Thursday, June 21, 2018

Featured KBO Ejection - Trey Hillman Tossed via Interpreter

Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) umpire Kim Ik-su ejected SK Wyverns Manager Trey Hillman, who does not speak Korean, after an animated argument concerning a play at the plate, with the magic words provided care of SK's interpreter. No, the interpreter was not ejected.

With none out and three on in the bottom of the 7th inning of the SK Wyverns-Samsung Lions game, Lions batter Lee Won-seok hit a ground ball to SK second baseman Kim Sung-hyun, who threw to catcher Lee Jae-won as baserunner R3 Darin Ruf arrived at home plate.

Replays indicate HP Umpire Kim Ik-su's mechanics appeared to suggest that SK's catcher illegally blocked access to home plate in contravention of Rule 6.01(i)(2), which states, "Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score," with clarification that "a legitimate attempt to field the throw" is a legal exception for 6.01(i)(2).
Related PostLittle Home Plate Collision Begets Wrigley Bench Clearing (5/8/18).

Upon Replay Review as the result of a Manager's Challenge by Hillman, the "safe" ruling was affirmed, prompting Hillman's ejection for arguing the outcome of a Replay Review, proving that even in the KBO and transcending language barriers, some actions are unacceptable.

As for a Quality of Correctness component, replays indicate the catcher received the throw prior to impeding the runner's progress, which would render the call incorrect. However, the actions of the catcher's left leg—although incorrectly ruled as obstructive—suggest that the key to calling the modern interpretation of Rule 6.01(i)(2) is to rule plate blocking based, in part, on the catcher's attempt to cut-off access to home plate by using his lower body.

Video as follows:

Triple-A Call-Up Progress - June 2018

This Ask the UEFL article pertains to Triple-A call-ups, and how MLB has used its fill-in slate of umpires in a season beset by umpire injuries to its full-time staff. Here, we take a statistics and sabermetrics look at the most simple of measures: games worked by AAA umpires in 2018, as well as a glance at historical data for previous seasons.

In less than a month's time, MLBUmpireObserver will grace us with more detail and analysis in the All-Star Break outlook for minor league call-ups, but until then, since you asked, the following table compiled by Russ simply lists Triple-A umpires with the number of Major League games worked in 2018, and in seasons prior, heading into the current week (Week of June 18, 2018). You can find prior seasons' games worked for all call-ups on the UEFL's Umpire Roster & Crews page.

Click the column headers to sort by that metric.

Rk (2018) Rk (Total) Umpire 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 Total Gms
1 6 Lentz, Nic 59 109 105 273
2 1 Segal, Chris 56 124 21 116 111 428
3 2 Blakney, Ryan 54 119 142 88 403
4 7 Whitson, Chad 53 124 52 8 7 244
5 12 Rehak, Jeremie 48 48
6 4 May, Ben 45 104 69 88 30 336
7 3 Woodring, Tom 41 107 36 54 102 340
8 9 Ortiz, Roberto 40 66 8 114
9 5 Barber, Sean 34 67 67 58 92 318
9 14 Visconti, Jansen 34 34
11 8 DeJesus, Ramon 29 97 81 207
12 13 Mahrley, Nick 14 31 45
13 11 Livensparger, Shane 11 40 51
14 15 Libka, John 2 19 21
15 10 Additon, Ryan 0 55 55

*Note, Ryan Additon officiated his first game of the 2018 MLB regular season just this week.

**520 of the 4248 umpire assignments in MLB games through June 17 (1062 games played) were handled by AAA call-ups; 12.2% of all umpire assignments in 2018 thus far were handled by AAA call-up umpires.
**In 2017, 1062 of the 9720 umpire assignments (10.9%) were handled by Minor Leaguers.

Legend: Rk (2018) and Rk (Total) refer to the umpire's rank of MLB games assigned in 2018 and all-time, respectively.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

MLB Ejection 074 - Chad Fairchild (1; Alcides Escobar)

HP Umpire Chad Fairchild ejected Royals SS Alcides Escobar (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Rangers-Royals game. With none out and none on, Escobar took a 3-2 fastball from Rangers pitcher Jose Leclerc for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px -.687, pz 1.474 [sz_bot 1.565 / RAD 1.442]), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Rangers were leading, 3-1. The Rangers ultimately won the contest, 3-2.

This is Chad Fairchild (4)'s first ejection of 2018.
Chad Fairchild now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 8).
Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez now has 6 points in Crew Division (5 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 6).

This is the 74th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 38th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Escobat was 0-2 (SO) in the contest.
This is Kansas City's 3rd ejection of 2018, 1st in the AL Central (KC 3; CWS, DET 2; CLE 1; MIN 0).
This is Alcides Escobar's first ejection since September 19, 2016 (Toby Basner; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Chad Fairchild's first ejection since Sept 25, 2017 (Jose Bautista; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals, 6/20/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 073 - Will Little (2; Rick Renteria)

HP Umpire Will Little ejected White Sox Manager Rick Renteria (strike three call; QOCN) in the top of the 6th inning of the White Sox-Indians game. With two out and none on, White Sox batter Yoan Moncada took a 3-2 sinker from Indians pitcher Corey Kluber for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px .932, pz 1.434 [sz_bot 1.589 / RAD 1.466 / MOE 1.383]), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Indians were leading, 5-0. The Indians ultimately won the contest, **-*.

This is Will Little (93)'s second ejection of 2018.
Will Little now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 2).
Crew Chief Ted Barrett now has 9 points in Crew Division (9 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 9).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*This pitch was located 0.216 horizontal inches from being deemed a correct call.

This is the 73rd ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 30th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Chicago-AL's 2nd ejection of 2018, T-1st in the AL Central (CWS, DET, KC 2; CLE 1; MIN 0).
This is Rick Renteria's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since April 24 (Mike Estabrook; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Will Little's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since May 17 (Freddy Galvis; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians, 6/20/18 | Video as follows:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

MLB Ejections 071-72 - Fletcher (1-2; Straily, Mattingly)

HP Umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Marlins P Dan Straily and Manager Don Mattingly (throwing at after warnings; QOCU) in the bottom of the 2nd inning of the Marlins-Giants game. With one out and one on, Giants batter Buster Posey took a first-pitch fastball from Straily for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the pitch was located inside and bicep-high; in the top of the inning, Giants pitcher Dereck Rodriguez hit Marlins batter Lewis Brinson with a first-pitch fastball as well, resulting in warnings and a brief argument from Mattingly; the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the Giants were leading, 3-0. The Giants ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

These are Andy Fletcher (49)'s first and second ejections of 2018.
Andy Fletcher now has 3 points in the UEFL Standings (-1 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable Call] = 3).
Crew Chief Laz Diaz now has 2 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 2 Irrecusable Call = 2).

These are the 71st and 72nd ejection reports of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 29th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is the 37th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Straily's line was 1.1 IP, 4 ER, 2 HR.
This is Miami's 1/2nd ejection of 2018, T-3rd in the NL East (NYM, WAS 3; ATL, MIA 2; PHI 0).
This is Dan Straily's first career MLB ejection.
This is Don Mattingly's first ejection since September 15, 2017 (Ryan Additon; QOC = Y [BOO]).
This is Andy Fletcher's first ejection since May 9, 2017 (Don Mattingly; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Miami Marlins vs. San Francisco Giants, 6/19/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 070 - Pat Hoberg (2; Marwin Gonzalez)

HP Umpire Pat Hoberg ejected Astros LF Marwin Gonzalez (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 4th inning of the Rays-Astros game. With two out and none on, Gonzalez took a 0-2 slider from Rays pitcher Blake Snell for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -.647, pz 2.484); strike three was the only callable pitch of the at-bat (the others were a foul ball and swinging strike), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 1-1. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 2-1.

This is Pat Hoberg (31)'s second ejection of 2018.
Pat Hoberg now has 9 points in the UEFL Standings (5 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 9).
Crew Chief Gerry Davis now has -2 points in Crew Division (-3 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -2).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*This pitch was located 3.204 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 70th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 36th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Gonzalez was 0-2 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is Houston's 3rd ejection of 2018, T-1st in the AL West (LAA, HOU, SEA, TEX 3; OAK 0).
This is Marwin Gonzalez's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since April 1 (Jerry Meals; QOC = U [USC-NEC]).
This is Pat Hoberg's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since May 22 (Aaron Boone; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Houston Astros, 6/19/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 067-69 - Tripp Gibson (2-4; LAD x3)

HP Umpire Tripp Gibson ejected Dodgers LF Matt Kemp and Manager Dave Roberts (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 5th and C Yasmani Grandal (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 9th inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game. In the 5th, with two out and one on (R1), Dodgers batter Kemp took a 2-2 changeup from Cubs pitcher Tyler Chatwood for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px .209, pz 1.462 [sz_bot 1.627 / RAD 1.504 / MOE 1.421]), the call was correct. At the time of the ejections, the Cubs were leading, 3-1.

In the 9th, with one out and two on (R1, R2), Grandal took a 2-2 fastball from Cubs pitcher Justin Wilson for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and above the knees (px -.217, pz 1.576 [sz_bot 1.565]), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Cubs were leading, 3-2. The Dodgers ultimately won the contest, 4-3.

These are Tripp Gibson (73)'s 2nd-4th ejections of 2018.
Tripp Gibson now has 9 points in the UEFL Standings (-3 Prev + 3*[2 MLB + 2 Correct Call] = 9).
Crew Chief Adrian Johnson now has 3 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 3 Correct Call = 3).

These are the 67th, 68th, and 69th ejection reports of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 28th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is the 34th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Kemp was 0-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is the 35th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Grandal was 1-5 (4 SO) in the contest.
This is Los Angeles' 3-5th ejection of 2018, T-1st in the NL West (LAD, SD 5; ARI, COL, SF 4).
This is Matt Kemp's 3rd ejection of 2018, 1st since June 13 (Sean Barber; QOC = U [Fighting]).
This is Dave Roberts' first ejection since June 30, 2017 (Greg Gibson; QOC = U [Fighting]).
This is Yasmani's first ejection since June 1, 2017 (Marty Foster; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Tripp Gibson's 2/3rd ejection of 2018, 1st since April 28 (Curt Young; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs, 6/19/18 | Video as follows:

Monday, June 18, 2018

MLB Ejection 066 - Bill Welke (2; Bud Black)

1B Umpire Bill Welke ejected Rockies Manager Bud Black (out of the base path call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 4th inning of the Mets-Rockies game. With one out and one on (R1), Rockies batter Gerardo Parra hit a line drive to Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores, who caught the batted ball on the fly and reached to tag baserunner R1 Trevor Story as he attempted to return to first base, ruled out by Welke for running more than three feet from his base path to avoid being tagged.* Replays indicate that as Flores fielded the ball and began his tag attempt, runner Story initially veered to his right and his waist was contained within the horizontal confines of the baseline between first and second base; by the conclusion of the play, Story's waist appeared to have deviated by more than three feet from this direct path to first base as he avoided Flores' tag and lunged back into the base from the right-field side of the bag, the call was correct.^ This ruling has been challenged and is under review by the UEFL Appeals Board. At the time of the ejection, the Mets were leading, 3-1. The Mets ultimately won the contest, 12-2.

This is Bill Welke (3)'s second ejection of 2018.
Bill Welke now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 6).
Crew Chief Bill Welke now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).
*Rule 5.09(b)(1) states that "any runner is out when—He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely."
^The Wendelstedt interpretation concerning the base path holds that the "center of [the runner's] body" shall be used as the primary point of consideration for determining where a base path has been established and by what distance a runner has deviated from it.

*R1 Story's mistake here was taking a step to his right (toward the third-base line) as Flores was completing his catch and beginning his tag attempt, thus restricting his legal base path and ability to avoid Flores' tag attempt. Had Story instead veered to his left (toward the right-field wall), his base path would not have been as greatly restricted to the outfield side (his left), and he likely would have stayed within his three-foot allotment, all things equal. Recall, the runner chooses his starting point and establishes his base path; the fielder by his actions of attempting a tag (or imminent play if no physical attempt is made) chooses at which point the runner's position is captured and at which point the base path is established.
Related PostNo No-No? Out of Base Path Call Voids Potential Sox Hit (4/22/18).
Related PostBaez Out of Base Path in Rare Runner's Lane Appearance (5/23/16).
Related PostWhose Call - Runner Out of Base Path Considerations (5/17/16).

This is the 66th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 27th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Colorado's 4th ejection of 2018, T-2nd in the NL West (SD 5; ARI, COL, SF 4; LAD 2).
This is Bud Black's first ejection since July 8, 2017 (Sam Holbrook; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Bill Welke's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since March 30 (Ron Gardenhire; QOC = N [Replay Review]).

Wrap: New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies, 6/18/18 | Video as follows:

Former NL Umpire Dutch Rennert Passes Away at 88

20-year National League umpire Laurence Henry "Dutch" Rennert passed away on Father's Day at the age of 88, 26 years after his final NL game. Rennert retired at age 62 due in part to a knee injury and deteriorating eyesight, saying he rather retire than risk losing credibility as an umpire: "I always said that when I couldn't do the job 100 percent, I'd quit." In 2012, ex-NL President Bill White took credit for the retirement upon a vision exam that found Rennert could not see out of his left eye, saying, "I retired him nicely."

Former NL Umpire Dutch Rennert has died.
Following graduation from the Al Somers Umpire School and a 16-year Minor League career, Rennert officiated 2,693 regular season games in the National League, breaking into the NL in September 1973, and officiating two All-Star Games (1979, 84), six National League Championship Series (1977, 81, 82, 86, 88, 90), and three World Series (1980, 83, 89) along the way. He concluded his major league career with 21 big league ejections, including most frequent ejectees Will Clark and Lou Piniella (two times each).

Rennert, an Oshkosh, Wisconsin native who wore uniform number 16 and was voted the National League's best umpire in a 1983 New York Times poll, is perhaps most noted for his unique called strike mechanic, of which Tom Hallion in 2015 paid tribute to Rennert during a game in Miami, where Rennert was in attendance.

During an interview with the Marlins' TV crew, Rennert bemoaned modern MLB for consolidating and regimenting its umpires, and criticized replay: "The umpires—they take away all the colorful umpires. They want them to work one way, uniform, same way...I hate replay. Call 'em as you seem. It's called a rhubarb. If they're going to argue, that's alright, and then let's play ball."
Related PostDutch Rennert Interview, Tom Hallion Tribute in Miami (9/26/15).

Rennert, who officiated basketball in the Las Vegas area before attending Umpire School, was 88 years old.

Video as follows:

Ejected Duffy Makes it Personal in KC vs Tumpane Claim

Royals pitcher Danny Duffy, ejected for arguing balls and strikes on Sunday, took to the media to call out home plate umpire John Tumpane, stating his belief that Tumpane's call selection disproportionately harms Kansas City.
I’m personally tired of getting punked by Tumpane. I think we all are. And I think it needs to be looked at. I’m not saying there’s bias there but I’m sure it will go back to whoever it needs to go back to.
For what it's worth, Duffy was ejected arguing a series of correctly-ruled pitches during Sunday's game.
Related PostMLB Ejections 063-64 - John Tumpane (3-4; KC x2)

Royals' Duffy has called out Tumpane.
Of Tumpane's last 10 ejections, five have featured members of the Royals, approaching numbers resembling Toronto's purported feud with Vic Carapazza, when the Blue Jays at one point comprised six of eight consecutive Carapazza ejections.

The Quality of Correctness associated with all five of these Tumpane-KC ejections is QOCY (QOC% = 100%).

Gil's Call: The accuracy of a statement like Duffy's is difficult to evaluate—the numbers indicate Tumpane's strike zone Sunday did not favor either team at a statistically significant level (+1 HOU...if an odd number of samples are given, one team must come out ahead by a minimum of one; +1 is statistically a draw)—and not even the Moustakas play at home plate proved conclusive on video review.

However, thanks to our Replay Review database, there is one statement Duffy made that can be better analyzed for its accuracy: "We get punked by replay all the time."
Related PageMLB Umpire Replay Review Statistics and Sabermetrics

KC leads the league in Replay TSP.
Other than belying Duffy's extensive vocabulary, the assertion that Kansas City is disproportionately placed at a disadvantage by Replay Review is categorically false by a significant margin.

Entering Sunday, Kansas City was the most successful team in the league at replay, with video coordinator Billy Duplissea helping guide his club to an MLB-best 17 overturned calls out of 20 chances (.850 TSP) entering Sunday.

Now, that statline reads 17-of-21 (.810 TSP), which is still tops in baseball ahead of second-place San Francisco (13-of-17, .765 TSP). Actually, Kansas City is so good at not getting "punked by replay all the time" that Duplissea is closing in on his third-straight season of navigating the Royals to the top spot in Replay Review success.

The conclusion here—two-plus seasons of first place in Replay notwithstanding—is that Kansas City, definitively, does not "get punked by replay all the time."

Alas, it appears this is just another case of umpire scapegoating and sour grapes, which ultimately means nothing and has no real merit.

When Todd Frazier did it in May, he masked a hitting slump that featured a .250 batting average over the five games pre-complaint, with an umpire accuracy of 95.3% relative to called strikes. In the four games following his complaint, Frazier produced a .125 average while umpires were 97.7% accurate.
Related PostTodd Frazier - "These Umpires Have Got to Get Better" (5/3/18).
Related PostAnalysis - Catching Up With Todd Frazier 5 Days Later (5/7/18).

When Ian Kinsler did it to Angel Hernandez in 2017, he masked an 0-for-2 performance and another loss in a season of Detroit Tigers losses.
Related PostMLB Ejections 134-35 - Angel Hernandez (1-2; DET x2) (8/14/17).

When Detroit did it to Quinn Wolcott in September, it concerned correctly ruled pitches and another Detroit loss.
Related PostMLB Ejections 172-173 - Quinn Wolcott (McCann, Ausmus) (9/13/17).
Related PostDid Detroit Throw at Umpire Wolcott? A Visual Analysis (9/14/17).

For more on scapegoating and why players or coaches may turn to umpire abuse, visit the following link:
Related PostLet's Talk - Mental Health in an Abusive Environment (10/10/17).

So what could Duffy possibly be scapegoating the umpires for this time around?
Well, the Royals are on a six-game losing streak and hold the second-worst win-loss record in baseball.