Continuing the look at Pitch F/X data in the Arizona Fall League, I wanted to take a quick glance at one of the most popular subjects in Pitch F/X over the last two or three years, "framing". More specifically, I will look at the strike zone in the AFL, how pitches were called balls and strikes, and give the names of umpires and catchers on some of the more notable calls (I will not have a "framing leaderboard").
First, the following graph shows all the pitches that were called balls in the AFL games tracked by Pitch F/X. I excluded "Ball in the Dirt" tagged pitches because I assumed that they were easily called balls, though you will notice that some of these pitches still didn't make it to the plate.
By contrast, here are the pitches that were called strikes in the Pitch F/X games in the AFL:
The furthest one to right side of the zone (catcher's perspective), isn't that bad, thrown by Bo Schultz, caught by Dustin Garneau, and called by Marcus Pattillo:
Garneau is a 26 year old that has reached AA for the Rockies. He hasn't been notable (either bad or good) with the bat, and despite a good CS %, seems to have a lot of passed balls. 2013 was the first year that he played anything other than catcher, playing 13 games at DH and 2 at first base.
Pattillo is a AA umpire in the Southern League, and umpired in the Venezuelan Winter League last season.
The furthest to the left is further outside, thrown by Noe Ramirez, caught by Jorge Alfaro, and called by Jeff Morrow:
Alfaro is a 20 year old that is considered by some to be a top 100 prospect in baseball. The Rangers' affiliate has reached A+ and has been okay with the bat. 2013 contained a lot of passed balls and he played some first base and DH.
Morrow is a AAA umpire in the Pacific Coast League.
The highest pitch called a strike was thrown by Omar Duran, caught by Adrian Nieto, and called by Gabe Morales:
Nieto is a 24 year old Nationals prospect that played all of 2013 in A+. He played 24 games at DH this season, but has yet to show any power.
Morales is a AAA umpire in the International League
The lowest pitch called for a strike was thrown by Anthony Ferrera, caught by Derrick Chung, and called by Seth Buckminister
Chung is a 25 year old with the Blue Jays that played in A+ in 2013. He has struggled with the bat and has played all over the diamond, including 22 games at 2nd base.
Buckminister is a AAA umpire in the International League. He umpired some spring training games in 2013 and famously broke his hand in one of the games.
I mentioned Jeff Morrow the umpire above in two separate games, so I thought it would be interesting to look at the two games as a whole and see how he did overall, and whether he has a quirky strikezone, or if his missed calls were just missed.
First, let's look at his October 11th games, starting with the called balls.
Other than the obvious one, it seems that there are pitches on every corner that could have been called strikes that Morrow elected to call balls.
Here are his called strikes from that game:
Here are his called strikes:
Overall, I think Morrow seemed to fit in the general mold of the AFL home plate umpiring. He would give pitchers some room on the left, but for the most part, was more likely to call a pitch in the zone a ball than call a pitch outside of the zone a strike. This small zone may be why their were 4.17 walks per every 9 innings in the AFL, over half a walk per 9 innings over both AAA leagues in 2013.