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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Discussions: 2014 AL, NL Wild Card Games, Division Series

As the 2014 AL and NL Wild Card Games and Division Series get underway, we again open the umpire forum to discussion. Notes include home plate umpire performance according to pitch f/x and UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a (horizontal bound, "Kulpa Rule") and 6-2-b-b (vertical strike zone, "Miller Rule"). Plays include significant plays and instant replay reviews, if such plays occur. For future games, notes include home plate umpire probables. Call +/- also included/highlighted.

- 09/30, OAK@KC: HP Umpire Bill Miller: pfx (124/129 Balls, 61/72 Strikes = 185/201 = 92.0%) +0 NU.
Game Complete: ALWC Royals defeat Athletics (1-0), net advantage Neutral, +0 pitches (-).

- 10/01, SF@PIT: HP Umpire Brian Gorman: pfx (86/87 Balls, 39/54 Strikes = 125/141 = <90.0%) +10 PIT.
Game Complete: NLWC Giants defeat Pirates (1-0), net advantage Pirates, +10 pitches (lost game).

- 10/02, BAL@DET 1: HP Umpire Paul Schrieber: pfx.
- 10/02, KC@LAA 1: HP Umpire Paul Nauert: pfx.

- 10/03, __@WAS 1: Laz Diaz: pfx.
- 10/03, BAL@DET 2: Scott Barry: pfx.
- 10/03, STL@LAD 1: Jerry Meals: pfx.
- 10/03, KC@LAA 2: Chris Guccione: pfx.

- 10/04, __@WAS 2: Vic Carapazza: pfx.
- 10/04, STL@LAD 2: Rob Drake: pfx.

- 10/05, DET@BAL 3: Jeff Kellogg: pfx.
- 10/05, LAA@KC 3: Jeff Nelson: pfx.

- 10/06, WAS@__ 3: Tom Hallion: pfx.
- 10/06, LAD@STL 3: Dale Scott: pfx.

Instant Replay Reviews (R-QOC Coloring: Green [Confirmed]Yellow [Stands]Red [Overturned]):
None

Other Plays (Green [Correct], Yellow [Irrecusable or Inconclusive] or Red [Incorrect]):
- OAK@KC, ALWC 1: 1B Umpire Gerry Davis rules Hosmer's grounder foul in front of the bag
- OAK@KC, ALWC 1: 2B Umpire Dan Iassogna, U3 Welke call 7 Royals safe on steal attempts

Roster: 2014 AL, NL League Championship Series Umpires

The umpire assignments for MLB's League Championship Series are now available. MLB has not yet issued its official press release as the Division Series is not complete as of the time of this posting. This post, however, serves as an illustration of what to expect with the new seven-man umpiring crew & Game 3 replay rotation as reported on September 29 (as such, this serves as confirmation of the 9/29 story).

For instance, Dan Iassogna will begin the National League Championship Series at New York's MLBAM Replay Operations Center, where he will be assisted by Todd Tichenor. After the series shifts from its host city following the conclusion of Game 2, Iassogna will join chief Gerry Davis' crew, assuming Phil Cuzzi's position in the rotation while Cuzzi joins Tichenor in NY for the remainder of the series.

Crews below are listed in their Game 1 configuration. As MLB did during the Wild Card Games (and for two of the four Division Series), the Crew Chief begins each series at second base.

American League Championship Series (ALCS)
HP: Tim Timmons (10 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 13). [Games 1 & 2, then Replay]
1B: Marvin Hudson (-3 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 0).
2B: Joe West -cc (12 Previous + 3 League Championship Series + 1 Crew Chief Bonus = 16).
3B: Ron Kulpa (6 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 9).
LF: Mark Wegner (4 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 7).
RF: Brian Gorman (4 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 7).
Replay: Paul Emmel (11 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 14). [Games 1 & 2, then LF]
Replay Assistant (Not Assigned to the Field of Play): Todd Tichenor.

National League Championship Series (NLCS)
HP: Phil Cuzzi (-3 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 0). [Games 1 & 2, then Replay]
1B: Bill Welke (2 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 5).
2B: Gerry Davis -cc (3 Previous + 3 League Championship Series + 1 Crew Chief Bonus = 7).
3B: Mark Carlson (13 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 16).
LF: Greg Gibson (16 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 19).
RF: Bill Miller (13 Previous + 3 League Championship Series = 16).
Replay: Dan Iassogna (8 Previous + 3 League Championship Series). [Games 1 & 2, then LF]
Replay Assistant (Not Assigned to the Field of Play): Todd Tichenor.

-cc denotes Crew Chief, BOLD TEXT denotes first LCS assignment. Per UEFL Rule 4-3-c, all umpires selected to appear in the Championship Series shall receive three bonus points for this appearance; crew chiefs shall receive one additional bonus point for this role (four points total). Note that the LCS Replay Assistant does not receive additional points for this role.

MLB to Test Pace of Game Proposals at Arizona Fall League

MLB's Pace of Game Committee tapped the 2014 Arizona Fall League as its playground for experimental pace of game initiatives, allowing the AFL to serve a similar role as real-world laboratory that it did for expanded instant replay review in 2013. According to the Pace of Game Committee's plan, the following initiatives will be rolled out come November in the AFL:

>> Batter's Box Rule [OBR 6.02(d)]: MLB is effectively looking to adopt the National Association Leagues (Minor League Baseball)'s Rule 6.02(d) for Major League play, requiring the batter to keep at least one foot in the batter's box throughout his entire time at bat, unless (i) the batter swings at the pitch, (ii) the batter is forced out of the batter's box by a pitch, (iii) a member of either team requests and is granted "Time," (iv) a defensive player attempts a play on a runner at any base, (v) the batter feints a bunt, (vi) a wild pitch or passed ball occurs, (vii) the pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound after receiving the ball, or (viii) the catcher leaves the catcher's box to give defensive signals. The penalty for unauthorized exit from the batter's box is a dead ball strike.

>> No-Pitch Intentional Walk: Hoping to eliminate time wasted, and assuming that MLB pitchers are accurate, managers will signal to the umpire with four fingers when he wishes to intentionally walk a batter. Instead of throwing four balls, the batter will simply be awarded first base without seeing any pitches. This proposal effectively eliminates the catcher's balk.

>> 20-Second Rule: Not-withstanding Doug Eddings' controversially correct 2007 enforcement of the 12-second pitcher's Rule 8.04, all games at Salt River Fields will feature synchronized 20-second clocks in the outfield, both dugouts and behind home plate operated by a third party whose purpose shall be to start the clock when the pitcher receives the ball, regardless of whether the batter is in the box or otherwise ready to play (albeit, the clock starts when the batter is alert to the pitcher for the first pitch of the AB only). After a foul, the clock begins when the umpire puts the ball in play. Penalties: If the pitcher fails to begin his pitching position within 20 seconds, the umpire shall call a ball. If the batter steps out or fails to appear in the box at any time during the 20-second countdown, the pitcher may pitch the ball for a called strike.

>> 2:05 Inning Break & 2:30 Pitching Change Break Clocks: The only difference from previous timing rules is that if the batter fails to enter the box by the 1:45 mark, the umpire may call an automatic strike. Likewise, if the batter is ready and the pitcher fails to throw a pitch by the 2:05 mark, the umpire shall call a ball (2:05 is 20 seconds after 1:45, see the 20-second rule). Insofar as the 2:30 pitching change rule is concerned, the time from the new pitcher crossing the warning track or foul line from the bullpen until the first pitch is thrown, no more than 2:30 may elapse (penalty: ball).

>> Three "Time Out" Limit: Baseball wants to institute conference provisions similar to lower level regulations. Each time will be allowed only three "time out" conferences per game, inclusive of any extra innings which might be played. This includes the catcher going out to conference with the pitcher, manager or coach mound visits and offensive/base coach conferences with a batter. Pitching change, injury and other emergency time out conferences will not count toward this three "time out" limit. The penalty for a fourth conference is a warning not to engage in the fourth conference, but the game is to continue uninterrupted ("offenders may be subject to discipline").

-- Instant Replay Review: Though not technically part of the Pace of Game Committee's plan, MLB will experiment with offseason replay review tweaks during the 17 home games at Salt River Fields (including connectivity to New York's MLBAM Replay Operations Center). Replay's scope, initiation, time limits and similar procedures will be under the gun.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MLB Ejection & Replay Stats: 2014 Season Sabermetrics

Ejection & Instant Replay Review Statistics and Sabermetrics for MLB's 2014 regular season are now available. Close Call Sports and the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League presents our season's-end strategic statistics reporting, the first measure of umpire-centric sabermetrics in professional baseball. Visit Instant Replay Review Statistics 101: Week 1 Sabermetrics for an introduction to Ejection & Replay Review definitions and terms, including Review Affirmation Percentage (RAP), also known as QOC (Quality of Correctness), Replay Percentage of Success (RPS), alternatively, 1.000 - RAP = RPS, and Manager's Challenge Success Percentage (CSP). Also included is Team Success Percentage (TSP), which includes all Replay Reviews; both Manager's Challenges and Crew Chief Reviews.

With the 2014 MLB Regular Season in the books, the UEFL recaps the year's traditional ejections, plus professional baseball's "this time it counts" inaugural season with Instant Replay Reviews.

Summary, Ejections.
>> 199 Total Regular Season Ejections, an increase of 19 ejections (11%) over 2013's 180 ejections.
>> Umpires were 71.7% accurate on calls associated with ejection, an increase over 2013.
>> The Red Sox were ejected more often than any other team; the AL East led all MLB divisions.
>> The Nationals were ejected less often than any other team; the AL West trailed all MLB divisions.
>> Managers Renteria (CHC), Gardenhire (MIN) and McClendon (SEA) led all managers.
>> Umpires Bellino and Nelson led all umpires; Carlson was the most accurate ejector (highest E-QOC).
>> Bill Miller and Joe West's crews led all of baseball in ejection activity.
>> Most ejections occurred in the 8th inning; Ejections from 6th and on comprised 63% of all tosses.
>> Most ejections occurred on Sundays. Weekend series (Fri-Sun) featured 52% of all heave-ho's.
>> The most common reason for ejection was Balls/Strikes, followed by arguing a Replay Review.

Summary, Replay Reviews.
>> 1274 Total Replay Reviews, of which calls were affirmed 53% of the time (47% overturned).
>> The Chicago Cubs used replay more than any other team; the Brewers less than all others.
>> Manager Renteria (CHC) led all managers in filing challenges, but was fairly inaccurate.
>> Manager Girardi (NYY) filed less challenges than most managers, but led the league in accuracy.
>> The league average manager was successful in challenging a play 53% of the time.
>> Umpire Reyburn saw 24 of his calls reviewed, more than any other umpire.
>> Bill Miller's crew led all of baseball in replay activity.
>> Umpire Guccione led the league in accuracy with most of his calls affirmed by replay.
>> A trio of call-ups had all calls overturned, but only had two reviews apiece (very small sample size).
>> Most reviews occurred in the 8th inning. Reviews from 7th and on comprised 41% of all reviews.
>> Most reviews occurred on Saturdays; Calls were most often overturned in daytime conditions.
>> The most common reason for review was Safe/Out, followed by HR/Not HR and Rule 7.13.

For detailed sabermetric analysis of MLB umpire ejections and instant replay review outcomes for the 2014 regular season, follow the "read more" link below. The advanced data below includes team and individual (by manager/player/umpire) ejection and replay review leaders and statistics, including manager's challenges and crew chief reviews. Complete listed ranking of least and most successful managers in challenging, most successful teams (manager's challenges + crew chief reviews) and review percentages by umpire are included.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rosters: 2014 Wild Card, Division Series, Replay Umpires

MLB has announced the 2014 Wild Card, ALDS and NLDS Umpires, the first two rounds of the 2014 Playoffs.

Wild Card A (ALWC/OAK@KC)
Gerry Davis -cc (1 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game + 1 Crew Chief Assignment Bonus = 3).
James Hoye (0 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 1).
Dan Iassogna (7 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 8).
Bill Miller (12 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 13).
Todd Tichenor (4 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 5).
Bill Welke (1 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 2).
Replay Officials Phil Cuzzi & Tim Timmons.

Wild Card B (NLWC/SF@PIT)
Joe West -cc (10 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game + 1 Crew Chief Assignment Bonus = 12).
Doug Eddings (0 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 1).
Paul Emmel (10 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 11).
Andy Fletcher (12 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 13).
Brian Gorman (3 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 4).
Mark Wegner (3 Previous + 1 Wild Card Game = 4).
Replay Officials Phil Cuzzi & Tim Timmons.

Crew A (NLDS/WC@WAS)
Mike Winters -cc (4 Previous + 2 Division Series + 1 Crew Chief Assignment Bonus = 7).
Vic Carapazza (21 Previous + 2 Division Series = 23).
Laz Diaz (8 Previous + 2 Division Series = 10).
Tom Hallion (9 Previous + 2 Division Series = 11).
Brian Knight (7 Previous + 2 Division Series = 9).
Hunter Wendelstedt (17 Previous + 2 Division Series = 19).
Replay Officials CB Bucknor, Chris Conroy, Ed Hickox, Brian O'Nora.

Crew B (NLDS/STL@LAD)
Dale Scott -cc (8 Previous + 2 Division Series + 1 Crew Chief Assignment Bonus = 11).
Jerry Meals (0 Previous + 2 Division Series = 2).
Rob Drake (8 Previous + 2 Division Series = 10).
Eric Cooper (4 Previous + 2 Division Series = 6).
Jerry Layne (-4 Previous + 2 Division Series = -2).
Alan Porter (19 Previous + 2 Division Series = 21).
Replay Officials CB Bucknor, Chris Conroy, Ed Hickox, Brian O'Nora.

Crew C (ALDS/WC@LAA)
Ted Barrett -cc (11 Previous + 2 Division Series + 1 Crew Chief Assignment Bonus = 14).
Lance Barksdale (2 Previous  + 2 Division Series = 4).
Chris Guccione (23 Previous + 2 Division Series = 25).
Paul Nauert (2 Previous + 2 Division Series = 4).
Jeff Nelson (20 Previous + 2 Division Series = 22).
Jim Reynolds (7 Previous + 2 Division Series = 9).
Replay Officials CB Bucknor, Chris Conroy, Ed Hickox, Brian O'Nora.

Crew D (ALDS/BAL@DET)
Jeff Kellogg -cc (12 Previous + 2 Division Series + 1 Crew Chief Assignment Bonus = 15).
Scott Barry (9 Previous + 2 Division Series = 11).
Dan Bellino (28 Previous + 2 Division Series = 30).
Fieldin Culbreth (19 Previous + 2 Division Series = 21).
Paul Schrieber (-6 Previous + 2 Division Series = -4).
Jim Wolf (6 Previous + 2 Division Series = 8).
Replay Officials CB Bucknor, Chris Conroy, Ed Hickox, Brian O'Nora.

-cc denotes Crew Chief, BOLD TEXT denotes first Post-season assignment. Per UEFL Rule 4-3-c, all umpires selected to appear in the Wild Card games shall receive one bonus point for this appearance. Umpires assigned to the Division Series shall receive two bonus points for this appearance; crew chiefs shall receive one additional bonus point for this role (two or three points total).

AP: MLB to Use 7-Man Umpire Crews for LCS, World Series

MLB will assign seven-man umpire crews to the League Championship and World Series according to an AP source. The reason for this, according to the anonymous source, is to accommodate baseball's instant replay technology.

The seventh umpire will begin each series at New York's MLBAM Replay Review HQ, rotating onto the field for Games 3 to replace an on-field umpire, who will head to New York for the series' remainder. The seventh umpire's starting position upon joining the crew for Game 3 will be left field, setting up a potential plate job for Game 7 (the Crew Chief role, circa 1964-2013).

According to this new arrangement between the World Umpires Association and Major League Baseball (remember the Crew Chief series in New York this year?), MLB will assign a replay official to every postseason game with a second umpire serving in the role of assistant replay official. During the League Championship and World Series, the assistant will remain at the command center for the entire series.

This format is covered by UEFL Rule 4-3-c-5-b regarding Replacement Umpires: "The Replacement Umpire shall receive points equitable to those prescribed by 4-3-c-1 through 4-3-c-4.  Approved Ruling: A Postseason Replacement Umpire is defined as any umpire who officiates a postseason contest in the capacity as an on-field umpire at the RF, LF, 3B, 2B, 1B or HP positions."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 No-Hitter 5: Alan Porter (1; Jordan Zimmermann)

Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter with plate umpire Alan Porter presiding Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C. marked the fifth and final no-hitter of the 2014 MLB regular season. Porter was joined for the Marlins-Nationals game by crew chief Gary Cederstrom (1B), Mark Ripperger (2B) and Lance Barksdale (3B). This is Zimmermann's first career no-hitter, a 10-strikeout, one-walk performance.

Sunday was Porter's first plate no-hitter, the first MLB no-hitter since September 1 2014 (Jordan Baker 1; Hamels, Diekman, Giles, Papelbon) and the first single-pitcher no-hitter since June 25, 2014 (Adam Hamari 1; Tim Lincecum). Crewmate Gary Cederstrom has also called a no-hitter (June 1, 2012; Johan Santana).

Porter received 39 callable pitches, a total of 25 balls and 14 called strikes; the look:

Balls: 25 called balls outside of strike zone / 0 called balls within strike zone = 25/25 = 100% Accuracy.
Strikes: 13 called strikes inside strike zone / 1 called strike outside strike zone = 13/14 = 92.9% Accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score = 38/39 = 97.4% Accuracy (+1 For Zimmermann).
In other words, Porter came within one pitch of calling a perfect game for Zimmermann's no-no.

Pitch f/x plot courtesy Brooks Baseball. NOTICE: This non-normalized plot is not the basis for analysis!

MLB Instant Replay Reviews 1272-1274: Sept 28, 2014

September 28, 2014 featured the following MLB Instant Replay Review decisions:

TypeR#PosUmpireRU#TeamRT#NameInnPreResult
R1272HPBarrett, Ted21CWS44Robin Ventura4OutStands
r1273HPBarrett, Ted22CWS45Robin Ventura7OutConfirmed
R12741BHallion, Tom9SF43Bruce Bochy7OutOverturned

MLB Instant Replay Review Videos (MLB Advanced Media):
Video 1272: KC@CWS: Sox challenge out at home in 4th, call stands PU Barrett
Video 1273: KC@CWS: Call at plate confirmed in the 7th PU Barrett
Video 1274: SD@SF: Giants challenge out in 7th, overturned U1 Hallion

Saturday, September 27, 2014

MLB Instant Replay Reviews 1264-1271: Sept 27, 2014

September 27, 2014 featured the following MLB Instant Replay Review decisions:

TypeR#PosUmpireRU#TeamRT#NameInnPreResult
r1264HPJoyce, Jim6CIN35Bryan Price1OutStands
r1265HPWolf, Jim14TOR57John Gibbons7OutOverturned
r1266HPBucknor, CB18PHI39Ryne Sandberg4OutConfirmed
R12672BConroy, Chris17KC36Ned Yost1SafeStands
R12682BWelke, Bill17OAK42Bob Melvin3SafeOverturned
R1269HPHoye, James14TEX50Tim Bogar8SafeConfirmed
R12701BBaker, Jordan13STL40Mike Matheny2SafeStands
R12712BFairchild, Chad9LAA48Mike Scioscia2SafeOverturned

MLB Instant Replay Review Videos (MLB Advanced Media):
Video 1264: PIT@CIN: Out call stands, no violation of Rule 7.13 PU Joyce
Video 1265: BAL@TOR: Out call overturned at plate in the 7th PU Wolf
Video 1266: ATL@PHI: Out call at the plate reviewed in the 4th, confirmed PU Bucknor
Video 1267: KC@CWS: Safe call stands in the 1st inning U2 Conroy
Video 1268: OAK@TEX: Safe call overturned in the 3rd inning U2 Welke, B
Video 1269: OAK@TEX: Safe call confirmed at home in 8th inning PU Hoye
Video 1270: STL@ARI: Safe call at first stands in the 2nd inning U1 Baker
Video 1271: LAA@SEA: Safe call overturned in the 2nd U2 Fairchild

Friday, September 26, 2014

MLB Ejection 199: Jeff Nelson (7; Rick Renteria)

2B Umpire Jeff Nelson ejected Cubs Manager Rick Renteria for arguing a balk ("Time" no-call) in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Cubs-Brewers game. With one out and one on, Brewers batter Carlos Gomez hit a 1-1 fastball from Cubs pitcher Pedro Strop on the ground to third baseman Luis Valbuena for an infield single. Replays indicate that prior to Strop's release of the ball, 1B Umpire Scott Barry called a balk on Strop, which in turn led to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo's failure to cover first base; Because U2 Segura advanced to third base and B1 Gomez reached first base, play proceeded without reference to the balk, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Cubs were leading, 6-3. The Cubs ultimately won the contest, 6-4.

This is Jeff Nelson (45)'s seventh ejection of the 2014 MLB Regular Season.
Jeff Nelson now has 20 points in the UEFL Standings (16 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 20).
Crew Chief Jeff Nelson now has 10 points in Crew Division (9 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 10).
*Rule 8.05 PENALTY states that if a balk is committed, "The ball is dead, and each runner shall advance one base without liability to be put out, unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, in which case the play proceeds without reference to the balk." In other words, the ball is dead unless R1/2/3 and B1 all advance at least one base. Because R2 and B1 advanced a base, the ball was not dead.

This is the 199th ejection of the 2014 MLB Regular Season.
This is the 90th Manager ejection of 2014.
This is the Cubs' 9th ejection of 2014, 1st in the NL Central (CHC 9; MIL, PIT 8; STL 7; CIN 5).
This is Rick Renteria's first ejection since July 9, 2014 (Andy Fletcher; QOC = Y [Fair/Foul]).
This is Jeff Nelson's first ejection since Sept 23, 2014 (Yoenis Cespedes; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 9/26/14
Video: Ricky is tossed arguing that a balk kills play; Nelson' explanation doesn't fly with the skip (CHC)