Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

The Forums

Berardino: Sano working to take on 3B

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:51 AM
http://www.twincitie...roots-at-third/   Miguel Sano says he lost 15 pounds this offseason and is now at 271 pounds. Last year at sp...
Full topic ›

Article: TD Top Prospects: #1 Fernando Romero

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 02:51 AM
Ever since Byron Buxton broke out in his first full season in the minors, he's been an easy choice as the top piece in Minnesota's system...
Full topic ›

Miller: Adrianza looking for elusive job security

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:16 PM
http://m.startribune...on=sports/twins   Phil Miller wrote a nice article on Ehire Adrianza.    The article discussed his...
Full topic ›

Article: Get To Know: Gophers Sr RHP Cody Campbell (And G...

Other Baseball Yesterday, 10:33 PM
At Twins Daily, we take a lot of pride in providing you with quality Twins content. We like to focus on the big leagues and the minor lea...
Full topic ›

Dozier to the Cubs make some sense for both teams?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:10 PM
Yes, I know that the Cubs just won the WS, but teams can always stand to improve their rosters. After looking at all the different teams...
Full topic ›
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Have the Twins been screwed by umpires?

Attached Image: Gibson.jpg Robot umpires now? You wouldn’t blame Kyle Gibson for wanting them.

A recent Wall Street Journal article took an in-depth look at Major League Baseball’s strike zone and found that some teams have benefited from an expanded zone while others suffered from shrinkage.

Brian Costa consulted with the locally-owned Inside Edge, a Minneapolis-based company[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] that specializes in harvesting video data for teams to use, and IE’s evaluating system combined with the MLB Pitchf/x system showed that an average of nearly 9% of all pitches were called incorrectly.

While the definition of the strike zone is quite clear, the human element influences the outcome of the calls during the game. Writes Costa:

“But in practice, it varies from umpire to umpire, game to game and even depending on the count. The data collected by Inside Edge suggests umpires are far more hesitant to call a pitch a ball or a strike if doing so would result in either a walk or a strikeout.

On 0-2 counts this year, 26% of pitches taken inside the strike zone are erroneously called balls, compared with 10.9% on all other counts. On 3-0 counts, 12% of pitches taken outside the strike zone are mistakenly called strikes, compared with 6.7% on all other counts.”


Among all the teams, Inside Edge’s data shows that the Twins have been the most wrongly discriminated against when it came to pitches inside the zone that were called balls this season. Just 44.3% of botched pitch calls that were missed were deemed favorable to the Twins. Has this negatively impacted the Twins 2013 season? As Costa’s points out, the Milwaukee Brewers, who at 55.3% have the highest amount of wrongly called pitches go in their favor, have nearly as bad of a record as the Twins. So it appears that even if the Twins had all the calls go their way, it still would not have changed the overall record much.

What is interesting is that the Twins pitchers have an overall decent amount of strike zone presence. According to Fangraphs.com’s Pitchf/x data, the Twins pitching staff has the second-highest amount of zone presence at 50.7%. Meanwhile, Inside Edge’s data suggests that Kyle Gibson has been one unlucky fellow – getting just 79.2% of in-zone pitches called a strike.

Before you pick up your pitchforks remember Gibson’s in-zone percentage is one of the lowest in the game at 41.9%. Gibson’s chaotic nature combined with his rookie status may have made it difficult for umpires to side with him on his borderline pitches. However, there may have been another factor that influenced his poor strike percentage.

While we all have seen the stories and data on Ryan Doumit’s framing issues, but Gibson was spared from having Doumit as his batterymate. Instead, Gibson has drawn Mauer for eight of his 10 starts. While Mauer has been proven to be an excellent receiver when it came to coaxing a call on the high strike, his ability to do the same with a pitch down in the zone was extremely poor. (As suggested in the WSJ piece, it may be due to his large stature which blocks out some umpires.) As a sinkerball pitcher, Gibson works down in the zone with that and a biting slider. With Mauer’s tendency of turning a low strike into a ball, it is no surprise to see a high amount of Gibson’s low pitches being called balls.

Attached Image: Gibson_Zone.png

Gibson, a ground ball pitcher by trade, had his problems further exacerbated, beyond the strike zone, by the percent of grounders turned into hits – his .333 batting average of grounders was nearly 40% higher than the league average. Armed with a solid repertoire, Gibson figures to play a substantial role in the rotation for the Twins in 2014.


  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

0 Comments