikes came against Marlins batters, while eleven came against Cardinals hitters. It didn't seem to affect the defending champions too much as they still managed to win the game 4-1.

Next up, we'll take a look at missed strike calls within the PitchFX strike zone....


Tigers vs. Yankees Game 5: Ted Barrett's Strike Zone

Home plate umpire Ted Barrett seemed to have a wider than normal strike zone in last night's game five between the Tigers and the Yankees.  Against left-handed batters, he appeared to be calling strikes on pitches well off the outside part of the plate.

Click image to enlarge

Tigers' pitchers seemed to have benefited the most from the wide strike zone.  Overall, Barrett called eleven strikes against Yankee batters that were outside of the strike zone, while only calling four against Tigers' batters.  Granted, when you compare the two heat maps, you can see that Yankee pitchers didn't throw as frequently to the same outside location as Detroit pitchers.  However, it is noteworthy that some of the areas do overlap showing a discrepancy in strike calls.


Which Pitchers were Squeezed the most in 2011?

The league averaged about 78.8% of called strikes within the PitchFX defined zone.  While this may seem extremely low, many of the missed called strikes that contribute to this percentage are borderline strikes on the edges of the zone.  Still, it is somewhat disconcerting that some pitchers are getting less that 75% of the calls within the zone.

Josh Outman has had it worse than any other pitcher this season, receiving only 66.7% of the calls within the strike zone. 

Josh Outman Called Balls within the Strike Zone, 2011

Granted, Outman has only faced 254 batters in 2011, bouncing between starter and reliever for the A's towards the end of the season.  Still, in nearly 50 of those 254 plate appearances, Outman has been the recipient of at least one missed strike call by the umpire.

We'll take a look at which pitchers in 2011 received the most called strikes out of the strike zone next....