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Umpiring Newsbeat

Saturday, February 06, 2016

We’ll have robot quality umps by 2059

Better umpires? Or replicants?

But improve is what umpires have done every year since we’ve had access to robust PITCHf/x data. When you plot out every pitch umpires had to call a ball or a strike from Baseball Savant and judge accuracy using its strike zone definition, the consistency of this improvement stands out immediately. Over the past seven seasons, umpires have improved their accuracy by 0.37 percentage points each year, a value that seems negligible until you work out that over the course of the season the decision to call a ball or strike comes down to the umpire on roughly half of pitches thrown. This represents more than 350,000 strike zone judgement calls home plate umpires, as a group, must make each year….

Umpires’ mastery over the strike zone has been on a steady, linear progression toward robotic perfection since we’ve been able to track it in the public domain. The adjustment that younger pitchers have been better able to make is calling fewer balls as strikes each year. If the yearly changes continue on, we’ll have robot quality umpires in the summer of 2059. Maybe even sooner, as the older, less adaptable umpires are replaced.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 06, 2016 at 09:13 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch fx, umpiring

 

 

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