Tuesday, November 28, 2023

2023 CCS Year-End Umpire Award Winners

Close Call Sports announces recipients of its 2023 Year-End Umpire Awards, thanks to your nominations and comments. Read on for Crew Chief, Fill-In, Most Improved, Honorable, Promising, and the hallmark Best Overall Umpire of the Year awards.

(Best Overall) Umpire of the Year: Quinn Wolcott.
Runners-Up: Chris Guccione, Brian Knight.

Quinn Wolcott is the CCS 2023 Umpire of the Year after finishing the 2023 season with the highest cumulative plate score on staff, including the best seasonal score since modern-era tracking began in 2015. For his efforts, Wolcott received his first career World Series assignment, having officiated a 2023 American League Division Series two rounds earlier.

Seven Other Awards and Video follow (via "
Ejections of the Year: 2023's Ejection of the Year Awards go to Doug Eddings for his ejection of Dave Martinez and Laz Diaz who ran Aaron Boone before proceeding to have an extended conversation about strike three mechanics.

Promising Umpires of the Year: Ben May and Jansen Visconti.
Runners-Up: Alex Tosi, Quinn Wolcott.
Ben May and Jansen Visconti are our Promising Umpires of the Year in 2023. Both umpires worked the 2023 Division Series—May's first—and were slotted for plate assignments too, which are not granted to every umpire assigned to the ALDS and NLDS. Situation handling during the season and strong performances also contributed to earning these awards. For instance, Visconti's Review Affirmation Percentage of .688 (5 overturns in 16 total replays) was one of the highest on staff this season. May's .692 RAP (4 OT's out of 13 chances) was even higher.

Bernice Gera Honorable Umpire: Jeff Nelson.
Runner-Up: Larry Vanover.
At the tail-end of a 27-year NL and MLB career, Crew Chief Jeff Nelson retired after thousands of regular season games called and 27 postseason series assignments, but humbly requested the league not assign him to a 2023 postseason series, instead opting to conclude his career on the final day of the regular season in Anaheim (with teams that, likewise, would not be advancing to the playoffs).

Fill-In Umpire of the Year: Ryan Wills.
Runner-Up: Derek Thomas.
Commenters found Ryan Wills to be the Triple-A call-up who this season made the best case for an off-season hiring to the full-time staff. "Heavy usage, virtually unnoticeable, nails behind the plate" was Turducken's description of Wills, who, like Visconti and May, had one of the best RAP performances this season, at a .682 clip (7 OT's out of 22 chances), a higher score than most full-timers and call-ups, alike.

Most Improved Umpire of the Year: Andy Fletcher.
Runner-Up: Mike Estabrook.
Andy Fletcher, like Chris Guccione, took on additional crew chief responsibilities during the season. For his efforts, Fletcher received his first career League Championship Series assignment, a Game 1 plate, after previously working a Game 1 plate during the Wild Card round as well (in which only three of the six-umpire crew are assigned plates [2 guaranteed, 1 potential]).

Crew Chief of the Year: Alan Porter.
Runner-Up: Mark Carlson.
Alan Porter is 2023's Crew Chief of the Year due to a strong performance in his first season as a full-time Chief, not just with plate scores or replays but situation handling and stepping into the role of crew leadership. In the postseason, Porter served as Crew Chief for an NL Wild Card Series.

Most Disappointing Season: Award Not Given This Year.
Runner-Up: CB Bucknor.


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