Power Rankings

2021 MLB Umpire Power Rankings: Second Third of the Season

Welcome to the second edition of the 2021 MLB Umpire Power Rankings, covering the second third of the 2021 season. We constantly judge, praise, and critique the players on the field and the coaches in the dugout for their impact on the results of games, but umpires are the third human element in the sport that help determine the outcome of a game. So, thanks to data compiled by Ethan Singer, owner and operator of @UmpScorecards, fans can see how each home plate umpire performs over the course of any given MLB game.

Here at Diamond Digest, we are fans of explaining the analytical side of baseball, but the fundamentals of a home plate umpire’s job, accurately calling balls and strikes, is something every fan can understand. The job in these power rankings is to showcase the umpires who are the best in the sport and hold the ones that aren’t performing up to the job’s responsibilities accountable.

Like the previous rankings, which you can find here, I looked at the umpires who had the best and worst accuracy as well as which umpires favored a team the least and most over the course of a game. Since these rankings are cumulative, I looked at umpires who have called at least 2500 pitches this season through August 7, 2021. Now that I got the explanation out of the way, let’s take a look at the top five and bottom five of the 72 qualifying umpires through the second third of the 2021 season.

Top Five

  1. Tripp Gibson
    • Accuracy: 95.3
    • Avg. Favor: 0.33 Runs

Maintaining the top spot through the second third of the season, Gibson’s eye has yet to waver in terms of pitch-call accuracy percentage. He’s still the cream of the crop, boasting the highest accuracy among qualified umpires by a margin of 0.5 percent. Although his average favor has increased slightly since the last rankings, he’s still tied for third among qualifying umpires. His most accurate outing even occurred last month on July 17 in a meeting between the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers in which he boasted a 98.3 accuracy percentage on his pitch calls.

  1. Jeremie Rehak
    • Accuracy: 94.8
    • Avg. Favor: 0.43

A new addition to the top of rankings, Rehak has been a big league umpire since 2018 and was hired to be a full-time umpire this season. At 33 years old, Rehak is one of the younger umpires in the majors. His age shows at times, with him having the lowest accuracy game among the top five umpires at 86.6 percent. However, he still puts up great performances, including a 98.2 accuracy percentage performance on June 6.

  1. Alan Porter
    • Accuracy: 94.7
    • Avg. Favor: 0.46

Dropping from two to three, Alan Porter has been a little less accurate and has favored teams slightly more since the last rankings, but he is still one of the top umpires in the league. He’s still consistently pretty accurate, not having a game below 92.7 accuracy percentage since our last rankings. His most accurate game saw him post a 96.9 accuracy percentage on June 9.

  1. Edwin Moscoso
    • Accuracy: 94.6
    • Avg. Favor: 0.44

Another new name in the top five, Edwin Moscoso umpired his first major league game last year on July 23 and became just the third native of Venezuela to umpire in the major leagues. Now through two-thirds of the 2021 season, Moscoso is a top five umpire in the majors. He has called the most games through August 7 with 24 and has maintained a top five accuracy among qualifying umpires.

  1. Nic Lentz
    • Accuracy: 94.5
    • Avg. Favor: 0.34

Rounding out the top five, Lentz maintains his spot as the fifth-best umpire in the major leagues. He has called 18 games so far, with his worst occurring on July 9, when he posted a 91.2 accuracy rate. However, later that month, he had a game with a 96.9 accuracy percentage, so it isn’t difficult to see how he’s maintained his spot in these rankings.

Bottom Five

  1. Tom Hallion
    • Accuracy: 91.8
    • Avg. Favor: 0.45

Starting off our bottom five is an umpire that is a favorite among baseball enthusiasts on twitter due to his rather unique punch-out call, as shown here.

Unfortunately for baseball players themselves, Hallion’s strike zone is almost as flexible as his back. In 18 games this season, he has only averaged a 91.8 accuracy percentage, including a frankly embarrassing performance behind the plate on May 14, only having an 85.6 accuracy percentage in a contest between the Giants and Pirates.

  1. Greg Gibson
    • Accuracy: 91.7
    • Avg. Favor: 0.69

Gibson maintains his spot in the bottom five of the rankings two-thirds of the way through the 2021 MLB season. Unfortunately for the veteran umpire, his accuracy has slightly gone down and his favor has gone up to the highest of any umpire on this list at 0.69 runs. Gibson would have been 68th on this list, just barely making the bottom five, however he had his worst outing in his most recent game. On August 7, in a game between Cleveland and Detroit, Gibson had a low 85.8 accuracy percentage and a putrid 2.79 runs favored towards the home team. His calls behind the plate unfortunately just favor one team far too heavily for a man whose job it is to make sure his calls don’t benefit a team one way or the other.

  1. Brian O’Nora
    • Accuracy: 91.5
    • Avg. Favor: 0.60

Returning to the list a second time, O’Nora’s pitch-call accuracy percentage has somehow gone up slightly, but make no mistake, he has had some brutal games behind the dish in this third of the season. Since the last rankings, he did post a great game on June 1 in which he had a great 98.2 accuracy percentage and a run favor of only 0.10 towards the home team, sadly he has also had games of 90.7, 90.2, 88.5, and a low 86.5 accuracy percentage. He has the potential to break out of the bottom five, evident by his June 1 game, but for now he is just too inconsistent.

  1. Joe West
    • Accuracy: 91.3
    • Avg. Favor: 0.58

The most experienced umpire in MLB finally joins the bottom five. West, 68, has been a full-time umpire since 1978 and it might be time for him to hang it up. He was great for the Major League Baseball Umpires Association as their president through 2018, helping them negotiate the largest umpiring contract in baseball history, but he simply isn’t accurate enough behind the plate to be effective. He has called 22 games so far this season with his lowest accuracy clocking in at 86.7 percent on June 26.

  1. Rob Drake
    • Accuracy: 90.9
    • Avg. Favor: 0.61

He has got even worse since the first rankings. His accuracy dropped, and he favors one team more than he did during the first third of the season. He is just the most consistently inaccurate umpire in the majors. Eight of his 19 games have had an accuracy percentage of less than 90 percent and among the 72 qualifying umpires, he has the lowest max accuracy game at a lowly 93.7 percent on June 4. He remains the worst qualifying umpire in baseball. If he keeps this up, he shouldn’t set foot on a major league baseball field heading into next year.

Jonathan Hoffman

Jonathan Hoffman is a Political Science and Creative Writing double major also minoring in Public Policy at the University of Redlands. He's a lifelong Dodgers fan from Los Angeles who grew up in a family full of Phillies fans. Follow on twitter @JHoff100 if you also obsess over Clayton Kershaw and sports uniforms.

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