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October 8, 2011

BP Unfiltered

NLCS Umpire Charts and Data

by Mike Fast

I worked up some umpire data for Mike Ferrin and the MLB Network Radio show for the National League Championship Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals, and I thought some of you might be interested in seeing the data.

One of the umpires on the NLCS crew is Bill Miller, who has had the biggest strike zone among regular MLB umpires in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Miller has called more strikes outside the average strike zone called by MLB umpires ("extra strikes") and fewer balls inside the average strike zone ("extra balls") than any other umpire. Here is where the other NLCS umpires rank by that measure, as compared to their peers.

Ump extra strikes and extra balls

Here is the data for all the regular umpires 2010 to 2011, ordered from biggest strike zone to smallest.

Umpire

Pitches

Correct%

Extra Ball%

Extra Strike%

Delta

Bill Miller

9705

90.2%

4.7%

5.1%

-0.4%

Doug Eddings

9892

89.6%

5.5%

4.9%

0.6%

Vic Carapazza

5512

90.9%

4.9%

4.3%

0.6%

Bob Davidson

10525

89.2%

5.8%

5.0%

0.8%

Wally Bell

9328

89.8%

5.5%

4.7%

0.8%

Brian Runge

7647

90.1%

5.5%

4.4%

1.0%

Ted Barrett

9551

89.5%

5.8%

4.7%

1.1%

Jeff Nelson

10128

90.6%

5.4%

4.0%

1.4%

Tim Welke

10020

89.8%

5.8%

4.4%

1.5%

John Hirschbeck

8301

89.2%

6.2%

4.7%

1.5%

Gary Darling

9885

90.2%

5.7%

4.1%

1.7%

Paul Emmel

8052

89.7%

6.0%

4.2%

1.8%

Mike Estabrook

8430

89.7%

6.1%

4.3%

1.8%

Brian Gorman

9645

90.0%

5.9%

4.1%

1.8%

Rob Drake

9590

89.0%

6.5%

4.5%

1.9%

Dan Iassogna

9389

90.1%

6.0%

4.0%

2.0%

Ron Kulpa

10129

89.5%

6.3%

4.2%

2.0%

Phil Cuzzi

10044

89.7%

6.2%

4.1%

2.1%

Fieldin Culbreth

9756

91.1%

5.5%

3.4%

2.2%

Brian O'Nora

9364

90.1%

6.1%

3.8%

2.3%

Tim Timmons

9337

89.6%

6.3%

4.1%

2.3%

Jim Reynolds

8589

90.0%

6.2%

3.9%

2.3%

Jeff Kellogg

9574

89.2%

6.6%

4.2%

2.3%

Mike Everitt

10176

89.9%

6.2%

3.9%

2.3%

Marvin Hudson

9472

89.8%

6.3%

3.9%

2.4%

Dan Bellino

8339

89.8%

6.3%

3.9%

2.4%

Laz Diaz

9695

90.2%

6.1%

3.7%

2.4%

Larry Vanover

8904

88.9%

6.7%

4.3%

2.4%

Eric Cooper

9472

88.9%

6.8%

4.3%

2.5%

Andy Fletcher

9323

89.3%

6.6%

4.0%

2.6%

Jerry Meals

9672

90.5%

6.1%

3.4%

2.7%

Hunter Wendelstedt

9589

89.8%

6.5%

3.7%

2.7%

Marty Foster

8299

90.6%

6.1%

3.3%

2.8%

Jim Wolf

9335

90.6%

6.1%

3.3%

2.8%

Mark Carlson

9549

88.9%

7.0%

4.1%

2.8%

Mike Winters

10346

88.9%

7.0%

4.1%

2.9%

D.J. Reyburn

7041

90.9%

6.0%

3.1%

2.9%

Bill Welke

8978

90.4%

6.2%

3.3%

2.9%

Dana DeMuth

10173

90.4%

6.3%

3.4%

2.9%

Gary Cederstrom

9850

89.7%

6.7%

3.7%

3.0%

Dale Scott

10263

88.7%

7.2%

4.1%

3.0%

Mike Muchlinski

6110

89.8%

6.6%

3.6%

3.1%

Angel Hernandez

9967

89.5%

6.8%

3.7%

3.1%

Lance Barksdale

8099

89.2%

7.0%

3.9%

3.1%

CB Bucknor

10081

89.0%

7.1%

3.9%

3.2%

Mike DiMuro

9625

89.8%

6.7%

3.4%

3.3%

Brian Knight

8862

90.0%

6.6%

3.4%

3.3%

James Hoye

9438

89.8%

6.8%

3.5%

3.3%

Ed Rapuano

10256

89.7%

6.8%

3.5%

3.3%

Tony Randazzo

9799

90.2%

6.6%

3.2%

3.4%

Chris Guccione

9802

90.7%

6.3%

3.0%

3.4%

Bruce Dreckman

9286

89.9%

6.7%

3.3%

3.4%

Paul Nauert

7980

89.6%

6.9%

3.5%

3.4%

Joe West

10646

89.9%

6.7%

3.3%

3.4%

Kerwin Danley

10065

89.9%

6.8%

3.3%

3.5%

Jerry Layne

9269

89.4%

7.2%

3.4%

3.8%

Jim Joyce

6140

89.3%

7.3%

3.4%

3.9%

Adrian Johnson

9949

88.9%

7.5%

3.6%

4.0%

Alan Porter

5407

90.0%

7.0%

3.0%

4.0%

Todd Tichenor

9729

89.4%

7.4%

3.2%

4.2%

Alfonso Marquez

10059

89.5%

7.3%

3.2%

4.2%

Tom Hallion

9295

90.2%

7.0%

2.8%

4.2%

Ed Hickox

9528

89.4%

7.5%

3.1%

4.4%

Angel Campos

6852

89.0%

7.7%

3.3%

4.4%

Derryl Cousins

9698

89.5%

7.5%

3.1%

4.4%

Sam Holbrook

8900

89.0%

7.7%

3.3%

4.4%

Mark Wegner

6283

90.0%

7.3%

2.7%

4.6%

Scott Barry

9193

89.0%

7.8%

3.2%

4.6%

Greg Gibson

9793

89.3%

7.6%

3.0%

4.6%

Chad Fairchild

9368

88.3%

8.2%

3.5%

4.8%

Mike Reilly

5160

88.4%

8.3%

3.3%

5.0%

Tim Tschida

8016

88.4%

8.4%

3.2%

5.2%

Tim McClelland

9623

89.5%

7.9%

2.6%

5.3%

Gerry Davis

9344

89.1%

8.3%

2.6%

5.7%

Paul Schrieber

5880

89.2%

8.3%

2.5%

5.7%

We can also look at how the umpires' strike zones shifted horizontally with left-handed and right-handed batters at the plate. Here is how the NLCS umpires compare to their peers in how many strike calls they made off the plate outside past the average umpire's strike zone on pitches between 2.1 and 3.1 feet high.

ump outside strikes to LHB and RHB

Here is the data for all the regular umpires from the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Umpire

LHB Outside Strike%

RHB Outside Strike%

Tim McClelland

1%

3%

Eric Cooper

1%

3%

Phil Cuzzi

2%

7%

Chad Fairchild

2%

4%

Larry Vanover

3%

10%

Angel Campos

3%

1%

Mike Everitt

3%

5%

Mike Muchlinski

3%

5%

Alfonso Marquez

3%

6%

Alan Porter

4%

4%

Paul Schrieber

4%

0%

Lance Barksdale

4%

2%

Angel Hernandez

4%

4%

Bill Miller

4%

5%

Gerry Davis

4%

4%

Mark Wegner

4%

3%

Gary Cederstrom

4%

6%

Paul Nauert

4%

5%

Jim Wolf

5%

4%

Sam Holbrook

5%

9%

Brian Knight

5%

7%

Dale Scott

5%

10%

CB Bucknor

5%

15%

Jeff Nelson

5%

6%

Vic Carapazza

5%

7%

Paul Emmel

5%

6%

James Hoye

5%

5%

D.J. Reyburn

6%

5%

Tim Tschida

6%

1%

Bruce Dreckman

6%

7%

Rob Drake

6%

14%

Scott Barry

6%

7%

Jerry Meals

6%

9%

Todd Tichenor

6%

3%

Dan Iassogna

6%

9%

Jim Joyce

7%

7%

Derryl Cousins

7%

4%

Jeff Kellogg

7%

3%

Mike DiMuro

7%

6%

Marvin Hudson

7%

7%

Marty Foster

7%

6%

Tim Timmons

7%

6%

Bill Welke

7%

5%

Ron Kulpa

7%

7%

Tony Randazzo

7%

1%

Mark Carlson

7%

4%

Dana DeMuth

7%

6%

Mike Estabrook

8%

8%

Greg Gibson

8%

3%

Ed Hickox

8%

3%

Dan Bellino

8%

11%

Jim Reynolds

8%

7%

Joe West

8%

5%

Adrian Johnson

9%

2%

Brian O'Nora

9%

13%

Doug Eddings

9%

6%

Chris Guccione

9%

8%

Jerry Layne

9%

13%

Mike Winters

9%

9%

Brian Runge

9%

11%

Andy Fletcher

10%

13%

Tom Hallion

10%

7%

Laz Diaz

10%

7%

Ed Rapuano

11%

6%

Gary Darling

11%

5%

Ted Barrett

12%

14%

Fieldin Culbreth

12%

6%

Brian Gorman

13%

5%

Hunter Wendelstedt

14%

9%

Kerwin Danley

15%

5%

Tim Welke

16%

9%

Bob Davidson

16%

9%

John Hirschbeck

18%

18%

Wally Bell

18%

6%

Finally, here are strike zone charts showing all the ball and strike calls made by the six umpires on the NLCS crew during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. These charts are from the umpire and catcher perspective.

RHB called pitches by Gary Darling

LHB called pitches by Gary Darling

RHB called pitches by Mike Everitt

LHB called pitches by Mike Everitt

RHB called pitches by Sam Holbrook

LHB called pitches by Sam Holbrook

RHB called pitches by Bill Miller

LHB called pitches by Bill Miller

RHB called pitches by Tim Timmons

LHB called pitches by Tim Timmons

RHB called pitches by Mike Winters

LHB called pitches by Mike Winters

Reference articles:

The Real Strike Zone

The Real Strike Zone, Part 2

Mike Fast is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here

7 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Tynan

Wow, this is awesome!

Oct 09, 2011 06:49 AM
rating: 4
 
Randy Brown
(189)

Outstanding. I was wondering about Tim Welke's "usual" strike zone after last night's ALCS Game 1. Apparently the thimble was in use for one night only.

Oct 09, 2011 07:10 AM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

The strike zones for left handed hitters are so consistently skewed that I wonder if there's a bug in the data presentation here. If that's really the way calls are going, then St. Louis, with its numerous LH hitters and switch hitters who will bat LH against the predominantly right-handed Milwaukee pitching, may be screwed. So, of course, will be Prince Fielder (today's game notwithstanding), but having one guy victimized by a weird strike zone is not as bad as four or five, which St. Louis may have in some situations.

Are you _sure_ those data are right, Mike? That just seems like an extraordinarily severe preference for the outside strike to lefties that isn't nearly as overwhelming for righties.

Oct 09, 2011 18:05 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Fast
BP staff

Yes, I'm sure the data are right. I'm also far from the only person to observe this. John Walsh was the first, as far as I know, back in 2007:
The Eye of the Umpire

Oct 09, 2011 18:56 PM
 
BP staff member Mike Fast
BP staff

By the way, if you look at the reference articles at the end of the post, particularly the first one, I discuss fairly extensively some possible reasons for the LHB strike zone shift. And it is mostly just a shifted zone, not a bigger zone. So I don't know that LHB are disadvantaged in having to defend the outside of the plate more and the inside of the plate less. LHB stand a couple inches closer to the plate anyhow, so it more or less evens out.

Oct 09, 2011 18:59 PM
 
BillJohnson

Wow. Thanks for the followup. I'll look at the articles.

I'm not sure, however, that I agree that the data support the claim that it is a shifted zone, not a bigger one. If a pitcher knows he's going to get the call four inches outside, he'll avoid the inside strike like it was a Uwe Boll movie. The data seem to bear this out: compare the density of dots (red or green) inside the strike zone near the inside corner to the density beyond the outside corner. Then repeat the exercise for RH hitters. Of course, it would be better to do this looking at actual, numerical information rather than density of dots. Is that available anywhere?

Oct 09, 2011 19:17 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Fast
BP staff

Bill, I'm not claiming that everything perfectly evens out for LHB and RHB in terms of the strike zone, just that it mostly does so.

The horizontal points at which 50% of taken pitches are called strikes is -1.20 and +0.81 feet for LHB and -1.03 and +1.00 feet for RHB.

Now, of course, as you point out, the pitch distribution matters, too, not just the 50% point. But the average pitch location that LHB see is about 2.4 inches farther outside than the average pitch location to RHB, and the strike zone is shifted by about 2.2 or 2.3 inches. There's a bit of a chicken and egg problem there for determining cause and effect, but for simply describing what we observe, the strike zone shift follows almost exactly with the pitch distribution.

As to whether this information is available anywhere, I don't think it is, other than in the raw PITCHf/x format. (There have been a lot of articles written about the strike zone, so I might be forgetting one where someone has shared some of the pertinent data, but all those authors were basically doing what I'm doing, which is downloading the raw PITCHf/x data and putting it into their own database for analysis.)

Oct 09, 2011 21:45 PM
 
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