Analyzing the Umpires: NLDS Edition

It is time to look at the third team on the field for the National League division round, the umpires. Each umpire is given a quick look to see if they have any unique strike calling patterns. Also, I posted their 2013 K/9 and BB/9 rates which I scaled them to the league average strikeout and walk rates. A 100 value is league average and a 110 value would be a value 10% higher than the average. Additionally, I added images of their called strike zones verses right and left handed hitters (from catchers perspective) compared to the league average. The scale is the percentage difference where -0.1 means 10% points less than the league average

Cardinals vs. Pirates

Overall, not a bad umpire crew. The only one with a distinct bias will be Paul Nauert and he will be favoring pitchers.

Jerry Layne – He doesn’t like to call the inside strike, but does like to call low strikes.
K/9: 7.5 (99)
BB/9: 3.1 (103)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Wally Bell – With both handed batters, he will more likely call low pitches and those to the third base side strikes.

K/9: 7.6 (100)
BB/9: 2.8 (93)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Sam Holbrook – He squeezes the zone, especially for left-handed hitters (LHH). He compensates by calling lower strikes.

K/9: 7.4 (98)
BB/9: 2.9 (96)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Jim Joyce – Calls the low strike for both handed hitters. For right-handed hitters (RHH), he doesn’t call the high strike. For LHH, he doesn’t call as many strikes on the edge.

K/9: 7.3 (96)
BB/9: 2.9 (96)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Paul Nauert – Loves to call the low strike which leads to his high strikeout and low walk rates.
K/9: 7.8 (103)
BB/9: 2.5 (83)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Tony Randazzo – Another ump who like to call the low strike, but calls less strikes on the edges.
K/9: 7.6 (100)
BB/9: 3.2 (106)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Dodgers-Braves

Overview – Again, not a bad group which likes to call the low strike.

John Hirschbeck – His zone is fairly average.

K/9: 8.0 (106)
BB/9: 3.1 (103)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Laz Diaz – His only difference is he calls more outside low pitches strikes for RHH.
K/9: 7.5 (99)
BB/9: 3.0 (99)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Marvin Hudson – He likes to call low strike to both RH and LH hitters.
K/9: 7.3 (96)
BB/9: 3.3 (109)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Bill Miller – He calls an overall larger strike zone than the rest of the league.
K/9: 7.5 (99)
BB/9: 2.7 (89)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Tim Welke – He shifts his LHH strike zone out to the third base side. His RHH zone expands a bit.
K/9: 7.0 (92)
BB/9: 3.0 (99)

vs LHH

vs RHH

Hunter Wendelstedt – He is pretty normal, except he pushed the LHH zone outside. Also, he extends the RHH zone up and down.

K/9: 8.1 (107)
BB/9: 2.8 (93)

vs LHH

vs RHH



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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.



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williams .482
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williams .482

These are from the catcher’s (and umpire’s) perspective, correct? It looks like either Jerry Lane does not like to call inside strikes, or the LHH and RHH heat maps were switched.

That aside, this is a really cool piece. I hope you publish these for the rest of the playoff crews.

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