Strike Zone Newsbeat
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Joe Rosales and Scott Spratt’s, both of Baseball Info Solutions, co-winning article of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference top research paper. Their work suggests that pitch framing, which has traditionally rewarded most of the credit to catchers alone, is actually a function of three independent participants: the catcher, pitcher, and umpire.
Expanded use of instant replay was a major talking point of the 2014 MLB season, but balls and strikes are notable
exclusions to the list of reviewable plays. Despite the increased oversight that video technology has provided in
ensuring that umpires call a more consistent strike zone than was once the case, the strike zone will likely remain the
final stronghold of the umpire’s influence over the game. As a result, the strike zone will always be a bit of a moving
target, and the ability of certain players to successfully find ways to exploit that gives us a good reason to quantify
that skill, leaving those who can control ball/strike calls with a significant advantage.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Maybe its time to say Domi Arigato and bring in Umpire Roboto.
Last Friday, Giants Ryan Vogelsong and Casey McGehee—while highly appreciative of their time in Japan and the things they learned while playing there—both independently referenced preferential treatment for homegrown stars in Nippon Professional Baseball.
From the other side of the plate, McGehee said that “you end up striking out looking a lot because there were a lot of times that if the catcher caught it, you were sitting down.” Using the Japanese word for foreigner, McGehee said the matchup was important: “Your best case scenario was when you had a gaijin pitching and a gaijin hitting.”
Jason Coskrey covers baseball for the Japan Times and has heard foreign players say this sort of thing before. He reached out to Jeremy Powell, who was with the Expos for two years and pitched in both NPB’s Central and Pacific Leagues from 2001-2008. While Powell felt that umpires were “focused on simply doing their best to do a good job,” it was a bit different when it came to big calls—“in crucial counts that really had an impact on how the inning may end up there were times that the call would favor the native player—it came with the territory (literally), it’s part of the game and I had to move on, albeit it was never easy.”
Thursday, October 23, 2014
In his paper, Mills attributes between 25 percent and 40 percent of the scoring decline stems from the larger strike zone, and he said that he considered that estimate conservative. The zone may have begun growing about a decade ago, when Major League Baseball began using video to evaluate umpires’ calls behind home plate. But the 2009-10 off-season, when the league put a more comprehensive system into place, seems to have been a turning point. Umpires now receive a report after each game breaking down their performance. The result seems to be a strike zone that is both more accurate, as far as the rule book is concerned, and more consistent. A third recent analysis, by Jeff Sullivan of Fan Graphs, found that the variation in umpire calls on low pitches has declined in the last five seasons. A strike (or ball) for one umpire is more often a strike (or ball) for another.
Posted: October 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM | 0 comment(s)
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