How MLB Ranks Umpires, Kershaw Makes History, Reds Wade, Gausman Was Crazy, More

MLB has an umpiring problem, but is it as bad as it looks to the average viewer? Plus, Clayton Kershaw and Kevin Gausman have historically great starts, the Reds do the opposite, and much more in today’s MLBits.

Angel Hernandez is bad, but how bad does MLB say he is?

After the Angel Hernandez debacle in last week’s Phillies-Padres game, many (again) wondered how does MLB tolerate this type of performance from its umpires?

No apology for Hernandez, who is by far one of the worst umpires in baseball, Jeff Passan reminds us that the strike zone you see on TV is not the strike zone the MLB uses to rate performances. home plate umpires.

Now retired, mean referee Joe West had this to say to Passan about Hernandez’s highly scrutinized performance:

“The whole story was exaggerated because some media said he scored 85,” said Joe West, the umpire who retired last year after a record 5,460 games. “He didn’t score 85. He scored 96. If they don’t use the same scoring system that referees are scored, they can’t question what he’s calling.”

That’s because the MLB auditing team gave Hernandez an adjusted score of 96.12 for that game, a significantly better rating than many public referee auditing entities gave Hernandez. Passan explains how Major League Baseball really rates its umpires in his latest article on ESPN+:

The Reds suffered a brutal start to the season

“I won’t elaborate, but that sums up the Reds’ season so far this year…”

The Cincinnati Reds are off to a 3-19 start and are struggling a lot. Joey Votto is hitting just .122 with 29 strikeouts in 22 games played this season, and the Reds as a team own a league-worst 67 wRC+, and they’re hitting just .201 as a team.

The Reds let 2021 regulars Tucker Barnhart, Jesse Winker, Eugenio Suarez, Sonny Gray, Amir Garrett, Nick Castellanos, Wade Miley and Michael Lorenzen leave via trades or free agency. They have now gone from a Wild Card contender to frontrunner for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 MLB Draft in seven months. The Reds own an fWAR of -1.8, and their hitters are batting at a 25.2% clip (tied for third worst in MLB).

Throwing hasn’t been much better, with Cincinnati pitchers owning a league-worst 6.19 ERA and a league-worst 5.03 BB/9 average. The longball was downed in the first month of baseball’s 2022 season, but if you’re a Reds fan, you’ve seen a lot… for the opposition. Cincinnati owns a 1.11 HR/9 (tied for fourth-worst in MLB). Rookie Hunter Greene joined the big club this season, but the second overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft exploded to a 1-3 start with a 6.00 ERA in four appearances this season.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year Jonathan India was limited to just 11 games with a hamstring injury that brought him to the IL twice, and Nick Senzel is hitting just .208 in 16 games in what was supposed to be a pivotal year for the once-rented prospect. Everything that can go wrong for the Reds this season has, and it doesn’t look like it will get much better as we reverse the schedule in May.

Clayton Kershaw becomes King of the Dodgers Strikeout

Clayton Kershaw’s 2,697th strikeout propelled him ahead of Don Sutton in the Los Angeles Dodgers strikeout standings this weekend. Kershaw now ranks third among starting pitchers who have played for only one franchise, with 2,700 joining an elite company with only Bob Gibson and Walter Johnson ahead of him.

Kershaw is off to a strong start this season, posting a 2.35 ERA with a 0.70 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in four starts.

Kevin Gausman’s Historic Debut

Kevin Gausman has started well this season. In fact, he shares historical parallels with Cy Young, according to MLB Stats:

Gausman has allowed just eight earned runs in his first five starts for the Toronto Blue Jays, good for a 2.27 ERA, and that’s not even close to his best first-month numbers. Gausman struck out 41 (11.65 K/9), went zero in 31.2 innings and boasts a sparkling 0.50 WHIP.

According to Codify, no pitcher in a five-start period has ever hit that many batters without allowing a single walk or home run:

Gausman is also the only pitcher to throw 30 or more strikeouts while allowing zero walks and zero homers for a full month of the season.

Ragtag…

• The New York Mets continue to show they’re serious about winning, and money won’t stop them from nominating veteran Robinson Cano for assignment this afternoon, even though they’ll eat a sum of substantial money for Cano to play elsewhere:

• Texas Rangers opted for Willie Calhoun over the weekend, but the 27-year-old outfielder wasn’t a fan of the move despite a 75 wRC+ in 18 games for Texas this season:

• Anthony Alford of Pittsburgh is another outfielder in his late twenties who will be looking for a new home and could benefit from a change of scenery:

• The resurgences of Anthony Rizzo and Eric Hosmer were two of the biggest surprises of baseball’s first month. Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci dives into the hot debuts of Rizzo, Hosmer and other surprises from April:

• Jayson Stark recaps a wild one in Tampa Bay and more in his latest column on The Athletic:

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