Saturday, November 7, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Fill-In Umpire - Jeremie Rehak

Jeremie Rehak wins UEFL's Fill-In Umpire of the Year Award for 2020 [2019 Winner: Jansen Visconti].
Voting Results: Rehak (19.3%), Ben May (16.3%), Sean Barber (15.8%), John Libka (14.9%).

Jeremie Rehak is the 2020 UEFL Fill-In Umpire of the Year.

Two years after last capturing this award, Rehak again takes the Fill-In of the Year title. Rehak's two ejections in 2020 were both associated with correct calls and his on-field performance throughout the season prompted a simple summation from Turducken: "Jeremie Rehak is ready."

2020 was Rehak's third season as a minor league call-up umpire (thus, he won Fill-In of the Year following his rookie season) and, having entered 2020 with 231 games of MLB experience, Rehak has been on pace for a quality look at a full-time opportunity.

UEFL Awards History, Jeremie Rehak
Fill-In Umpire of the Year: 2018

Jeremie Rehak now has 15 points in the UEFL Standings (13 Previous + 2 Award = 15).
The next postseason award to be announced will be Crew Chief of the Year.

Friday, November 6, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Triple-Digit Rookie - Edwin Moscoso

Edwin Moscoso wins the Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire Award for 2020 [2019: N/A]
Voting Results: Moscoso (32.5%), Jose Navas (12.0%), Junior Valentine (10.5%).

Edwin Moscoso is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2020 Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year.

In an unprecedented year with a pandemic and veteran MLB umpire opt-outs, 19 Minor League Umpires made their MLB debuts in a temporary/fill-in capacity during the 2020 season. Of these, Moscoso was the first to appear, working his first MLB game in Los Angeles on July 23.
Related PostMLB Debut of Umpire Edwin Moscoso (7/23/20).

Moscoso, who finished the season with two ejections, earned praise from UEFL'ers for his situation handling; said Michael, "Outside of the uniform number you would have no idea that he was a 'taxi squad' member," with several commenters opining that Moscoso demonstrated his readiness for the major league level.

UEFL Awards History, Edwin Moscoso

Edwin Moscoso now has 13 points in the UEFL Standings (11 Previous + 2 Award = 13).
The next postseason award to be announced will be Fill-In Umpire of the Year.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Most Improved - CB Bucknor

CB Bucknor wins the Most Improved Umpire Award for 2020 [2019: Doug Eddings, Eric Cooper]
Voting Results: Bucknor (16.2%), Mike Estabrook (7.9%), Angel Hernandez (7.3%).

CB Bucknor is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2020 most improved umpire of the year.

During the 2020 postseason, Bucknor officiated his first Division Series since 2013, earning a Game 2 Plate assignment during the Rays-Yankes American League Division Series. He also officiated the 2020 Wild Card round.

During the season, Bucknor occasionally served as acting crew chief in the absence of regular season chief Jeff Nelson, and earned praise from voters for that role.

Wrote baseballfollower, "CB is long the punching bag of announcers, fans and casual viewers. Not this year. Happy for him and he was EXCELLENT filling in as a CC."

After his ALDS plate job, USA Today published an article criticizing Bucknor's strike zone in which the article itself fared poorly against fact checking with four of seven claims refuted by evidence: It may very well be that as strike zone technology becomes more accessible, we may be in similar positions to run the numbers and fact check media critiques, vindicating long-maligned umpires like Bucknor.

Dale Scott wrote a guest op-ed article similarly coming to Bucknor's defense.

UEFL Awards History, CB Bucknor
Most Improved Umpire of the Year: 2013, 2014
Worst Umpire of the Year: 2017

CB Bucknor now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Previous + 1 Award = 5).
The next postseason award to be announced will be Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Disappointing Season - Rob Drake

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's first Postseason Award is for Most Disappointing Season, which this year is Rob Drake (30) [2019 Winner: Rob Drake].
Voting Results (Top 3): Drake (26.2%), Hunter Wendelstedt (9.5%), Angel Hernandez (8.9%).

The UEFL Awards as defined in Rule 4-4 begin with Most Disappointing Season, below, and continue with Most Improved, Fill-In, Crew Chief, Honorable, Promising, Ejection(s) of the Year and concluding with Umpire of the Year. 235 total ballots were cast during this year's nominations process.

Rob Drake receives 2020's Most Disappointing Season Award.

As occasionally occurs with a Most Disappointing Season Award, Drake's nomination may have hinged on a poorly timed bad day at the office, which happened to be the final day of the 2020 regular season. During September 27's Padres-Giants season finale, Drake called a plate of 89.9% by UEFL f/x standards, which constituted a statistical outlier compared to baseball's larger body of plate work.

For some, the interplay of a sub-90 plate score (83.8% on ML Public) during San Francisco's do-or-die game to make the postseason, capped off by an incorrect strike three call that effectively shut the door on 2020 at Oracle Park, was enough to define an entire season of work, when not even Drake's above-average rank on Replay Affirmation Rate (T-22nd) or sole 2020 ejection over a correctly officiated interference call in Arizona would be enough to prevent an overwhelming nomination for this award.

Said baseballfollower, "Came back 'rebranded' with the bucket hat and had probably the worst HP job I have seen with the game on the line in SD-SF. Just shocked at how far he has slipped since 2015, and his regression is no longer a one off. I think he needs to work with Ted Barrett or Jeff Nelson next year and really get back on track."

Juanantonio Guevara was more blunt: "He fell off hard this season and just got lost, in a bad way."

In a year during which nearly every eligible umpire officiated the 2020 postseason (e.g., Tony Randazzo, Jim Wolf, and Hunter Wendelstedt were not eligible due to injuries), Drake was assigned to the NL Wild Card series in San Diego as Game 1's right field umpire, under the watchful eye of his regular season crew chief, Bill Miller.

And, yes, we'd be remiss if we didn't again mention the same Rob Drake Twitter incident that led to his nomination for the 2019 Most Disappointing Season Award. Is it fair to hold Drake's infamous "cival war" tweet against him over a year later? Probably not, but as we stated last fall, major league umpires should not make public statements on politics lest perceptions become permanently tarnished. For Drake, that lesson appears to have carried over into 2020—it doesn't help that MLB's subsequent investigation failed to generate a public outcome—and may be reflected in the voting for this award just as 9/27 was.

UEFL Awards History, Rob Drake
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 2016.
Most Disappointing Season: 2019.

Rob Drake now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Previous - 1 Award = 5).
The next postseason award, Most Improved Umpire of the Year, will be released next.