29 April 2013

Strikezone Analysis for April 25 - 28: Orioles at Athletics

April 28, 2013: Orioles - 8, Athletics - 9

Umpire Real % of
% of
Typical % of
% of
Correct Calls 133 85.81% 132 85.16%
Incorrect Calls 22 14.19% 23 14.84%
Balls Called Balls 92 59.35% 86.79% 77 49.68% 100.00%
Strikes Called Strikes 41 26.45% 83.67% 55 35.48% 70.51%
Strikes Called Balls 8 5.16% 16.33% 23 14.84% 29.49%
Balls Called Strikes 14 9.03% 13.21% 0 0.00% 0.00%
Borderline - Balls 19 12.26% 43.18%
Borderline - Strikes 25 16.13% 56.82%
Baltimore Orioles Real % of
% of
Typical % of
% of
Ball Called Ball 60 64.52% 90.91% 51 54.84% 100.00%
Strike Called Strike 22 23.66% 81.48% 28 30.11% 66.67%
Strike Called Ball 5 5.38% 18.52% 14 15.05% 33.33%
Ball Called Strike 6 6.45% 9.09% 0 0.00% 0.00%
Borderline Pitches 54 30.68%
Borderline - Balls 12 50.00%
Borderline - Strikes 12 50.00%
Calls in Favor 9 5.81% 9 5.81%
Calls Against 13 8.39% 14 9.03%
Oakland Athletics Real % of
% of
Typical % of
% of
Ball Called Ball 32 51.61% 80.00% 26 41.94% 100.00%
Strike Called Strike 19 30.65% 86.36% 27 43.55% 75.00%
Strike Called Ball 3 4.84% 13.64% 9 14.52% 25.00%
Ball Called Strike 8 12.90% 20.00% 0 0.00% 0.00%
Borderline Pitches 46 41.22%
Borderline - Balls 7 35.00%
Borderline - Strikes 13 65.00%
Calls in Favor 13 8.39% 14 9.03%
Calls Against 9 5.81% 9 5.81%

April 27, 2013: Orioles - 7, Athletics - 3

Are umpires like starting pitchers, needing a few weeks into the season to ramp up into mid-season form? I don't know, but I have to credit the men behind the plate for this Oakland series. James Hoye turned in another accurate night behind the plate, calling 92.00% for the Rzone. This drops a bit to 84.00% for the Tzone, but if that's because the umpire is calling the actual strikezone correctly, I'm okay with it.

Let's look at the numbers.
UmpireReal% of
% of ChancesTypical% of
% of Chances
Correct Calls11592.00%10584.00%
Incorrect Calls108.00%2016.00%
Balls Called Balls8164.80%94.19%6753.60%98.53%
Strikes Called Strikes3427.20%87.18%3830.40%66.67%
Strikes Called Balls54.00%12.82%1915.20%33.33%
Balls Called Strikes54.00%5.81%10.80%1.47%
Borderline - Balls2318.40%74.19%
Borderline - Strikes86.40%25.81%
Baltimore OriolesReal% of
% of ChancesTypical% of
% of Chances
Ball Called Ball4669.70%95.83%3857.58%100.00%
Strike Called Strike1725.76%94.44%1928.79%67.86%
Strike Called Ball11.52%5.56%913.64%32.14%
Ball Called Strike23.03%4.17%00.00%0.00%
Borderline Pitches3126.05%
Borderline - Balls1083.33%
Borderline - Strikes216.67%
Calls in Favor64.80%108.00%
Calls Against43.20%108.00%
Oakland AthleticsReal% of
% of ChancesTypical% of
% of Chances
Ball Called Ball3559.32%92.11%2949.15%96.67%
Strike Called Strike1728.81%80.95%1932.20%65.52%
Strike Called Ball46.78%19.05%1016.95%34.48%
Ball Called Strike35.08%7.89%11.69%3.33%
Borderline Pitches3328.18%
Borderline - Balls1368.42%
Borderline - Strikes631.58%
Calls in Favor43.20%108.00%
Calls Against64.80%108.00%

Once again, the Rzone was very accurate, leaving very little to discuss. There was a somewhat higher borderline ball rate than normal, with the O's coming in at 83.33% and the A's at 68.42%. On the season, borderline pitches are called a ball at a 51.19% rate. It was a tighter strikezone than we're used to seeing, but that's part of why it was a more accurate zone.

Since last night's zone was well done, I thought that I'd take a look at an individual pitcher's strikezone for the season so far.
Tillman, ChrisReal% of
% of
Typical% of
% of
Correct Calls23786.50%22782.85%
Incorrect Calls3713.50%4717.15%
Balls Called Balls17262.77%89.58%14552.92%97.97%
Strikes Called Strikes6523.72%79.27%8229.93%65.08%
Strikes Called Balls176.20%20.73%4416.06%34.92%
Balls Called Strikes207.30%10.42%31.09%2.03%
Borderline - Balls4416.06%63.77%
Borderline - Strikes259.12%36.23%

Tillman checks in right around average for both the entire season (87.67%) and the Orioles (87.69%) for accuracy rate. The largest difference that I can see for the Rzone is that he has a very high percentage of pitches in the zone called balls. His 20.73% easily clears the season average of 15.85% and the Orioles average of 16.31%. Unsurprisingly then, his borderline strike rate is well below average at 36.23% compared to 48.81% on the season and 47.01% for the Orioles. Let's break down his borderline pitches by type for the Rzone.
StrikeBallStrike %

I am somewhat surprised that he receives a better borderline strike rate on curves compared to four-seam fastballs. The sample sizes are, of course, very small, but it may be worth watching how he uses his slider in the future, too. If he is using it purely as an out pitch, trying to draw swings and misses outside of the zone, that would account for the lack of borderline strike calls on sliders. It does seem that he tries to paint the corner with his curve, using it to "buckle the knees" of the hitter and earn a called strike.

Tillman really looks like he gets hammered in the Tzone - Rzone area. Tillman's 38.64% T-R strike rate is well below the Orioles' 56.60% and opponents' 45.90%. With 16.06% of Tillman's pitches falling within this area, it's not a completely insignificant part of his pitching.

I will revisit Tillman again a few more times during the season to see how these numbers change as the sample size grows.

April 26, 2013: Orioles - 3, Athletics - 0

First shutout of the year? First Orioles starter to pitch 8 innings? Surely, the Orioles must have benefited from a number of questionable calls.

Nope. In our second instance of a repeat umpire, Jim Reynolds didn't have as far to improve last night as Bob Davidson did the night before. In the final game of the opening series at Tampa Bay, Reynolds scored an 88.11% accuracy rate for the Rzone and 85.31% for the Tzone. Last night, he turned in the best performance of the year so far with a 92.95% accuracy rate for the Rzone and a 91.67% for the Tzone.

UmpireReal% of Total% of ChancesTypical% of Total% of Chances
Correct Calls14592.95%14391.67%
Incorrect Calls117.05%138.33%
Balls Called Balls9661.54%91.43%8554.49%100.00%
Strikes Called Strikes4931.41%96.08%5837.18%81.69%
Strikes Called Balls21.28%3.92%138.33%18.31%
Balls Called Strikes95.77%8.57%00.00%0.00%
Borderline - Balls148.97%32.56%
Borderline - Strikes2918.59%67.44%
Baltimore OriolesReal% of Team% of ChancesTypical% of Team% of Chances
Ball Called Ball4058.82%90.91%3652.94%100.00%
Strike Called Strike2333.82%95.83%2739.71%84.38%
Strike Called Ball11.47%4.17%57.35%15.63%
Ball Called Strike45.88%9.09%00.00%0.00%
Borderline Pitches3831.67%
Borderline - Balls733.33%
Borderline - Strikes1466.67%
Calls in Favor53.21%85.13%
Calls Against63.85%53.21%
Oakland AthleticsReal% of Team% of ChancesTypical% of Team% of Chances
Ball Called Ball5663.64%91.80%4955.68%100.00%
Strike Called Strike2629.55%96.30%3135.23%79.49%
Strike Called Ball11.14%3.70%89.09%20.51%
Ball Called Strike55.68%8.20%00.00%0.00%
Borderline Pitches4624.36%
Borderline - Balls731.82%
Borderline - Strikes1568.18%
Calls in Favor63.85%53.21%
Calls Against53.21%85.13%

Overall, the analysis of last night's strikezone is fairly boring and that's a good thing. There were very few incorrect calls and of the ones that did occur, they were basically even. Anecdotally, that is one of the more impressive strikezone plots that I have seen for an Orioles pitcher thus far. Chen was really hammering the bottom of the zone against RHB. That's a very good recipe for success.

As a little experiment, I decided to try to determine if there is a correlation between a game's run differential and various possible influences. In Orioles wins, umpires call  88.24% of pitches correctly, compared to 86.41% in loses. However, the correlation coefficient between run differential and umpire accuracy rate is just 0.33. There was an even weaker correlation coefficient between run differential and borderline pitches, just 0.1182 for borderline strikes and 0.0841 for T-R strikes. Currently, I am unsure if there is any correlation between a game's run differential and the called strikezone.

However, this does not mean that there is no correlation between the outcome of a game (win or loss) and the called strikezone. There is a noticeable difference in certain percentages for wins and losses. In Orioles wins, Baltimore pitchers score a 48.03% borderline strike rate, compared to their opponents' 48.05%. However, in Orioles losses, this drops to 47.46% while opponents' borderline strike rate jumps to 56.22%. For T-R strikes, Orioles have a 57.60% rate in wins compared to their opponents' 42.95%. In losses, Orioles pitchers have a 54.76% rate, while opponents jump up to 52.13%.

Additionally, in wins, the Orioles have 10.12% of Rzone balls called strikes and 15.54% of strikes called balls. For their opponents, these are 9.67% and 16.67%, respectively. In losses, both rates go up for the Orioles with a 12.01% ball called strike rate and 18.54% strike called ball rate. However, for the opponents, the ball called strike rate increases significantly to 13.29% and the strike called ball rate dips down to 13.30%.

In short, this preliminary look indicates that the Orioles are winning more games when there is a more consistent strikezone. Additionally, while Orioles rates do not change all that much between wins and losses, opponents numbers are much more unfavorable in losses than in wins. I will continue to check in on this over the course of the season.

April 25, 2013: Orioles - 10, Athletics - 2

Full Disclosure: I did not watch the game last night. All analysis is based 100% on data. I have no idea what either pitcher “looked” like, how their pitches looked, or how they were hitting their targets.
Last night’s game provided two interesting things: 1. The Orioles thwomped the Athletics for their largest win of the year (so far). 2. This was the first game of the season to feature our second look at an umpire. Bob Davidson gets the first double-dipping honors.
Bob Davidson called the second game of the season, which was in Tampa. During that game, he managed just an 81.33% accuracy rate for the Rzone, the third worst of the season to this date. His 83.33% Tzone accuracy rate wasn’t much better. That being said, he was, at least, equally bad for both teams in that game, with 14 Rzone calls going in favor of each team.
Davidson greatly increased his accuracy for last night’s game, clocking in at 91.16%, second best on the season. In the future, I’ll be tracking which umpires are consistently good, consistently bad, or consistently inconsistent. Perhaps more interesting from an Orioles fan point of view, 6.08% of calls were in favor of the O’s to just 2.78% in favor of the A’s.

How did it happen? The O’s picked up 2 (3.51%) balls called strikes for the Tzone, while the A’s got none. Even more of an influence, the O’s had just 7 (20.59%) Tzone strikes called balls compared to 13 (32.50%) for the A’s. For the Rzone, the O’s had 7 balls called strikes and 1 strike called a ball while the A’s had 4 of each.
On borderline pitches, the O’s had a 57.89% called strike rate to the A’s 40.00%. Even more of a factor was the O’s 83.33% T-R called strike rate to the A’s 30.77%. While I don’t have any data demonstrating a correlation yet, I’d take a look at the release points for the two starting pitchers (Hammel and Parker).

It looks to me like Hammel was much more consistent, which could indicate more consistency in hitting his target and a more consistent presentation of the pitch for the umpire.
UmpireReal% of Total% of ChancesTypical% of Total% of Chances
Correct Calls16591.16%15987.85%
Incorrect Calls168.84%2212.15%
Balls Called Balls12066.30%91.60%10558.01%98.13%
Strikes Called Strikes4524.86%90.00%5429.83%72.97%
Strikes Called Balls52.76%10.00%2011.05%27.03%
Balls Called Strikes116.08%8.40%21.10%1.87%
Borderline - Balls2312.71%52.27%
Borderline - Strikes2111.60%47.73%
Baltimore OriolesReal% of Team% of ChancesTypical% of Team% of Chances
Ball Called Ball6167.03%89.71%5560.44%96.49%
Strike Called Strike2224.18%95.65%2729.67%79.41%
Strike Called Ball11.10%4.35%77.69%20.59%
Ball Called Strike77.69%10.29%22.20%3.51%
Borderline Pitches3624.49%
Borderline - Balls842.11%
Borderline - Strikes1157.89%
Calls in Favor116.08%158.29%
Calls Against52.76%73.87%
Oakland AthleticsReal% of Team% of ChancesTypical% of Team% of Chances
Ball Called Ball5965.56%93.65%5055.56%100.00%
Strike Called Strike2325.56%85.19%2730.00%67.50%
Strike Called Ball44.44%14.81%1314.44%32.50%
Ball Called Strike44.44%6.35%00.00%0.00%
Borderline Pitches4820.69%
Borderline - Balls1560.00%
Borderline - Strikes1040.00%
Calls in Favor52.76%73.87%
Calls Against116.08%158.29%

On the season, the O’s are still slightly lagging behind opponents in terms of favorable calls for both the Rzone and the Tzone. However, the differences are much less significant than they were earlier in the season. It will be interesting to track how favorable calls swing back and forth during the season, if they continue a trend of significantly favoring opponents or the Orioles for periods of time or if they generally even out.
Orioles balls called strikes: 10.92% (136)
Orioles strikes called balls: 17.24% (90)
Opponents balls called strikes: 11.23% (134)
Opponents strikes called balls: 15.85% (84)
Orioles balls called strikes: 2.24% (22)
Orioles strikes called balls: 30.27% (237)
Opponents balls called strikes: 2.99% (29)
Opponents strikes called balls: 26.92% (203)

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