Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 7/3/13
According to PITCH/fx, umpires weren’t giving Josh Outman the benefit of a doubt in 2011. If their called-strike data is accurate, only 65.3% of pitches the lefthander threw in the strike zone went in his favor. A remarkable 34.7% of would-be-strikes were called balls. He was among the most-squeezed pitchers in baseball that season. Outman holds no grudges against umpires’ judgment. The 28-year-old recognizes they have a difficult job, and not all of them will interpret the strike zone in exactly the same way. Umpires aren’t machines, and in Outman’s opinion, that’s just the way it should be. Outman — currently pitching out of the bullpen for the Colorado Rockies — discussed the strike zone, and its interpretation, on a recent visit to Fenway Park. —— Josh Outman on the major-league strike zone: “According to data I saw, two years ago I was the most-squeezed pitcher in baseball. It seemed to be when I was going in on left-handers around the thigh portion of the strike zone, and around the knees, in, on right-handers. Those were the ones they were missing. I haven’t been able to actually talk to an umpire about it, to find out if it’s something in the way I deliver the ball, or the way the ball comes across the plate when I throw it. “It was an interesting statistic to see. I didn’t deliver nearly as many pitches as a lot of other guys that year, but at the same time, according to the software they were using, a lot of the strikes I threw weren’t called strikes. My strikeouts-to-walks ratio wasn’t very good that year — my first year back after Tommy John surgery — but not getting so many pitches kind of skewed that statistic a little bit.” “There’s human element involved. Every umpire has his own strike zone — their own interpretation of it — but that’s the history of the game. Everyone can call the zone how they see fit. There’s a standard definition of what it’s supposed to be, and umpires are graded on that definition, but a lot of these guys have been in the game for a number of years and are kind of set in their ways. You don’t expect them to change that much. “Generally, the top of the strike zone is missed most often. Most umpires won’t call the top. That’s something they’ve really tried to change over the years — making sure the top, by definition, is called — but it is what it is. You hope for that strike, but as a pitcher, you don’t really want to be working up there anyway. “As far as either side — in or out — it really depends on the umpire. Some guys, with where they set up, get a better view of the inside. Other guys see the outside better, so on the inside they stay pretty tight. Some umpires are just going to have a bigger strike zone than others. “We have data for every umpire — things like strikes called — so we know going in, ‘Okay, this guy has the third-smallest strike zone in baseball.’ We know if we maybe need to be a little more on the plate than usual, because it won’t be as easy to get called strikes. If a guy has a bigger strike zone, it’s ‘If he’ll give me that, let’s see if he’ll give me this.’ You have to ebb and flow with how the game is being called. “Through history with them, we kind of know, ’Okay, this guy likes to give the low strike, but the rest of his zone is probably going be tighter.’ Or he’ll call the high strike, so we can use the top of the zone to work down. But mostly we just know if a guy has a bigger zone or a tighter zone. You know that going in, and as the game goes on you’ll se if he’s being more lenient here, or more lenient there. “I don’t know if there’s one particular pitch I have trouble getting called a strike right now. Maybe my changeup when it’s down in the bottom of the zone, but I don’t really have too many complaints. The strike zone is up for interpretation, and it’s tighter than it used to be, but the umpires get graded and generally do a good job. “You need to have an umpire behind the plate. It always sucks when they miss a strike for you, but that’s just the game — it’s always been there. It wouldn’t be baseball if we had some machine calling balls and strikes.”
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Elliott domestic violence case being taken to city prosecutor

Belichick: Brady is not going to lose his starting job

Report: Brown 'confident' Steelers will rework his contract

Report: J.T. Barrett lost full scholarship over summer for DWI

Police escort helped Joey Gallo get to ballpark on time

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Agent: Bryant ‘heartbroken that he’s not allowed to play’

Report: Trent Baalke could lose job if 49ers don’t show progress

Lawsuit: Baylor players gang raped student, school knew

Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick reportedly remain far apart

Eddie Lacy defends Mike McCarthy for weight loss comments

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

NBA champ Cavs honored with 2,000-pound butter sculptures

John Daly dons super-patriotic outfit for Champions Dinner

Aaron Rodgers not inclined to talk about brother Jordan

Astros fan starts GoFundMe page to buy out Gomez contract

Durant told Westbrook he was returning to Thunder?

Five NFL teams set to rise up in 2016

Jeremy Lin reportedly looking to trademark phrase ‘Brook-Lin’

Matt Leinart engaged to actress Josie Loren

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

Report: Paul Pierce to return to Clippers

Jimbo Fisher: You come to FSU to win national championships

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker