May 10, 2024 - News

Baseball umpires aren't as bad as you think 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

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

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

  • That's down a bit from 2023 but up from 90% or so in 2015.

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

Zoom in: There's a decent gap between the best- and worst-performing umpires so far this year.

  • The top ump, Derek Thomas, has a 96.1% accuracy rating across six games and 1,027 called pitches.
  • His lowest-ranked counterpart, John Bacon, is at 90% — but has only overseen a single game, in which he called 201 pitches.

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