Friday, January 12, 2018

Running the Numbers for MLB's Next Crew Chief

Let's play a little offseason ball and run the numbers for the most viable 'Umpire 2' candidates for promotion to crew chief, care of Dale Scott's retirement. For a little more spice, we'll consider Angel Hernandez's perspective, relative to his lawsuit against the MLB Commissioner's Office alleging an unjust denial of promotion to crew chief. Will 2018 prove, finally, to be his time?

Which umpire's promotion is in the cards for 2018?
Does plaintiff Angel Hernandez have a point—is he truly the most qualified candidate who continually is passed over? We'll also analyze some recent promotions to crew chief over the past few seasons to see if the numbers truly support Hernandez's case. We will conclude with a ranking of potential candidates for the crew chief vacancy based on the following analysis. The following sections contain conjecture based upon on-field and roster-based historical statistics. First, we define the terms and scope of this study.

Eligibility: Generally speaking, an umpire is eligible for promotion to crew chief if: A) The umpire has served as a "Number 2" or backup crew chief on a Major League crew and/or has played the part of interim or acting crew chief; and B) the umpire actually wants, and presumably applies for, the crew chief role.

Candidates: Although we are not privy to the details regarding which umpires fit criterion B) regarding interest in the position, we can narrow down the staff to those number twos who are most qualified. The following analysis will include only the top candidates who also fit criterion A). Generally speaking, there is great overlap between top candidates and those who are already number twos.

Angel Hernandez has been #2 since 2002.
Qualification Standards: There are a few ways to look at which candidates are most qualified to serve as a permanent crew chief. We will define three qualification standards for use in our analysis.

One metric is experience: How long has the umpire been a number two (var: Ump2), or what history does the umpire have serving as an acting crew chief during regular season play?

The second is postseason work: What does the umpire's body of October assignments look like?

Third, we consider performance: What are the umpire's RAPs, strike zone %, and observer feedback?

Finally, intangibles takes into account extracurricular leadership qualities that generally can't be quantitatively measured. For instance, how, exactly, would one go about numerically factoring in achievements such as "Reverend Doctor" or serving on a Board of Directors (e.g., Calling for Christ or UmpsCare Charities)?


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Joe West to Join North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame announced MLB umpire Joe West as part of its 2018 induction class; West will be inducted into the NCSHOF during a May banquet and ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center.

'Blue Cowboy' Joe West will be inducted in May.
NC HOF President Nora Lynn Finch cited the class's achievements, which enrich the state's sports heritage; according to the Hall's website, "The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, which inducted its first class in 1963, celebrates excellence and extraordinary achievement in athletics."

In June 2017, West officiated his 5,000th regular season game at the Major League level, and is the longest-tenured umpire in MLB history (by years of service) with over 40 games of big league experience. West's 5,074 games through 2017 ranks third on the all-time list, behind National Baseball Hall of Fame Umpire Bill Klemm (5,375 games) and the more recently retired Bruce Froemming (5,163 games). West has also officiated the second-most postseason games in MLB history, behind Gerry Davis.
Related PostUmpire Joe West Officiates 5,000th Regular Season Game (6/20/17).

West is the second umpire to be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. In 1997, the Hall inducted Jim Mills of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, who also officiated college basketball and football in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference during the 1950s and 1960s after umpiring in baseball's Carolina League in 1954; Mills later served as President of the Carolina League from 1977 to 1983.