Friday, February 28, 2020

Kerwin Danley Interviews with MLB's Hot Stove

Newly-promoted crew chief Kerwin Danley joined MLB Network's Hot Stove hosts Matt Vasgergian and Harold Reynolds to discuss his promotion as Major League Baseball's first African American umpire crew chief and recount his foray into the umpiring world through a chance encounter with former big league umpire Randy Marsh.

Danley touched base with studio host and retired big league infielder Reynolds, a former teammate of his at San Diego State University (Reynolds would later transfer to Cañada College), who told a story of meeting Danley at their campus apartments, Reynolds wearing what he thought was an impressive letterman jacket from alma mater Corvallis High School, only to then see Danley wearing an even-more accentuated letterman's jacket from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles.

Danley told Hot Stove he is "on top of the world, humbled, honored, and glad to be carrying the legacy of the African American umpires who came before me" and expects to receive his 2020 regular season schedule in early March.
Related PostMLB Promotes Kerwin Danley to Crew Chief (2/27/20).

Video as follows:

2020 MLB Spring Training Umpire Roster

Major League Baseball announced its 2020 Spring Training Umpire roster with 76 MLB and 20 MiLB call-up umpires for a total of 96 officials assigned to spring games in Arizona's Cactus and Florida's Grapefruit Leagues.

This preseason's 96 formally assigned officials represents a decrease of one umpire compared to 2019's MLB Spring roster of 97 umpires, but is more than 2018 (91 umps) and less than 2017 (102 umps).

The following list features sleeve numbers for all umpires who have them is categorized by MLB staff vs MiLB invitees and fill-in personnel. As of Spring's start, all 2019 call-up umpires were retained for the 2020 season, with four promoted to the MLB staff to fill vacancies.

Umpires in bold are new to the Spring Training list and may receive formal uniform number assignments later this Spring. A sleeve number for a minor league umpire/invitee signifies that this umpire is qualified to work MLB regular season games. Observations follow the list.

MLB Spring Training Umpires' Roster - 2020 Pre-Season
MLB StaffMLB StaffMiLB Invitees & Call-Ups
Baker, Jordan 71
Barksdale, Lance 23
Barrett, Lance 16
Barrett, Ted 65
Barry, Scott 87
Bellino, Dan 2
Blakney, Ryan 36
Blaser, Cory 89
Bucknor, CB 54
Carapazza, Vic 19
Carlson, Mark 6
Conroy, Chris 98
Culbreth, Fieldin 25
Cuzzi, Phil 10
Danley, Kerwin 44
Davis, Gerry 12
De Jesus, Ramon 18
Diaz, Laz 63
Drake, Rob 30
Dreckman, Bruce 1
Eddings, Doug 88
Emmel, Paul 50
Estabrook, Mike 83
Fairchild, Chad 4
Fletcher, Andy 49
Foster, Marty 60
Gibson, Greg 53
Gibson, Tripp 73
Gonzalez, Manny 79
Gorman, Brian 9
Guccione, Chris 68
Hallion, Tom 20
Hamari, Adam 78
Hernandez, Angel 5
Hickox, Ed 15
Hoberg, Pat 31
Holbrook, Sam 34
Hoye, James 92
Hudson, Marvin 51
Iassogna, Dan 58
Johnson, Adrian 80
Knight, Brian 91
Kulpa, Ron 46
Layne, Jerry 24
Lentz, Nic 59
Little, Will 93
Marquez, Alfonso 72
Meals, Jerry 41
Miller, Bill 26
Morales, Gabe 47
Muchlinski, Mike 76
Nauert, Paul 39
Nelson, Jeff 45
O'Nora, Brian 7
Porter, Alan 64
Rackley, David 86
Randazzo, Tony 11
Reyburn, D.J. 17
Reynolds Jim 77
Ripperger, Mark 90
Scheurwater, Stu 85
Segal, Chris 96
Tichenor, Todd 13
Timmons, Tim 95
Torres, Carlos 37
Tumpane, John 74
Vanover, Larry 27
Visconti, Jansen 52
Wegner, Mark 14
Welke, Bill 3
Wendelstedt, Hunter 21
West, Joe 22
Whitson, Chad 62
Winters, Mike 33
Wolcott, Quinn 81
Wolf, Jim 28
Additon, Ryan 67
Bacchus, Erich -
Bacon, John 70
Barber, Sean 29
Beck, Adam -
Clemons, Paul -
Libka, John 84
Livensparger, Shane 43
Mahrley, Nick 48
May, Ben 97
Miller, Brennan 55
Moscoso, Edwin -
Navas, Jose -
Ortiz, Roberto 40
Rehak, Jeremie 35
Riggs, Jeremy -
Tosi, Alex 66
Valentine, Junior -
Wills, Ryan -
Woodring, Tom 75

(20 MiLB Umpires)
(76 MLB Umpires)
(96 Total Umpires)

Information obtained by
UEFL on 2/26/2020.
Some observations, year-over-year:
  • > 2020's roster of 20 MiLBU is comprised of eight invitees and 12 regular-season call-up umps.
  • > Dan Merzel appeared on the 2017 Spring Training MiLB invitee list, was absent from the full-time 2018 list, back again in 2019, and off MLB's formal list in 2020; however, he has already officiated several Spring Training games in 2020.
  • > Junior Valentine appeared on the 2017 Spring invitee list, was absent in 2018 & 2019, and is back in 2020.
  • > Many other MiLBU will have the opportunity to officiate a few MLB Spring games, but only those on this list are a part of the formal full-time Spring staff.
  • > Lance Barrett has switched numbers from 94 to 16.
  • > Year-over-year subtractions: Cederstrom, Cooper, DeMuth, DiMuro, Everitt, Kellogg.
  • > Year-over-year MLB staff hires: Blakney, De Jesus, Lentz, Segal, Visconti, Whitson.

MLB Promotes Jim Reynolds to Crew Chief

Major League Baseball's final crew chief promotion of 2020 goes to Jim Reynolds, an MLB umpire since 1999 with 2,604 regular season games and 37 ejections to his name. The 51-year-old from Massachusetts served in a backup crew chief capacity over the past several years.

Reynolds has officiated 2 Wild Card Games, seven Division Series, four League Championship Series and two World Series. Like fellow promoted chiefs Dan Iassogna and Alfonso Marquez, Reynolds debuted during the summer of 1999 and joined the full-time roster upon the AL and NL staffs' subsequent merge.

Other promotions: Kerwin Danley | Dan Iassogna | Alfonso Marquez.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Alfonso Marquez Earns MLB Crew Chief Promotion

Longtime umpire Alfonso Marquez is MLB's first Latino-born Crew Chief, with Major League Baseball announcing his promotion ahead of the 2020 season. Fonzie, born in Zacatecas, Mexico, is the league's first Mexican native ump and has been officiating Major League games for 21 years.

He is the second Hispanic umpire promoted to Crew Chief in MLB history (Florida's Richie Garcia was promoted to American League Crew Chief in 1985).

Marquez made his National League debut in August 1999 and has worked the 2017 Wild Card Game, nine Division Series, five League Championship Series, and three World Series. His 63 MLB ejections have spanned 2,481 regular season games of experience.

At the age of 47, he is the youngest of the four promoted crew chiefs.

Marquez previously earned the UEFL's Honorable Umpire of the Year Award in 2011 and (Best) Umpire of the Year in 2015.

Dan Iassogna Promoted to Crew Chief

Major League Baseball promoted Dan Iassogna to Crew Chief ahead of the 2020 MLB season. Having just celebrated 20 years as an umpire in the majors, Iassogna brings 2,600 regular season games and a postseason résumé of two Wild Card Games, six Division Series, four League Championship Series, and two World Series with him to his new role.

The 50-year-old from Bridgeport, Connecticut has effected 76 ejections since his August 20, 1999 debut in the American League and also worked six games in the National League in September '99 before receiving the full-time call ahead of the 2000 season.

Iassogna was the UEFL's Promising Umpire of the Year (then-known-as Noteworthy Umpire) in 2013.

MLB Promotes Kerwin Danley to Crew Chief

Umpire Kerwin Danley will become MLB's first African American crew chief, as Major League Baseball promoted the 58-year-old Californian to fill one of four vacancies created by the retirements of chiefs Gary Cederstrom, Dana DeMuth, Mike Everitt, and Jeff Kellogg this 2019-2020 offseason.

Danley, who played baseball with Tony Gwynn and Bud Black at San Diego State, ascends to the on-field supervisory role with 45 ejections over 2,597 career regular season games. Danley has also officiated the 2019 Wild Card Game, seven Division Series, two League Championship Series, two World Series, and two All-Star Games.

He joins the crew chief ranks in his 29th overall MLB season (including call-up experience), having debuted in the National League in 1992. Danley was the UEFL's Promising Umpire (then-known-as Noteworthy Umpire) of the Year in 2007.

The Associated Press published news of Danley's promotion early Thursday morning.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

MLB Ejection S1 - Mike Estabrook (1; Brent Strom)

HP Umpire Mike Estabrook ejected Astros Pitching Coach Brent Strom (balls/strikes) in the top of the 5th inning of the #Cardinals-#Astros Spring Training game. With one out and the bases loaded, Cardinals batter Justin Williams took four pitches from Astros pitcher Andre Scrubb for called first, second, third, and fourth balls (including a 2-2 pitch ruled ball three, and 3-2 ball four), thus walking and forcing in a run; Strom was ejected after a mound visit that followed ensuing batter Ivan Herrera's two-RBI single to left field. QOC is unavailable for this Spring Training game, as electronic measurements were not used in this game. At the time of the ejection, the Cardinals were leading, 7-3. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 7-4.

This is Mike Estabrook (83)'s 1st ejection of Spring Training 2020.
Mike Estabrook now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 0 Spring = 0).
Crew Chief CB Bucknor now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Spring = 0).

This is the 1st ejection report of 2020, first of the preseason.
This is Houston's 1st ejection of 2020, 1st in the Grapefruit League (HOU 1; All Others 0).
This is Brent Strom's 1st ejection since July 11, 2015 (Greg Gibson; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Mike Estabrook's 1st ejection since Sept 8, 2019 (Dave Martinez; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros (Spring), 2/26/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Names Ryan Blakney to Staff as Last 2020 Hire

Major League Baseball's final hire of the 2020 pre-season is Ryan Blakney, who joins the full-time umpire staff after five years and 600 games of MLB experience.

Born in Wenatchee, Washington, Blakney officiated his first big league contest on April 23, 2015 and in all officiated in the Arizona, Midwest, Arizona Instructional, Northwest, Carolina, Texas, Florida Instructional, and Pacific Coast Leagues.

The 34-year-old has four MLB ejections to date, had the second-most games of big league experience of all circa-2019 umpires (only fellow-hire Chris Segal had more), and had the best replay score of the entire minor league call-up roster.

Prior to the 2019 season, we analyzed the hiring outlook for fill-in umpires and named Chris Segal, Nic Lentz, Chad Whitson, and Ryan Blakney to the top tier as most likely to be hired upon staff vacancy. With Blakney joining the full-time roster, all of our Tier 1 umpires in 2019 have now become permanent big leaguers.
Related PostTriple-A Call-Up and Fill-In Results - 2018-19 Offseason (1/28/19).

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

MLB Hires Senior Call-Up Chris Segal to Umpire Staff

Umpire Chris Segal's extended walk along the Triple-A call-up tightrope has ended with Birdman safely through to the other side, as MLB hired Segal to the full-time staff. The senior member of Major League Baseball's 2020 hiring class, Segal spent six years as a fill-in umpire before getting the final call.

With 637 games of big league experience since his April 15, 2014 debut to go along with a Minor League career through the Appalachian, South Atlantic, Florida Instructional, Carolina, Arizona Instructional, Texas, Southern, Pacific Coast, and International Leagues, the 37-year-old from Falls Church, Virginia finally joins the staff after 12 MLB ejections and is now the second umpire to have run a half-marathon over the 2019-20 offseason to subsequently join the major league staff (Nic Lentz).
Related PostMajor League Umpiring Debut: Chris Segal (96) (4/15/14).
Related PostTriple-A Tradition? Young Umps Run for Charity (2/17/20).

During our 2019 All-Star Break review of MiLB call-up umpires, we rated Segal as #1 and most likely to be hired over the 2019-20 offseason, followed closely behind Ryan Blakney, who was the only 2019 call-up to score a higher replay score than Segal.
Related PostMLB Call-Up Umpire Hiring Outlook - 2019 Break (7/11/19).

Segal is also the second hire of 2020 to have incurred the wrath of Yankees Manager Aaron Boone. Segal ejected Brett Gardner in August 2019 after Gardner banged his bat on the ceiling of New York's dugout at Rogers Centre.

Although Segal drew heat from mainstream sports media for the ejection, MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre supported his fill-in umpire, saying that "Gardner earned being thrown out...there was so much carping from the dugout that he pulled the trigger on [who] he assumed was Gardner."
Related PostMLB Ejection 157 - Chris Segal (1; Brett Gardner) (8/9/19).
Related PostJoe Torre Backs Ump Segal in Gardner Ejection (8/13/19).

And, thus, Segal becomes the second youngster bemoaned by Boone to subsequently land a permanent MLB job. News of Segal's hiring was first reported by Ump Life.

Jansen Visconti Hired to MLB Umpire Staff

As reported by the Wendelstedt Umpire School, MLB hired alum Jansen Visconti to the staff. Hailing from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Visconti joins the full-time umpiring roster as the greenest hire of 2020; he made his big league debut in 2018 and officiated 250 regular season games over two seasons, including a league-high 142 games in 2019.

After graduating from the Wendelstedt School in 2010, Visconti began his professional career in the Gulf Coast League, working his way through the New York-Penn, Florida Instructional, South Atlantic, Carolina, Arizona Instructional, Eastern, and International Leagues before his first major league game on April 17, 2018. Visconti has also officiated the Arizona Fall League.
Related PostMajor League Debut of Umpire Jansen Visconti (52) (4/17/18).

Visconti's only two career MLB ejections occurred in 2018 (AJ Pollock, John Gibbons) and he continues the tradition of UEFL Fill-In Umpire of the Year Award winners to subsequently be hired to the full-time staff; Visconti won the Award in 2019.
Related Post2019 UEFL Award for Fill-In Umpire - Jansen Visconti (11/5/19).

Monday, February 24, 2020

MLB Crew Chiefs Mike Everitt, Jeff Kellogg Retire

Longtime MLB crew chiefs Mike Everitt and Jeff Kellogg retired from on-field service prior to Spring Training, creating two additional vacancies on the umpire staff.

Everitt steps off the field after 24 American and Major League seasons at the age of 55 after a recent bout of injuries, most recently during the Wild Card round of the 2019 postseason.

In 2018, the UEFL invoked an injury replacement rule after Everitt sustained a concussion on Opening Day; after attempting a return to baseball from April 25 - May 2, Everitt took the rest of the season off; he subsequently suffered a head injury on July 7, 2019.
Related PostUEFL Invokes Injury Replacement Rule for Everitt (6/5/18).

Everitt's career featured three Wild Card games, nine Division Series, seven League Championship Series, and three World Series, in addition to the 2006 All-Star Game. He ejected 81 players, coaches, and managers over his 2,633 regular season games officiated.

Kellogg, who is the brother in law of Tim and Bill Welke, similarly suffered from the injury bug in recent years, officiating 87 regular season contests in 2018 and 54 in 2019; a flying bat in September 2017 cost him the rest of the 2017 season (including playoffs).

Having graduated with a Ferris State University degree in Criminal Justice, Kellogg famously tackled a fan-turned-field intruder around the home plate area in Baltimore back in 2012.
Related PostUmpire Jeff Kellogg Tackles Fan in Baltimore Field Intrusion (4/28/12).

The 58-year-old Coldwater, Michigan native's on-field NL and MLB career spanned 29 years and 3,275 regular season games to go alongside the 2012 Wild Card Game, nine Division Series, six League Championship Series, five World Series, and two All-Star Games.

It has been reported that the two veteran umpires will take jobs in the league office's umpiring department. The retirement news brings total Crew Chief vacancies to four this 2019-2020 offseason. Congratulations, Mike and Jeff!

We'll have an article on MLB's umpire new-hires in the coming days.

MLB Hires Ramon De Jesus to Umpire Staff

The pride of Santo Domingo, Ramon Silvestre De Jesus Ferrer is now a full-time MLB umpire, hired by Major League Baseball to the staff ahead of the 2020 season, becoming the first-ever Dominican Republic-born ump to join the roster.

The 36-year-old De Jesus began his minor league career in the Arizona Instructional League after graduating from the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring, passing through the Florida State, New York-Penn, South Atlantic, Eastern, and Pacific Coast Leagues, with a stop at the Arizona Fall League along the way.

He made his MLB debut in April 2016, the first Dominican umpire in history to officiate a big league game.
Related PostMajor League Debut of Umpire Ramon De Jesus (18) (4/22/16).

De Jesus joins the staff with 373 games of MLB experience, including 10 ejections.

News of MLB's De Jesus hire was first reported by the Dominican news outlet El Tren Deportivo Radio alongside Dominican umpire Felix Neon's hire to the minor leagues.