Batter up! Umpires do a heck of a lot more than just call balls and strikes. Each one of those calls has an effect on how the end result of a game pans out. Join us today at Bang the Book, as we look at some of the most notable trends involving umpires thus far this season.
Today, we're going to take a look at runs per game allowed by umpires in games. This season, baseball games have been slightly lower scoring than average, and a lot of the umps that are seeing a lot of runs cross the plate perhaps should be ones to keep an eye on for the rest of the year.
We'll start with Tom Hallion, who is leading the way this year with 10.44 runs per game scored in his outings. Hallion is 11-6 for 'over' bettors this year, and he has the splits to suggest that he is going to keep this up throughout the year. The 14-year ump has gone 7-2 for 'over' bettors in games in which the 'total' is set at 8 or less, and matters might get better if his strikeouts per game number comes down just a bit from his relatively high 15.3 per game.
The fact that there are only a total of seven umpires averaging more than 10 runs per game this season is remarkable, especially considering that there are 11 that are averaging 7.5 runs per game or fewer. Second in line is Angel Hernandez at 10.33 runs per game. Hernandez is 14-4 for 'over' bettors this year, but this is a stark contrast from where he was last season. 'Over' bettors only went 13-19 last season in Hernandez's games, and he watched just 7.32 runs per game cross the plate. The argument could be made that this season is a matter of regulation after last year's ridiculously low scoring games, or you could debate that the 'unders' should be rolling from here on out for an umpire who normally features lower scoring outings.
The differential between 2012 and 2013 for Ed Hickox is ridiculously high as well. It's not quite the difference between Hernandez's two seasons, but Hickox has watched 10.31 runs per game score this season after averaging 7.74 runs per game a campaign ago. 'Over' bettors though, have really benefited from this ump over the course of the last two years. Even on such a down season for runs, Hickox managed to go 15-16 for 'over' bettors, and when you add this season's 12-4 mark to it, there is no doubt that this is one of the top 'over' umpires to back on a weekly basis.
There is more of the same theme as we go down the line as well. Hunter Wendelstedt is one of the top 'over' umpires at 11-7 this season, and his run production of 10.2 runs per game is a stark difference from his 6.92 runs per game last year. It feels like every season is up and down for Wendelstedt, so perhaps it would be a good idea to continue to playing his 'overs' this season. However, we forewarned that there doesn't seem to be much in terms of a rhyme or a reason to how his 'totals' progress from one year to the next.
The other umpires who are averaging more than 10 runs per game this season include Chris Guccione (10.06 runs per game), Mike Dimuro (10.06 runs per game), and Marvin Hudson (10.05 runs per game).