May 14, 2024 - Sports

How MLB umpires are treating the Astros this season

Astros manager Joe Espada argues with MLB umpire Manny Gonzalez

Astros skipper Joe Espada argues with umpire Manny Gonzalez during a game against the Washington Nationals on April 20. Photo: G Fiume/Getty Images

Despite what you may have heard — or think you've seen with your own two eyes — Major League Baseball's umpires are actually doing pretty well this season, at least when it comes to calling balls and strikes.

By the numbers: League-wide, umps have a nearly 94% accuracy rating so far in 2024, per unofficial metric-keeper UmpScorecards.

  • That's down a bit from 2023 (94.09%) but up from a relatively miserable 90% or so in 2015.

Zoom in: Umpires have correctly called 94.1% of balls and strikes when Houston's been on either side of the plate this season.

A scatterplot with baseballs as the points showing the season averages of MLB umpires’ accuracy in calling balls and strikes from 2015 to 2024. The data shows an upward trend, with approximately 90% accuracy in 2015 and nearly 94% in 2024.
Data: UmpScorecards; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

How it works: UmpScorecards' accuracy stat tracks the percentage "of called pitches called correctly by the umpire."

  • See more about the methodology here.

What of umpire Angel Hernandez, the source of many baseball fans' ire this year?

  • He's at 93.3% across six games and 1,099 called pitches.
  • He's called balls and strikes for the Astros only twice this season: April 12, when he correctly called 91.2% of pitches, and May 1, when he correctly called 94.9% of pitches.

Caveat: Calling balls and strikes is only part of an ump's job.

The bottom line: The robo-umps are maybe coming one day, anyway.

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