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.
It's amazing to think that Angel Hernandez is still cranking out the 'over' games left and right. He was stymied when he ran into the all of a sudden seemingly unhittable Patrick Corbin, but Hernandez has still gone an MLB best 8-2 for 'over' bettors on the season. The veteran umpire has seen at least 10 runs hit the board in five of his 10 games this year, but only twice has he led a game to fewer than eight runs. Interestingly enough, both of those 'under' games featured one of the two pitchers being left-handed. With a pair of righties starting on the mound, Hernandez is a perfect 7-0 for 'over' bettors thus far this year.
Not far behind Hernandez is John Hirschbeck. Hirschbeck has umpired 10 games this year as well, and 'over' bettors are 7-2-1 in those games. Again, there have only been two games this whole season in which Hirschbeck was officiating with fewer than eight runs scored, and there was even a 17-run outburst in the mix as well in his last start on April. Hirschbeck is a relatively perfect 4-0-1 for 'over' bettors in his last five games behind the dish, averaging 11.2 runs per game.
Keep a close eye on Mike Everitt going forward from here. Everett easily leads the league in strikeouts per game with 19.1, and the nearly umpire has 17.7 strikeouts per game. That being said, Everitt is calling games to the tune of 10.4 runs per game, and that includes seven games with at least 10 runs scored. Granted, the 21-run blast between the New York Mets and the Minnesota Twins on April 12 helped skew the numbers, but we find it unbelievable to see this many runs scored with an umpire calling so many strikes. Everitt has rung up at least 12 men in each of his last seven starts, including 36 in a game early in May between the Detroit Tigers and the Houston Astros.
We also think that it is deceptive to think that Jerry Layne is the best home team umpire in the game right now at 8-1 as well. Layne has done a remarkable job for the hosts, but he has had a heck of a lot of help as well. Without a shadow of a doubt, his last two starts in games between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves and a game between the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees should have been easy wins for the hosts, especially with Kris Medlen and CC Sabathia on the mound respectively. We see that throughout this whole season with Layne, though. He has had some of the best pitchers in the bigs on his side for home teams, and it's a heck of a lot easier to give home wins out when the men on the mound for the home side include Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, AJ Burnett, Cliff Lee, Jon Lester, Dan Haren, and the aforementioned Sabathia and Medlen. Don't be shocked if these numbers start to regulate themselves going forward.