Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Scouting the World Series umpiring crew

Ron Washington, John Hirschbeck

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, right, argues with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck against the Detroit Tigers the in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Monday, July 19, 2010. Washington was ejected. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Jeff Zimmerman of Fan Graphs crunched the numbers on the umpiring crew assigned to the World Series, using Pitch-F/X data along with strikeout and walk rates to rank the six umpires from most pitcher-friendly to most hitter-friendly:

Bill Miller
John Hirschbeck
Mike Winters
Gary Darling
Sam Holbrook
Jeff Kellogg

Hirschbeck, who in addition to being pitcher-friendly is also the crew chief, will be calling balls and strikes in Game 1 and, if the series goes the distance, Game 7 as well.

Zimmerman delved even deeper into the data, breaking out “heat maps” for each umpire’s strike zone for right-handed hitters and left-handed hitters. The whole thing is definitely worth checking out, but I’ll quote this one bit of analysis: “At least none of these umpires are at the extreme ends of the strike zone spectrum. Compared to the previous playoff series ... this crew’s strike zone should be one of the more consistent ones.”

Here’s hoping.