MLB Confidential: Grading the umps

Updated: June 13, 2010, 10:01 AM ET
ESPN The Magazine

Question: Grade the overall performance of umpires, A through F

Grading overall performance

Average grade: B
1. B: 29%
2. C: 20%
3. A: 16%
4. B+: 12%
5. A-: 9%
6. B-: 5%
T7. C+, D: 3%
9. F: 2%

AL players: Overall grade -- B
1. B: 36%
2. C: 24%
3. B+: 12%

NL players: Overall grade -- B+
T1. A, B: 22% each
3. C: 16%

Most players give good grades to umps. Of the 100 surveys, 25 percent gave an A or A-, with only three Ds and two Fs. Though NL players gave out more As (11-5), AL players handed out seven more Bs (18-11). Said one AL player who gave a B grade: "It's in vogue right now to criticize umpires -- I don't agree with that. Every spring training, we see big league umpires and minor league umpires, and it's night and day. The guys in the majors are better, and it's not even close. They do as good a job as we could hope for." One veteran pitcher who's won games in both leagues could only muster a C: "The guys on the field are good -- they rarely get a tight play wrong. But behind the plate, they are shaky. I've had umpires tell me they were guessing on pitches. That's not right -- this is my livelihood."

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