While MLB teams used the new replay system approximately once every two games in the regular season, it’s been used far less in the postseason, and calls are being overturned at a slightly lower rate in October as well.
The MLB replay system has finished its first regular season and is almost finished with its first postseason, despite much complaining and hand-wringing. But some interesting data popped up recently, showing how much the system was used in the regular season, and how much less it’s being used in the playoffs.
Take some of these numbers with a grain of salt, because they’re both smaller samples (particularly the postseason usage numbers), and since this is the first year of replay, this is the only data we have to go off of in any sort of analysis of the system.
Per MLB.com’s Andrew Simon (via Pro Baseball Talk):
During MLB’s first regular season of expanded replay, 1,275 plays were reviewed — either through a manager challenge or crew chief decision. That works out to one every 1.9 games, with 47 percent of reviewed calls overturned. By comparison, there have been nine reviews during the playoffs, or one every 2.8 games, with one-third reversed.
Reviews became even less common during League Championship Series play, with only two in nine games. Neither ruling was overturned. Coincidentally or not, only two of the 14 umpires working those two series were among the 19 officials who had at least 10 calls overturned during the regular season, according to MLB.com’s data.
Ok, so keeping the small sample size warning in mind, the real interesting part here, other than umpires are simply reviewing fewer plays in this postseason (which might not be a trend, again, and could just be circumstance), but they’re getting the calls correct more often.
Of course, the caveat to the umpires getting the calls correct is that there appear to be fewer bad umps in the playoffs. MLB postseason assignments are based on a variety of criteria, including tenure and days absentee, but as Simon points out, only two of the 14 playoff umpires had 10 or more calls overturned.
And perhaps this data can help the league identify its best umpires and put them in the most important games.
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