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.
Interestingly enough, there are only seven umpires all season long which have profits for home teams of at least $500. There are seven that have lost home teams at least $500, and each of those seven have cost bettors at least $598 to be exact.
The worst part about this from a consistency standpoint is when you get a guy like Jeff Nelson, who has led home teams to just a 4-9 mark this year. What really puts Nelson into a world of hurt through his first eight games umpped this year in which home teams have been favored, is the fact that all eight of them have been beaten. It's tough enough to have eight straight of anything happen against you in sports, but when eight straight favorites, and even more notably eight straight HOME favorites all lose, you know that something is up. Nelson has already guided home teams to losses as at least -150 favorites three times as well, and those are the games that have caused him to drop all the way down to -$939 for the season, easily the worst mark in the game.
Larry Vanover is in a very similar spot right now. He has been calling balls and strikes 10 times this season, and he actually has yet to umpire a game in which the home team has been the underdog. He's ringing up 17.0 batters per game on average, and almost 10 of those strikeouts per game are being called against the home team. You can't even say that it's definitively better pitching that is being involved for road teams in Vanover's games. The truth of the matter is that this really has been nothing more than a case of dumb luck and bad teams playing well against good teams seven out of 10 times. For umpires that have been behind the dish for at least 10 games this year, there is only one umpire who has called fewer than four wins for the hosts, and we're talking about him right now.
On the flip side though, there are two umpires that have led home teams to 10 wins on the season. James Hoye has brought home teams to a 10-3 record and a profit of +$696, and his crowning moment was leading the Houston Astros to a win as nearly a +200 underdog a few weeks ago at Minute Maid Park. Angel Hernandez, who generally does turn out to be a home-favored umpire in general is 10-4 in his first 14 games in blue, and he has led home teams to a +$522 mark.
The umpire that has the best record from a profit and loss standpoint though, is Chris Conroy. Home underdogs have been awesome with Conroy behind the dish, as they are 3-1 in that situation. There hasn't been that big time loss either. No team has been bigger than a -170 favorite in any game that Conroy has called this year, and the home team is a perfect 4-0 in that situation. In fact, there has only been one favorite ultimately lose a game in seven tries with Conroy behind the plate, and the -125 loss wasn't the end of the world for either the home team or Conroy's avid followers. This is a trend to certainly continue to watch as the weeks go on.