Umpire Review: Opening Weekend (Part Two)
While Ed Rapuano's strike zone was bigger than any other umpire's during Opening Weekend, Tim Welke had the tightest strike zone gauged by missed strikes in the PitchFX defined strike zone. In the April 5th game between the Blue Jays and the Indians, Welke had a 64.5% correct call rate inside the strike zone. He missed 39 of the 110 PitchFX strikes, the majority of which came against lefty batters.
For some reason, Welke was ignoring the lower inside part of the zone to lefties in that game. Granted, no other umpire on Opening Weekend had as many pitches in the zone to call. Welke's 110 strike zone takes were almost 40 more than any other umpire during Opening Weekend (in a game that was over 5 hours long). Still, a 64.5% correct call rate is pretty low.
Welke's rate last year was 75.1%, which was the 6th lowest among all umpires. He's just not much of a pitcher's umpire.
On the flip side, Jerry Meals was perfect in his 2012 debut behind the plate in the Dodgers-Padres game on April 6th.
Meals correctly called all 45 pitches that hit the PitchFX strike zone. In addition, he incorrectly called just 13 strikes that were actually balls according to PitchFX data. Although I would certainly love the implementation of a computerized strike zone at some point in Major League Baseball, I have to take my hat off to Jerry Meals for his performance this past weekend. He was the closest thing to a robot behind the plate as we've seen so far.