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John Dewan's Stat of the Week


The Most Pitcher & Hitter Friendly Umpires

January 16, 2015

As a quantifiable skill, pitch framing has been garnering a lot of attention in the past few years. While most research on that front has focused on a catcher's ability to get extra strikes called, at Baseball Info Solutions we have developed a methodology for dividing the credit among the catcher, the pitcher, the batter, and the umpire. We call our system Strike Zone Plus/Minus, and the details of the methodology will be explained in The Fielding Bible—Volume IV coming out this spring.

While a catcher's receiving skills are obviously very important on borderline pitches, we have found that everyone else involved in the pitch also has a discernible impact on whether that pitch is called a ball or a strike, not least of which is the umpire. He is the one that actually makes the call, and, as one might imagine, each umpire has his own personal tendencies. Some umpires are more likely to give the pitcher the call on questionable pitches, while others are more likely to favor the hitter. With Strike Zone Plus/Minus, we can look at which umpires fall into which category.

Let's start with the pitcher-friendly umpires. Below is a table showing the five umpires that the men on the mound most enjoyed having behind the plate in 2014.

Most Pitcher-Friendly Umpires, 2014
Umpire Extra Strikes
Ron Kulpa 104
Bill Miller 102
Doug Eddings 97
Angel Hernandez 92
Brian O'Nora 82


These five umpires called the most strikes over and above what would have been expected based on the pitch location, the count the pitch was thrown in, how far the pitch was from hitting the catcher's target (an item that makes our methodology unique), and several other variables that we have accounted for.

Now let's look at the most hitter-friendly umpires in 2014, the men that called the fewest strikes (or the most balls) relative to what would have been expected based on the pitches they saw.

Most Hitter-Friendly Umpires, 2014
Umpire Extra Strikes
Paul Schrieber -131
Tom Hallion -78
Seth Buckminster -75
Greg Gibson -70
Alfonso Marquez -64


Strike Zone Plus/Minus is just part of all the new and improved defensive analysis that will be available in The Fielding Bible—Volume IV, which will be released on March 1, 2015 and is available for pre-order now.

Search Archived Stats of the Week

Published Date:

 TitlePublished Date
Edit The Most Pitcher & Hitter Friendly Umpires Jan 16 2015
Edit The Best Baserunning Team in MLB Jan 09 2015
Edit Are Defensive Runs Saved Predictive? Dec 31 2014
Edit The Downside of the Recent Padres Acquisitions Dec 19 2014
Edit The Flat Bat Award 2014 Dec 04 2014
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Edit Making a Great Defensive Play Then Leading Off the Next Inning Nov 05 2013
Edit The 2013 Fielding Bible Awards Oct 28 2013
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Edit Simmons Has Company Sep 23 2013
Edit Who are the Slowest Players in Baseball? Sep 12 2013
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