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View Full Version : Is Chapman getting the rookie squeeze or is his stuff fooling umpires?



OnBaseMachine
09-07-2010, 12:31 AM
I missed Chapman's outing today but just saw the highlights on MLB Network. Billy Ripken and John Smoltz broke down the Tulowitzki atbat, and like everyone else, they were amazed by his slider. They couldn't believe how foolish he made a great hitter like Tulowitzki look. They also made a note of Chapman getting squeezed by the umpire. The 1-2 slider to Tulo was pretty much right down the middle and just above the knees but was called a ball. Brooksbaseball.net comfirmed he was squeezed.

This is the strikezone plot from his outing today:

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=547973&game=gid_2010_09_06_cinmlb_colmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=547973&game=gid_2010_09_06_cinmlb_colmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

As you can see, three of his pitches were in the strikezone but were called balls.

The umpire today had a very inconsistent strikezone so maybe it was just a random thing...

But look at his outing against the Cardinals on Saturday in St. Louis:

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=547973&game=gid_2010_09_04_cinmlb_slnmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=547973&game=gid_2010_09_04_cinmlb_slnmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

Five more of his pitches were in the strikezone but were called balls.

I think this begs the question: Is he getting the rookie treatment, i.e. squeezed by the umpires, or is his stuff so good that it's fooling the umpires? He's thrown 31 pitches in his last two appearances, eight of those pitches were in the strikezone and were called balls. Either way, that's some bad umpiring.

RBA
09-07-2010, 12:33 AM
The ump was bad all day long. Not just for Champman.

OesterPoster
09-07-2010, 12:33 AM
Fairchild's strike zone was about the size of an index card. It was a joke.

VR
09-07-2010, 12:42 AM
The ump was actually pretty good on Chapman compared to Harang and Bray. Just atrocious overall.....and really pathetic to have a major league umpire team with a 'reputation' of a small strike zone. The strike zone is the strike zone, period.

George Anderson
09-07-2010, 12:47 AM
Chad Fairchild has the 7th smallest strike zone in MLB

Smallest Strike Zone
Name of Umpire SAA
Gerry Davis -5.20
Paul Schrieber -5.02
Dana DeMuth -4.03
Randy Marsh -3.57
Chuck Meriwether -3.25
Sam Holbrook -3.10
Chad Fairchild -2.89
Larry Poncino -2.79
Greg Gibson -2.73
Larry Young -2.69



http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/a-zone-of-their-own/

OnBaseMachine
09-07-2010, 12:50 AM
Yeah, but what about Saturday? Five of Chapman's pitches were called balls despite being in the strikezone.

George Anderson
09-07-2010, 01:02 AM
Yeah, but what about Saturday? Five of Chapman's pitches were called balls despite being in the strikezone.

Larry Vanover leads in the following.

Smallest Left Side Strike Zone
Name of Umpire SAA
Larry Vanover -5.86
Randy Marsh -5.57
Greg Gibson -5.36
Fieldin Culbreth -4.83
Dana DeMuth -3.78
Angel Hernandez -3.69
Alfonso Marquez -3.20
Bruce Froemming -2.98
Tim McClelland -2.90
Sam Holbrook -2.83


Larry Vanover is fifth here.




Smallest High Strike Zone
Name of Umpire SAA
Chuck Meriwether -8.53
Ed Rapuano -7.05
Tim Timmons -7.02
Jerry Layne -6.79
Larry Vanover -6.35
Brian Runge -5.68
Marty Foster -5.21
Chad Fairchild -5.04
Ed Montague -4.53
Mark Carlson -4.52


Looks like Chapman just ran into some umps with very tight zones.

kaldaniels
09-07-2010, 01:03 AM
I hate when the ump makes the game about himself. Fairchild draws all attention on him after every pitch where you have to wait for him to make the call.

fearofpopvol1
09-07-2010, 01:27 AM
Fairchild might be the worst ump in the league, no joke. He also waited an eternity before he called it a ball or a strike. He not only had a small zone, but he seemed indecisive.

The Operator
09-07-2010, 01:35 AM
Yes, the umpiring today was terrible.

Small zone, and an inconsistent one at that. But the most annoying part of all was when he would wait an eternity before he even made the call if it was a strike. People don't pay to see the umpires, just call the balls and strikes.

George Anderson
09-07-2010, 02:20 AM
He also waited an eternity before he called it a ball or a strike.




Here is an excellent explanation from former MLB umpire Jim Evans why timing is important

. The call is a mental process and the signal is physical.Without a doubt, the greatest cause of missed calls is quick timing, making a decision before the play is completely over. Ask any umpire and he will tell you that he is often the 1st to realize it when he has missed a call. To develop good timing it is critical you understand that an umpire’s job on each pitch or play is a two-part process, the call and the signal. The call is the decision-making process. You observe the play and gather all the information you need to render a correct decision. Then after all the facts are in and you have interpreted them, you make your decision…ball or strike, safe or out, fair or foul, catch or no-catch. At this point, no participant on-the-field nor any fan in-the-stands has any idea what your final decision is but the call has already been made. The verdict is in but it has not been announced to the court
http://www.nwumpires.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=359:jim-evans-7-rules-of-umpiring&catid=14:amateur&Itemid=7

While I am not a big fan of his, Hunter Wendelstadt gives us his views on timing. Granted the question is about working the bases but still the theory of good timing is equally impotant on both the plate and bases.



Warren: What would be your number one tip for working the bases?



Hunter: I would say timing. If you slow everything down, you will be able to replay the action in your head and then make the correct call. Too many umpires call plays as soon as they happen, sometimes even before they happen. The whole play has to end and then you should be able to say what the decision is in your head, before you make the call.


http://www.umpireschool.com/art2.html

icehole3
09-07-2010, 04:55 AM
Brantley mentioned, "if you think this ump is bad wait until tomorrow, his zone is even worse." I think he said his name was Gerry Davis.

oneupper
09-07-2010, 06:53 AM
LaRussa's decision to bench Rasmus because of a "poor umpire matchup" was ridiculed around here. He could be overthinking, overrationalizing or on to something.

traderumor
09-07-2010, 08:54 AM
Again, give me the electronic umpire for balls and strikes. There is nothing added to this game by some man standing behind the plate trying to read this stuff with his eyes. The optical illusions that are involved with a pitch require too much guesswork to make calling balls and strikes a task that humans can reliably do.

Redsfan320
09-07-2010, 09:36 AM
Brantley mentioned, "if you think this ump is bad wait until tomorrow, his zone is even worse." I think he said his name was Gerry Davis.

Eric Cooper is the ump he was referring to. I really can't imagine a much smaller zone than Fairchild's. However, I've had something against Fairchild since a game against the Pirates I was at in '08, where EE started to argue a call at 3rd (which was indeed incorrect), and was immediately tossed.

320

Roy Tucker
09-07-2010, 09:55 AM
I don't think Chapman is getting treated any different than any other rookie. I've noticed over the years that umps squeeze rookies. I don't think they should, a strike is a strike, but those are the realities.

And I thought that ump yesterday was ridiculous. His strike zone was miniscule and affected how the game went and factored into Harang getting torched. And then suddenly he expanded the strike zone for Jimanez in the 5th and 6th inning.

OesterPoster
09-07-2010, 10:22 AM
His strike zone was miniscule and affected how the game went and factored into Harang getting torched. And then suddenly he expanded the strike zone for Jimanez in the 5th and 6th inning.

This is what ticked me off the most. He started calling pitches strikes for Jimenez which were balls for everyone earlier.

sivman17
09-07-2010, 11:19 AM
This is what ticked me off the most. He started calling pitches strikes for Jimenez which were balls for everyone earlier.

That's what bugs me the most about umps- when they are inconsistent. I realize every ump has a little different strike zone, but there's no excuse for changing it in the middle of a game.

BCubb2003
09-07-2010, 11:40 AM
For someone who throws at unprecedented speeds whenever he wants, Chapman doesn't miss as many bats as you'd expect. Even in his hitless innings, guys were putting bats on the ball. Maybe that'll come as he gets used to moving the ball around and mixing pitches against major leaguers. But I wonder if it's something to keep an eye on.

pahster
09-07-2010, 12:15 PM
For someone who throws at unprecedented speeds whenever he wants, Chapman doesn't miss as many bats as you'd expect. Even in his hitless innings, guys were putting bats on the ball. Maybe that'll come as he gets used to moving the ball around and mixing pitches against major leaguers. But I wonder if it's something to keep an eye on.

His K/9 in the majors is 10.8.

BCubb2003
09-07-2010, 01:45 PM
His K/9 in the majors is 10.8.

That's not too shabby. I guess I was expecting him to throw it past nearly everyone.

smith288
09-07-2010, 01:55 PM
Most of his fb's are around the zone so i imagine they just wait for it and put the bat on it. The speed does the rest.

Tut's hillarious swing on that nasty slider makes it obvious he was guessing fb.

Wheelhouse
09-07-2010, 01:55 PM
Do we know what kind of pitches the bad calls were? The action on Chapman's slider is so acute, and it's the speed of a good fastball, that it must be very hard to call...

Wheelhouse
09-07-2010, 01:57 PM
For someone who throws at unprecedented speeds whenever he wants, Chapman doesn't miss as many bats as you'd expect. Even in his hitless innings, guys were putting bats on the ball. Maybe that'll come as he gets used to moving the ball around and mixing pitches against major leaguers. But I wonder if it's something to keep an eye on.

Yeah they put the bat on the ball, but except for the two balls hit yesterday, they were all dribblers.

Scrap Irony
09-07-2010, 05:03 PM
Umpiring over the past two days has missed over 20% of Chapman's pitches.

That's more than a little bit.

That's game-changing.

His stuff fools hitters and umpires, IMO.

sivman17
09-07-2010, 05:08 PM
Perhaps the ump is blinking when Chapman throws a pitch. I think it was Daugherty who said his pitch comes in faster than a human blink of the eye.

George Anderson
09-07-2010, 05:13 PM
Umpiring over the past two days has missed over 20% of Chapman's pitches.

That's more than a little bit.

That's game-changing.

His stuff fools hitters and umpires, IMO.

Chapmans last two umpires have two of the tightest zones in MLB. It could be in some cases Chapman is fooling them but my take is these two umpires just have very tight zones and regardless of who pitches they won't get that many strikes called.

Always Red
09-07-2010, 05:24 PM
Chapmans last two umpires have two of the tightest zones in MLB. It could be in some cases Chapman is fooling them but my take is these two umpires just have very tight zones and regardless of who pitches they won't get that many strikes called.

Chris Welsh said as much just prior to yesterday's game- the crew umpiring the Colorado series has the smallest strike zone in baseball.

Get ready for more squeezing the next 3 games.

bucksfan2
09-07-2010, 05:40 PM
Chris Welsh said as much just prior to yesterday's game- the crew umpiring the Colorado series has the smallest strike zone in baseball.

Get ready for more squeezing the next 3 games.

If the announcers know this then the pitchers and hitters should know this. I guess my think is you know its going to be a small strike zone, adapt to that zone.

RedsManRick
09-07-2010, 05:54 PM
If the announcers know this then the pitchers and hitters should know this. I guess my think is you know its going to be a small strike zone, adapt to that zone.

If the ump is going to make you throw it dead center, you might be better off walking a guy or two and getting the rest to chase and get themselves out rather than pumping fastballs in dead center. It's a lose-lose for the pitcher when the ump is calling a small zone.

Though hitters can obviously adjust to a small zone too, I'm willing to bet that, on balance, hitters are swinging or taking based on a version of the strike zone that they've internalized -- not the one being called that day. I say keep painting and force the ump to call it a ball and the hitter to take it.

Joe Posnanski put up an article today about fast pitchers and a story he relayed in regards to Nolan Ryan seems relevant here:

http://joeposnanski.si.com/2010/09/07/thirty-two-fast-pitchers/

I will never forget the image that umpire Ron Luciano painted of Ryan in one of his books. I was probably 15 or so when I read it, but I remember it so clearly. Luciano was talking about how he was once behind the plate for Ryan, and a fastball came in, and to Luciano it suddenly seemed to explode into a million pieces. Luciano turned away and waited for the crowd to go crazy — imagine a guy throwing a fastball that was so fast that it exploded. But the crowd reacted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

Later, the same thing happened. Luciano went to the doctor after the game, who explained that Ryan’s pitches were coming so fast that Luciano’s eyes simply could not adjust to the ball coming at him.

I’m not sure that’s much more than storytelling, but it’s good storytelling. I haven’t forgotten it.

*BaseClogger*
04-25-2012, 03:51 AM
I don't think Chapman is getting treated any different than any other rookie. I've noticed over the years that umps squeeze rookies. I don't think they should, a strike is a strike, but those are the realities.

And I thought that ump yesterday was ridiculous. His strike zone was miniscule and affected how the game went and factored into Harang getting torched. And then suddenly he expanded the strike zone for Jimanez in the 5th and 6th inning.

Curious... did you know this post has been quoted on the Wikipedia page for "Glossary of baseball (S)"?


squeeze the zone

When an umpire calls balls and strikes as if the strike zone is smaller than usual, he's said to "squeeze the zone". "I don't think Chapman is getting treated any different than any other rookie. I've noticed over the years that umps squeeze rookies. I don't think they should, a strike is a strike, but those are the realities".[26]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_baseball_%28S%29

(Procrastinating schoolwork in college is a powerful tool for finding such wonderfully un-useful information such as this)

Roy Tucker
04-25-2012, 01:40 PM
I can scratch that off my bucket list:

"Quoted in wikipedia" - check

;)

Bob Borkowski
04-25-2012, 03:07 PM
I can scratch that off my bucket list:

"Quoted in wikipedia" - check

;)

Hey...congrats, Roy! :thumbup:

RedFanAlways1966
04-25-2012, 03:16 PM
Awesome, Roy! :thumbup:

Chip R
04-25-2012, 05:13 PM
That's great, Roy. You're right up there with Raisor inventing the Pythagorean Theorem and the Drinking Bird.