Analyzing the Umpires: Play-In Games Edition

Here is a quick look at the called strike zone and strikeout and walk rates for the three home plate umpires over the next three nights.

Monday: Rays vs. Rangers

Jeff Kellogg is basically league average. His called zone is expanded low and squeezed a bit on the sides. Left-handed hitters may expect to see a little bigger strike zone than right-handed hitters.

2013 Rates
K/9: 7.0 (League Average: 7.0)
BB/9: 2.6 (League Average: 2.8)

Called strike zone compared to league average (courtesy of Baseballheatmaps.com).

Note: All maps are from the catcher’s perspective and show the percentage difference in decimal format (.10 = 10%) for the umpire’s strike zone compared to the strike zone of all umpires.

vs. LHH

vs. RHH

Tuesday: Reds vs Pirates

Joe West is a little more likely to call a strike than the average umpire. For both right and left handed hitters, he likes to call the low strike on the 3B side.

2013 rates
K/9: 7.3 (League Average: 7.0)
BB/9: 2.7 (League Average: 2.8)

Called strike zone compared to league average (courtesy of Baseballheatmaps.com).

vs. LHH

vs. RHH

Wednesday: Indians vs Rangers/Rays winner

Gerry Davis is kind of a pitcher’s friend. He has one of the league’s highest strikeout and lowest walk rates this year, but it would be tough to tell with his called strike zone. He does not like to call the inside strike to both left and right-handed hitters. Instead he extends the zone both up and down a bit.

2013 Rates
K/9: 7.5 (League Average: 7.0)
BB/9: 2.3 (League Average: 2.8)

Called strike zone compared to league average:

vs. LHH

vs. RHH




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.


4 Responses to “Analyzing the Umpires: Play-In Games Edition”

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  1. Rays' 7th Infielder says:

    DEAR GOD! Joe West is in charge of a play-in game?!!? Why don’t we have Angel Hernandez call the AL game to balance out the insanity?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. #Pirates have had nine ejections this year. Five of those ejections have come from the six-man crew working the wild-card game.— Michael Sanserino (@msanserino) September 30, 2013

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. God says:

    I got your back.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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